Cyril Ring

Active - 1921 - 1951  |   Born - Jan 1, 1893   |   Died - Jul 17, 1967   |   Genres - Comedy, Musical, Drama, Crime, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Bostonian Cyril Ring certainly had the pedigree for a successful show business career; he was the brother of stage luminary Blanche Ring and the less famous but equally busy actress Frances Ring. And Cyril certainly had the right connections: he was the brother-in-law of stage comedian Charles Winninger (Blanche's husband) and film star Thomas Meighan (Frances' husband). All Cyril Ring lacked was talent. He managed to coast as actor on his family ties and his rakish good looks, but his range never matured beyond a tiny handful of by-rote mannerisms and facial expressions. In the early '20s, Ring was briefly married to musical comedy star Charlotte Greenwood. Reasonably busy as a silent-film western villain, Ring was cast as the caddish Harvey Yates in the Marx Bros.' 1929 film debut The Cocoanuts. The subsequent reviews bent over backward to condemn Ring's performance as the stiffest and most amateurish of the year -- and thus his fate was sealed. For the rest of his movie career, Ring would be confined to microscopic bit parts and extra roles, with the occasional supporting parts in 2-reel comedies (he's the fugitive crook who demands a shave from W.C. Fields in 1933's The Barber Shop). One of the few features in which he had more than five lines was RKO's 1945 mystery-comedy Having Wonderful Crime; perhaps significantly, his sister Blanche Ring topped the film's supporting cast. Cyril Ring's last recorded credits occured in 1947, after which he dropped from public view until his obituary was published in the trades twenty years later.

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