Lester Dorr

Active - 1931 - 1975  |   Born - May 8, 1893   |   Died - Aug 25, 1980   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Musical, Crime, Romance

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Biography by Bruce Eder

General purpose actor Lester Dorr kept himself busy in every size role there was in Hollywood, in a screen career lasting nearly 35 years. Born in Massachusetts in 1893, he was working on Broadway in the late 1920s, including the cast of Sigmund Romberg's New Moon (1928). The advent of talking pictures brought Dorr to Hollywood, where, working mostly as a day-player, he began turning up in everything from two-reel shorts (especially from Hal Roach) in the latter's heyday) to major features (including Michael Curtiz's Female and Raoul Walsh's The Bowery, both 1933), in which he usually had tiny parts, often in crowd scenes, with an occasional line or two of dialogue -- in the mid-1930s he was literally appearing in dozens of movies each year, though usually with scarcely more than a minute's screen time in any one of them. Dorr was also one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild.

He was almost as busy after World War II, and starting in 1951 he also started working in television, ranging from westerns to anthology series. He slowed down significantly in the 1960s, by which time he was in his seventies. Among his rare screen credits are two of his most oft-repeated large- and small-screen appearances -- in W. Lee Wilder's Killers From Space, the public domain status of which has made it a ubiquitous presence on cable television and low-priced VHS and DVD releases, he is the gas station attendant who spots fugitive scientist Peter Graves' car; and in The Adventures of Superman episode The Mind Machine, repeated for decades as part of the ever-popular series, Dorr plays the hapless but well-intention school bus driver whose vehicle (with three kids inside) is stolen by mentally unhinged mob witness Harry Hayden. His last three appearances were in full-blown feature films: Richard Quine's Hotel (1967), Gene Kelly's Hello Dolly (1969), and Peter Bogdanovich's At Long Last Love (1975).

Movie Highlights

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