William Austin

Active - 1922 - 1966  |   Born - Jan 1, 1884   |   Died - Jan 1, 1975   |   Genres - Comedy, Crime, Drama, Western, Mystery

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Not to be confused with the film editor of the same name, British character actor William Austin made his Hollywood debut in Edward Everett Horton's 1923 film version of Ruggles of Red Gap. Together with Claud Allister, Austin became one of Hollywood's favorite "silly ass" Englishmen in the talkie period, usually armed with monocle and high-pitched laugh. He worked at every studio, in any kind of film, playing roles ranging from the epicene hospital patient who is "all aflutter" in the Laurel and Hardy two-reeler County Hospital (1932) to the humorless husband of divorce-bound Ginger Rogers in The Gay Divorcee (1934). He also made occasional return trips to England to appear in such films as The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) (as the Duke of Cleves). One of William Austin's last film assignments before his retirement in the mid-1940s was as Alfred the Butler in the 1942 Columbia serial Batman.

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