Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #0012291: WILLIAM DEMAREST

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Bold vintage blue ballpoint pen signature on a 4x6-inch tan autograph album page, acquired in-person in the 1950s. In good condition, with one or two small brown flecks ingrained in the paper itself. Cranky character actor William Demarest headlined on the vaudeville and Broadway stages before making his film debut in 1926, paired with Clyde Cook in a series of "Mutt and Jeff"-style silent comedies and appearing as Buster Billings in The Jazz Singer (1927). He became a staple supporting player during Hollywood's early talkie era and Golden Age, associated with a cold-fish stare, ratchety voice and bone-crushing pratfalls, which always kept audiences laughing. His antics were especially prized by writer/director Preston Sturges, who cast Demarest in virtually all his films: The Great McGinty (1940), Christmas in July (1940), The Lady Eve (1941), Sullivan's Travels (1942), The Palm Beach Story (1942), Hail the Conquering Hero (1944), The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944), and The Great Moment (1944).  He was also memorable in Diamond Jim (1935), The Great Ziegfeld (1936), Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938), The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Farmer's Daughter (1940), The Devil and Miss Jones (1941), Dressed to Kill (1941), Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), The Private War of Major Benson (1955), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Son of Flubber (1963, and the horror flick Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973).  For his role as Al Jolson's fictional mentor Steve Martin in The Jolson Story (1946), Demarest was Oscar-nominated. Despite his long and varied career, he remains best remembered for his role as Uncle Charlie on T.V.'s sitcom "My Three Sons" (1965-1972).  Many fans thought it was the actor's first foray into television, but he had thitherto made guest appearances on a number of programs, including "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1958); "Make Room for Daddy" (1957-1961), in the recurring role of Mr. Daly; and "Bonanza" (1963-1964).