Byron Foulger

Active - 1934 - 1970  |   Born - Jan 1, 1900   |   Died - Apr 4, 1970   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Western, Crime, Action

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Biography by Hal Erickson

In the 1959 Twilight Zone episode "Walking Distance," Gig Young comments that he thinks he's seen drugstore counterman Byron Foulger before. "I've got that kind of face" was the counterman's reply. Indeed, Foulger's mustachioed, bespectacled, tremble-chinned, moon-shaped countenance was one of the most familiar faces ever to grace the screen. A graduate of the University of Utah, Foulger developed a taste for performing in community theatre, making his Broadway debut in the '20s. Foulger then toured with Moroni Olsen's stock company, which led him to the famed Pasadena Playhouse as both actor and director. In films from 1936, Foulger usually played whining milksops, weak-willed sycophants, sanctimonious sales clerks, shifty political appointees, and the occasional unsuspected murderer. In real life, the seemingly timorous actor was not very easily cowed; according to his friend Victor Jory, Foulger once threatened to punch out Errol Flynn at a party because he thought that Flynn was flirting with his wife (Mrs. Foulger was Dorothy Adams, a prolific movie and stage character actress). Usually unbilled in "A" productions, Foulger could count on meatier roles in such "B" pictures as The Man They Could Not Hang (1939) and The Panther's Claw (1943). In the Bowery Boys' Up in Smoke (1957), Foulger is superb as a gleeful, twinkly-eyed Satan. In addition to his film work, Byron Foulger built up quite a gallery of portrayals on television; one of his final stints was the recurring role of engineer Wendell Gibbs on the popular sitcom Petticoat Junction.

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