Henry Hull

Active - 1918 - 1967  |   Born - Oct 3, 1890   |   Died - Mar 8, 1977   |   Genres - Drama, Western, Romance, Action

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Henry Hull, the son of a Louisville drama critic, made his Broadway acting debut in either 1909 or 1911, depending on which "official" biography one reads. After leaving the stage to try his luck as a gold prospector and mining engineer, Hull was back on the boards in 1916, the same year that he made his first film at New Jersey's World Studios. While his place of honor in the American Theater is incontestable (among his many Broadway appearances was Tobacco Road, in which he created the role of Jeeter Lester), Hull's reputation as film actor varies from observer to observer. An incredibly mannered movie performer, Hull was a bit too precious for his leading roles in One Exciting Night (1922) and The Werewolf of London (1935); he also came off as shamelessly hammy in such character parts as the crusading newspaper editor in The Return of Frank James (1940). Conversely, his calculated mannerisms and gratuitous vocal tricks served him quite well in roles like the obnoxious millionaire in Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944) and the Ernie Pyle-like war correspondent in Objective Burma (1945). A playwright as well as an actor, Hull worked on such plays as Congratulations and Manhattan. One of Henry Hull's last film appearances was the typically irritating role of a small-town buttinsky in The Chase (1966).

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