Frank Morgan

Active - 1916 - 1952  |   Born - Jun 1, 1890 in New York, New York, United States  |   Died - Sep 18, 1949   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Musical, Comedy Drama

Share on

Years before he played The Wizard (and four other roles) in The Wizard of Oz (1939), Frank Morgan had a long career in silent film and was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for The Affairs of Cellini (1934). Although adept at flustered and bewildered comic roles, Morgan was also an excellent dramatic actor; he was an ever-present figure in many of MGM's classiest films of the period. Highlights of his career include: Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (1931), When Ladies Meet (1933), Bombshell (1933), Cat and the Fiddle (1934), The Good Fairy (1935), Naughty Marietta (1935), Dimples (1936), The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937), Saratoga (1937), Rosalie (1937), Boom Town (1940), Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940), and The Three Musketeers (1948). He was especially effective in The Shop Around the Corner (1940), The Mortal Storm (1940), The Human Comedy (1943) and Summer Holiday (1948), the musical remake of Thornton Wilder's Ah, Wilderness. Morgan died while filming Annie Get Your Gun, in which he would have played Buffalo Bill. The most famous anecdote about Morgan is that while rehearsing for The Wizard of Oz, he went looking for a coat to help him feel like Prof. Marvel; the one he found in a second-hand shop turned out to have originally belonged to Wizard author L. Frank Baum.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography

Factsheet

  • Was the youngest of 11 children.
  • Came from a wealthy family who were the first distributors of Angostura bitters in the United States.
  • Tried many career paths after school, and even tested out being a cowboy. Shortly after, he changed his mind and decided to try theater like his older brother, Ralph.
  • Selected the signature coat for Professor Marvel in The Wizard of Oz (1939) from a second-hand shop. During rehearsal, he discovered the name "L. Frank Baum" stitched inside—it was later confirmed that it was, in fact, the late Oz author's coat.
  • Died from a heart attack after only filming one scene as Buffalo Bill during the production of Annie Get Your Gun (1950). The role later went to Louis Calhern.
  • Has two stars on the sidewalks of Hollywood—one for his work in radio acting, and another for film.