Philip Van Zandt

Active - 1940 - 1958  |   Born - Oct 3, 1904 in Amsterdam  |   Died - Feb 16, 1958 in Hollywood, CA  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Action, Adventure, Crime

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Beginning his stage career in his native Holland in 1927, Phil Van Zandt moved to America shortly afterward, continuing to make theatrical appearances into the late '30s. From his first film (Those High Gray Walls [1939]) onward, the versatile Van Zandt was typed as "everyday" characters whenever he chose not to wear his mustache; with the 'stache, however, his face took on a sinister shade, and he found himself playing such cinematic reprobates as evil caliphs, shady attorneys, and heartless Nazis. Because of deliberately shadowy photography, the audience barely saw Van Zandt's face at all in one of his best roles, as the Henry Luce-like magazine editor Rawlston in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941). Though many of his feature-film assignments were bits, Van Zandt was permitted generous screen time in his many appearances in two-reel comedies. Beginning with the Gus Schilling/Dick Lane vehicle Pardon My Terror (1946), Van Zandt was a fixture at the Columbia Pictures short subjects unit, usually playing crooks and mad scientists at odds with the Three Stooges. He established his own acting school in Hollywood in the 1950s, though this and other ventures ultimately failed. Philip Van Zandt died of a drug overdose at the age of 54.

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