Ethan Laidlaw

Active - 1925 - 1959  |   Born - Nov 25, 1899   |   Died - May 25, 1963   |   Genres - Western, Action, Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

An outdoorsman from an early age, gangling Montana-born actor Ethan Laidlaw began showing up in westerns during the silent era. Too menacing for lead roles, Laidlaw was best suited for villains, usually as the crooked ranch hand in the employ of the rival cattle baron, sent to spy on the hero or heroine. During the talkie era, Laidlaw began alternating his western work with roles as sailors and stevedores; he is quite visible chasing the Marx Brothers around in Monkey Business (1931). Though usually toiling in anonymity, Ethan Laidlaw was given prominent billing for his "heavy" role in the 1936 Wheeler and Woolsey sagebrush spoof Silly Billies.

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