John Alexander

Active - 1922 - 1960  |   Born - Jan 1, 1897   |   Died - Jul 13, 1982   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Romance, Crime, Musical

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Portly, penguin-shaped actor John Alexander was brought to Hollywood in 1941 to recreate the stage role of Teddy Brewster in Frank Capra's film version of Arsenic and Old Lace. Alexander entered the comedy-movie hall of fame in this role of a demented, middle-aged fellow who imagined himself to be Teddy Roosevelt, and who frequently disrupted his household by yelling "CHAAAARGE!" and rushing up "San Juan Hill" (aka the staircase). Alexander would repeat the Teddy Brewster role in later stage and TV revivals of Arsenic for the rest of his career; he also occasionally played the real Teddy Roosevelt in such films as Fancy Pants (1950). Outside of his Roosevelt impersonations, Alexander was memorable as one of Bette Davis' earnest suitor in Mrs. Skeffington (1947), and as minstrel impresario Lew Dockstader in The Jolson Story (1946). Before his retirement in the mid-1960s, John Alexander appeared in several Broadway plays and musicals, and was an occasional guest star on such Manhattan-filmed TV series as Car 54, Where Are You?

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