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William Edmunds (actor)

William Edmunds (actor)
William Edmunds in Casablanca (1942)
Personal information
Birth nameGuillermo Bocconcini
Birth dateJuly 15, 1886
Place of birthItaly
Date of deathDecember 7, 1981(age 95)
Death placeLos Angeles, California,
United States

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William Edmunds (July 15, 1886 December 7, 1981) was a stage and screen character actor, typically playing roles with heavy accents (generally Italian, Spanish, and French). Born as Guillermo Bocconcini in Italy, he immigrated to the United States and was a New York City based actor, receiving his first credited role in the Bob Hope film Going Spanish (1934). He relocated to Hollywood in 1938 and had bit parts in films such as Idiot's Delight (1939), and larger roles such as House of Frankenstein (1944, as gypsy leader Fejos), Bob Hope's Where There's Life (1947, as King Hubertus II) and Double Dynamite (1951, as Groucho Marx's long-suffering boss). His many short subject appearances include a few stints as Robert "Mickey" Blake's father in the Our Gang series. He has a brief appearance in Casablanca (1942) where in Rick’s Café he gives instructions to a man seeking illegal passage out of Casablanca.

Edmunds was cast with Jimmy Stewart in three films, The Mortal Storm, The Shop Around the Corner (1940), and perhaps his signature role as Giuseppe Martini, the bar proprietor in It’s a Wonderful Life. He had other notable parts in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), The Three Musketeers (1948), and The Caddy (1953), a Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy. Edmunds received top billing in the 1951 TV situation comedy Actors' Hotel.

He acted on Broadway in such plays as The New York Story and Follies, which he left to be in It’s a Wonderful Life. Additional stage credits include Salt Water (1929 1930), Saluta (1934), Moon Over Mulberry Street (1935 1936), and Siege (1937).

Edmunds died in Los Angeles, California, at age 95. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea.

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