Short, portly, and possessed of a high-pitched laugh that cuts through the air like a buzzsaw, Massachussetts-born Dick Elliott had been on stage for nearly thirty before making his screen bow in 1933. Elliott was a frequent visitor to Broadway, enjoying a substantial run in the marathon hit Abie's Irish Rose. Physically and vocally unchanged from his first screen appearance in the '30s to his last in 1961, Elliott was most generally cast in peripheral roles designed to annoy the film's principal characters with his laughing jags or his obtrusive behavior; in this capacity, he appeared as drunken conventioneers, loud-mouthed theatre audience members, and "helpful" pedestrians. Elliott also excelled playing small-scale authority figures, such as stage managers, truant officers and rural judges. Still acting into his mid 70s, Dick Elliott appeared regularly as the mayor of Mayberry on the first season of The Andy Griffith Show, and was frequently cast as a department-store Santa in the Yuletide programs of such comics as Jack Benny and Red Skelton.