Stage actor Russell Hopton made his first screen appearance in a bit role in 1926's Ella Cinders. Hopton came into his own in the early 1930s, playing glowering, sarcastic characters who often bear such ill-suited names as Smiley and Happy. One of his largest roles was phony elocution expert Jerry Daniels in Once in a Lifetime, the famed 1932 satire of Hollywood's early-talkie days. In 1935 and 1936, Hopton directed a handful of "B" pictures for producer Maurice Conn. Russell Hopton spent the last eight years or so of his life as an RKO contract player, essaying villainous or disreputable supporting roles in both feature films and 2-reel comedies.
by Hal Erickson biography