Charles Butterworth

Active - 1930 - 1944  |   Born - Jul 26, 1896 in South Bend, IN  |   Died - Jun 14, 1946 in Los Angeles, CA  |   Genres - Comedy, Musical, Romance, Drama, Mystery

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A master at playing diffident, absentminded middle-aged bachelors, American actor and Notre Dame alumnus Charles Butterworth was an established Broadway musical comedy star when he made his first film, Life of the Party (1930). Butterworth's heyday was in the 1930s, when he appeared as either the hero's silly best friend or a besotted society twit in one film after another. An offscreen drinking buddy of such literary wits as Robert Benchley and Corey Ford, Butterworth became so famous for his dry quips and cynical asides that Hollywood screenwriters began writing only fragmentary scripts for him, hoping that the actor would "fill in the blanks" with his own bon mots. Butterworth hated this cavalier treatment, complaining "I need material as much as anyone else!" By the early 1940s, material of all sorts began running thin, and Butterworth was accepting assignments at such lesser studios as Monogram and PRC, with the occasional worthwhile role in A-films like This Is the Army (1943). Two years after completing his last picture, Dixie Jamboree (1946), the still relatively youthful Butterworth was killed in an automobile accident. His memory was kept alive in the early 1960s by actor Daws Butler, who used a Butterworth-type voice for the cartoon commercial spokesman Cap'n Crunch.

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