Bobby Watson

Active - 1925 - 1961  |   Born - in Springfield, IL  |   Died - May 22, 1965 in Hollywood, CA  |   Genres - Comedy, Musical, Drama, Romance

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Not to be confused with lachrymose child actor Bobs Watson (1931-1999), Robert "Bobby" Watson was a musical comedy actor who came to films in 1925. At the advent of talkies, the short, ebullient Watson played a few leads in such musicals as Syncopation (1929), then spent the 1930s essaying bit roles as glib reporters and fey "pansy" types. For a while, he emulated Broadway star Bobby Clark, adopting horn-rimmed glasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and a perpetual air of bug-eyed lechery. Watson found his true niche in the 1940s, when his startling resemblance to Adolf Hitler assured him plenty of screen work. He alternately portrayed Der F├╝hrer as a raving madman in such serious films as The Hitler Gang (1942) and as a slapsticky buffoon in such comedies as The Devil with Hitler (1942) and That Nazty Nuisance (1943). Legend has it that he faced so much hostility on the set while made up as Hitler that he had to remain locked in his dressing room between takes. After the war, Watson fell from prominence, playing a few sizeable character roles in films like The Paleface (1948) and Red, Hot and Blue (1949) before settling into such uncredited minor parts as the voice coach ("Moses supposes his toeses are roses") in Singin' in the Rain (1952). Until the end of his life, Bobby Watson remained "on call" for one-scene appearances as Hitler in films ranging from The Story of Mankind (1957) to Danny Kaye's On the Double (1961).

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