Born and raised in the Greenwich Village section of New York, Douglas Fowley did his first acting while attending St. Francis Xavier Military Academy. A stage actor and night club singer/dancer during the regular theatrical seasons, Fowley took such jobs as athletic coach and shipping clerk during summer layoff. He made his first film, The Mad Game, in 1933. Thanks to his somewhat foreboding facial features, Fowley was usually cast as a gangster, especially in the Charlie Chan, Mr. Moto and Laurel and Hardy "B" films churned out by 20th Century-Fox in the late 1930s and early 1940s. One of his few romantic leading roles could be found in the 1942 Hal Roach "streamliner" The Devil with Hitler. While at MGM in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Fowley essayed many roles both large and small, the best of which was the terminally neurotic movie director in Singin' in the Rain (1952). Fowley actually did sit in the director's chair for one best-forgotten programmer, 1960's Macumba Love, which he also produced. On television, Fowley made sporadic appearances as Doc Holliday in the weekly series Wyatt Earp (1955-61). In the mid-1960s, Fowley grew his whiskers long and switched to portraying Gabby Hayes-style old codgers in TV shows like Pistols and Petticoats and Detective School: One Flight Up, and movies like Homebodies (1974) and North Avenue Irregulars (1979); during this period, the actor changed his on-screen billing to Douglas V. Fowley.
by Hal Erickson biography