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J. Carrol Naish

J Carrol Naish
from the trailer for Annie Get Your Gun (1950)
Personal information
Birth nameJoseph Patrick Carrol Naish
Birth dateJanuary 21, 1896
Place of birthNew York, New York, U.S.
Date of deathJanuary 24, 1973(age 77)
Death placeLa Jolla, California, U.S.
SpouseGladys Heaney (1929-73) his death

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Joseph Patrick Carrol Naish (January 21, 1896 - January 24, 1973) was an American character actor born in New York City. Naish was twice nominated for an Academy Award for film roles, and he later found fame in the title role of CBS Radio's Life With Luigi (1948 1953), which was also on CBS Television (1952-1953).

Naish appeared on stage for several years before he began his film career. He began as a member of Gus Edwards's vaudeville troupe of child performers. In Paris after World War I, Naish formed his own song and dance act. He was traveling the globe from Europe to Egypt to Asia, when his China-bound ship developed engine problems, leaving him in California in 1926.

His uncredited bit role in What Price Glory? (1926) launched his career in more than two hundred films. He was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the first for his role in the movie Sahara (1943), and for his performance in the movie A Medal for Benny (1945). For the latter film, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor Motion Picture. He played Boris Karloff's assistant in House of Frankenstein (1944).

He was of Irish descent, but he never used his dialect skills to play Irishmen, explaining, "When the part of an Irishman comes along, nobody ever thinks of me." Instead, he portrayed myriad other ethnic groups on screen: Latino, Native American, East Asian, Polynesian, Middle Eastern/North African, South Asian, Eastern European and Mediterranean. Besides his film roles, he often appeared on television later in his career. For his contributions to television and film, Naish has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6145 Hollywood Boulevard.

In 1954, Naish guest starred in an episode of Justice, an NBC legal drama about attorneys of the Legal Aid Society of New York. On February 2, 1959, Naish appeared on John Payne's NBC western series The Restless Gun in the role of Major Quint Langley in the episode "Blood of Courage."

In 1960-1961, Naish played an American Indian in the ABC sitcom Guestward, Ho! with costars Joanne Dru and Mark Miller.

Naish was married (1929 1973) to actress Gladys Heaney (1907 1987); they had one daughter. He spent many of his later years in San Diego studying philosophy and theology.

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