Charles Farrell

Active - 1923 - 1971  |   Born - Aug 9, 1901   |   Died - May 6, 1990   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy, Musical

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Having studied for a business career at Boston University, Charles Farrell switched professional gears by breaking into films as an extra. After a brief apprenticeship in Mack Sennett 2-reelers, Farrell rose to stardom at Fox Studios, where he was teamed with Janet Gaynor in such romantic dramas as Seventh Heaven (1927) and Street Angel (1928). The popularity of the Gaynor/Farrell team survived the switch-over to talkies, especially when both Gaynor and Farrell proved to have pleasant singing voices in 1929's Sunny Side Up. Farrell's odd New England accent led many to believe he was British, an assumption that he did little to discourage. As the 1930s progressed, Farrell's stardom diminished, and by 1938 he was playing second fiddle to Fox's newest attraction, Shirley Temple, in Just Around the Corner. Harking back to his collegiate business acumen, Farrell opened up the prosperous Hollywood Racquet Club in Palm Springs, in partnership with Ralph Bellamy. A major factor in the prosperity of Palm Springs in the 1950s, Farrell was elected mayor of the community, a position he held for seven years. Also during this decade, Farrell co-starred with Gale Storm on the popular TV sitcom My Little Margie; he also headlined the 1956 Charlie Farrell Show, the latter sitcom virtually a 39-week commercial for the Racquet Club. Not to be confused with the Irish character actor of same name, Charles Farrell was long-married to former film actress Virginia Valli.

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