Grant Mitchell

Active - 1923 - 1948  |   Born - Jun 17, 1875 in Columbus, OH  |   Died - May 1, 1957   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Crime, Musical, Romance

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The son of a general and a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, Ohioan Grant Mitchell was a lawyer (he certainly looked the part) for several years before going into acting. He made his stage bow at the age of 27, and spent the next quarter of a century as a leading player, often billed above the title of the play. Mitchell was a special favorite of showman George M. Cohan, who wrote a vehicle specifically tailored to Mitchell's talents, The Baby Cyclone, in 1927. Though he reportedly appeared in a 1923 film, Mitchell's movie career officially began in 1932, first in bits (the deathhouse priest in If I Had a Million), then in sizeable supporting roles at Warner Bros. Often cast as the father of the heroine, Mitchell socked across his standard dyspeptic-papa lines with a delivery somewhat reminiscent of James Cagney (leading one to wonder if the much-younger Cagney didn't take a few pointers from Mitchell during his own formative years). While he sparkled in a variety of secondary roles as businessmen, bank clerks and school principals, Mitchell was occasionally honored with a B-picture lead, as in 1939's Father is a Prince. With years of theatrical experience behind him, Mitchell was shown to best advantage in Warners' many adaptations of stage plays, notably A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942). Freelancing in the mid '40s, Grant Mitchell occasionally showed up in unbilled one-scene cameos (Leave Her to Heaven [1945]) and in reprises of his small-town bigwig characterizations in such B-films as Blondie's Anniversary (1947) and Who Killed Doc Robbin? (1948).

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