Herman Bing

Active - 1929 - 1946  |   Born - Mar 30, 1889   |   Died - Jan 9, 1947   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Musical, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Along with such immortals as Percy Helton, Franklin Pangborn and Grady Sutton, Herman Bing is a member of that Valhalla of film character actors. Educated in his native Germany for a musical career, Bing went into vaudeville at 16, and soon after found work as a circus clown. Entering films in the mid-1920s, Bing apprenticed under the great director F. W. Murnau. He accompanied Murnau to Hollywood in 1927, where he worked as a scripter and assistant director on the classic silent drama Sunrise. After several more years assisting the likes of John Ford and Frank Borzage, Bing established himself as a character actor. Nearly always cast as a comic waiter, excitable musician, apoplectic stage manager or self-important official, Bing became famous for his wild-eyed facial expressions and his thick, "R"-rolling Teutonic accent. When the sort of broad comedy for which Herman Bing was renowned became passe in the postwar era, work opportunities dried up; despondent over his fading career, Bing shot himself at the age of 57.

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