Actor Biography


Born: 1889, Newark, NJ

Died: 1958, Santa Monica, CA

Notable Films: Lady of the Pavements (1929), Not So Dumb (1930), The Bank Dick (1940), Now, Voyager (1942), The Great Moment (1944)

Franklin Pangborn had a small acting range: his characters are always fussy, fastidious, nervous, and obviously gay. His clothes are invariably well tailored and often elegant. His manners are polite, even officious. His interactions with the other characters frequently result in his own flustered frustration. Despite the repetitious nature of his roles, his mastery in portraying the emotional states of his character invariably produces comedy and fun.

At his comic best, his character passes rapidly from polite and elegant through states of increasing frustration to complete quaking disarray. His scenes could also add moments of gentle humor, such as in the romantic drama, Now, Voyager (1942) and the dramatic comedy, The Great Moment (1944). His scenes are usually short but memorable. One of his longest parts, and one of his funniest, is the bank examiner, J. Pinkerton Snoopington, in The Bank Dick (1940). From 1930 to 1957 he appeared in nearly 200 talkies, and his appearances are always welcome.

Franklin Pangborn was born in Newark, New Jersey on January 23, 1888, and died in Santa Monica, California, July, 1958. His career began on the stage with actress-managers Mildred Holland and Jessie Bonstelle. In 1911, he appeared on Broadway with Holland in the romantic part of Armand Duvall in Camille. After service in the Army during WWI and a Broadway appearance in 1924, Pangborn went into films. He made 17 silent films, including D. W. Griffith's last silent, Lady of the Pavements (1929). His first two talkies (both made in 1929) were comedy shorts. His last appearances were in two episodes of The Red Skelton Show, in 1958.