Glenn Tryon

Active - 1924 - 1965  |   Born - Sep 14, 1894   |   Died - Apr 18, 1970   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Romance, Crime, Musical

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A lifelong professional, American actor Glenn Tryon appeared in tent shows and stock companies from the age of ten. When comedy producer Hal Roach was casting about for a handsome but trouble-prone young man to replace Harold Lloyd, he signed Tryon for the lead in the feature-length slapsticker The Battling Orioles 19(24). Tryon remained at Roach as a two-reel comedy star, where his ingratiating but unmemorable personality served as contrast for the more aggressive comic turns of supporting clowns Jimmy Finlayson and Oliver Hardy. He also starred in several moneymaking silent programmers, the best of which was 1928's Lonesome. Tryon's first talkie was Broadway (1929), where he registered well as a selfish, synthetic hoofer with aspirations for the Big Time. But Tryon was one of many performers of this type in the early talkies (Ben Lyon, James Cagney, Lee Tracy et. al.) and soon his star was eclipsed by others. He continued acting in B-pictures before switching over to screenwriting with the 1934 Stu Erwin vehicle Bachelor Bait, directed by another Hal Roach alumnus, George Stevens. In 1941 Tryon became a producer at Universal, specializing in comedies: he supervised Abbott and Costello's Hold That Ghost and Keep 'Em Flying (1941), and also presided over the lunacies of Olsen and Johnson's Hellzapoppin' (1941) (for a brief period he was married to Hellzapoppin' leading lady Jane Frazee). In 1942, he moved back to Hal Roach as producer of a handful of 45-minute "streamliners," including the gloriously tasteless wartime farce The Devil with Hitler (1942). Only occasionally lured back before the cameras in the '40s, Glenn Tryon played a significant role in George White's Scandals (1945) -- as producer George White himself.

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