Billy Gilbert

Active - 1914 - 1991  |   Born - Sep 12, 1894   |   Died - Sep 23, 1971   |   Genres - Comedy, Musical, Romance, Drama

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Biography by Rovi

Tall, rotund, popular comedic supporting actor Billy Gilbert is best remembered for his ability to sneeze on cue. The son of opera singers, he was 12 when he started performing. Later, in vaudeville and burlesque, he perfected a suspenseful sneezing routine; this became his trademark as a screen actor (he provided the voice of "Sneezy," one of the Seven Dwarfs, in Disney's feature cartoon Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, [1938]). Gilbert appeared in some silent films, then began a busier screen career during the sound era, eventually appearing in some 200 feature films and shorts where he was usually cast in light character roles as comic relief to straight performers and as support for major comedians, notably Laurel and Hardy. He also frequently had accented roles, including Field Marshall Herring in Chaplin's The Great Dictator (1940). In the late '40s, Gilbert directed two Broadway shows; he also wrote a play, Buttrio Square, which was produced in New York in 1952. Billy Gilbert rarely appeared in films after the early '50s.

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