Wisconsinite John Litel was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. When World War I broke out in Europe, Litel didn't feel like waiting until America became officially involved and thus joined the French army, serving valiantly for three years. Returning to America, Litel studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and entered into the peripatetic world of touring stock companies. His first film was the 1929 talkie The Sleeping Porch, which starred top-hatted comedian Raymond Griffith. He settled in Hollywood for keeps in 1937, spending the next three decades portraying a vast array of lawyers, judges, corporate criminals, military officers, and even a lead or two. Litel was a regular in two separate "B"-picture series, playing the respective fathers of Bonita Granville and James Lydon in the Nancy Drew and Henry Aldrich series. On television, John Litel was appropriately ulcerated as the boss of Bob Cummings on the 1953 sitcom My Hero.