Moroni Olsen

Active - 1931 - 1954  |   Born - Jul 27, 1889   |   Died - Nov 22, 1954   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Adventure

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Born and educated in Utah, tall, piercing-eyed actor Moroni Olsen learned how to entertain an audience as a Chautaqua tent-show performer. In the 1920s, he organized the Moroni Olsen Players, one of the most prestigious touring stock companies in the business. After several successful seasons on Broadway, Olsen came to films in the role of Porthos in the 1935 version of The Three Musketeers. Though many of his subsequent roles were not on this plateau, Olsen nearly always transcended his material: In the otherwise middling Wheeler and Woolsey comedy Mummy's Boys (1936), for example, Olsen all but ignites the screen with his terrifying portrayal of a lunatic. Thanks to his aristocratic bearing and classically trained voice, Olsen was often called upon to play famous historical personages: he was Buffalo Bill in Annie Oakley (1935), Robert E. Lee in Santa Fe Trail (1940), and Sam Houston in Lone Star (1952). Throughout his Hollywood career, Moroni Olsen was active as a director and performer with the Pasadena Playhouse, and was the guiding creative force behind Hollywood's annual Pilgrimage Play.

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