What a Character! Blogathon – Edward Everett Horton

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Edward Everett Horton. So immensely popular amongst Classic Hollywood buffs, I had to write his name in the sign-up for the blogathon as quickly as I could before someone else took it. He’s all mine, muahaha!

Like Thelma Ritter, Charles McGraw or Beulah Bondi, Edward Everett Horton is one of those character actors that can make you squeal with excitment just from seeing his name in the credits. But the thing is, it’s kind of hard to categorize what type of character actor he was. He’s not necessarily a sidekick in the traditional sense, and he’s not a scene-stealer either. He’s what I often call a ‘cherry on top’ character actor. With his piercing, expressive eyes, his iconic voice and his enviable comic timing, he makes any film better just by being in it and he always brings an extra slice of delight, humour and familiarity that you didn’t know you needed.

I was watching Trouble in Paradise (1932) the other day (shout out to the genius that was Ernst ‘so good, they named a technique after him’ Lubitsch) and I was once again amazed at how effortless he makes it look. I mean, he just had a gift for comedy, didn’t he? The double (or triple) take that he perfected is just wonderful and it’s probably taken for granted nowadays, because everybody does it, but Edward Everett Horton did it before anybody else. Personally, I think his scenes with Charlie Ruggles (another ‘cherry on top’ wonder, that undoubtedly is going to be featured on this blogathon, so check it out) are comedy perfection. Their timing is on point, and they feed off each other beautifully. A great unofficial comedy duo, for just that one film – oh, what could have been!

Of course, one of his most famous performances was in Holiday (1938), in which he reprised the role of Nick Potter that he’d previously played in the original Holiday (1930). Holiday is one of the loveliest movies ever and I usually watch it around this time of year (as I did last night), and while I love Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant (I don’t believe I ever mentioned that…), I’m always extremely happy to see Edward Everett Horton whenever he comes on. He just had that wonderful quality about him. He’s comforting, he’s warm and he’s reliable – in the best possible sense of the word.

For me personally, Edward Everett Horton is one of the all-time great character actors. In fact, I think he’s the definition of a character actor. There wasn’t a whole lot he couldn’t do and 1930s/40s comedies wouldn’t be the same without him.

Click here to read the other entries on the What a Character! Blogathon.

21 thoughts on “What a Character! Blogathon – Edward Everett Horton

  1. Mike

    Excellent piece as usual Carol. Love him. Always a welcome addition to any film. Remember seeing him in his last film, the underrated “ cold turkey “. As you said there were so many gresr character actors in the past. You don’t see many in today’s films.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Horton. He’s also allied with the Sissy figure of Hollywood history, effeminate and harmless to the ladies. I love him, especially with Fred and Ginger, though he’s less over the top and even more loveable in Holiday with Grant and Hepburn.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re right about squealing as that’s exactly what I did when I saw you sign up for EEH! He is the cherry on top! Well done, Carol, on a tribute to one of the gems of classic Hollywood. We couldn’t have done without him – or you.

    Aurora

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: 6th Annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon: Day Two – Once upon a screen…

  5. Doug Kirschhoch

    Another great role for EEH was as the totally nonplussed Mr. Witherspoon in Arsenic and Old Lace, one of my all time favorite comedies. His reaction to Teddy’s “Charge!” up the stairs, “Oh dear, and there are so many staircases at Happydale ” always cracks me up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, how did you know I squealed every time I see Edward Everett Horton’s name in the credits? 😉

    He is such a treat to watch. He never lets an audience down, does he? Each performance is spot on.

    I’m glad you featured our Mr Horton. He deserves this excellent tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful post! I’ve chosen EE Horton for a past year’s WACBlogathon myself because he’s just so darn marvelous! That voice is so reassuring and his presence in so many memorable 1930s films are the best! As a child of the 70s, I am also a big fan of his narration in things like Fractured Fairy Tales. Thanks for joining our blogathon, Carol!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s always a delight to see Edward’s name in the opening credits – I know I’m in fro a threat! I first saw him stealing scenes in a Fred and Ginger musical, and he quickly became one of my favorite character actors!

    Liked by 1 person

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