|Born||December 9, 1876|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Died||October 10, 1940 (aged 63)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Harriet Gardner (?-1940) (his death) 1 child|
Born in Toronto, Ontario, as a young man interested in the theater, Churchill appeared in stock companies as early as 1903 and later headed to New York City, where he worked as a newspaper pressman, eventually becoming a foreman and leader of his union.
He began an acting career that saw him perform in 30 plays, many of them on Broadway. He was one of the earliest members of Actors Equity and sat on the union's Council. In 1919, he was in charge of the New York headquarters during the Equity strike in which fellow Canadian, friend and actress Marie Dressler assumed a major part with him, which led to her being blacklisted by the producers.
With the advent of filmmaking in New York, Churchill appeared in several motion pictures, and in the 1920s, following the use of sound in film, he moved to Hollywood, California. There, he landed numerous supporting roles, usually as the stern or pompous character with such roles as a banker, a state governor, or a land baron. He was much in demand, "establishing what was believed to be a record by appearing in 34 in 1932 alone." In more than 125 films, Churchill worked for some of the great directors such as Otto Preminger, John Ford, and Frank Capra. As well, he performed with many of the most famous stars of the day, such as Bette Davis (The Cabin in the Cotton), Jeanette MacDonald, Tyrone Power, Edward G. Robinson, and Will Rogers. Churchill is perhaps best known for his role as Gatewood, the absconding banker in John Ford's highly acclaimed 1939 film Stagecoach, starring John Wayne.
In 1925, Churchill helped found the Masquers club that led to him and five other actors creating the Screen Actors Guild in 1933.
Churchill died in New York City, of uremic poisoning. He was survived by his wife and daughter. His body was returned to the west coast to be interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
$10 Raise is a 1935 American comedy film directed by George Marshall, written by Henry Johnson and Lou Breslow, and starring Edward Everett Horton, Karen Morley, Alan Dinehart, Glen Boles, Berton Churchill and Rosina Lawrence. It was released on May 4, 1935, by Fox Film Corporation.Bachelor Bait
Bachelor Bait is a 1934 comedy film about a man (William Watts) who is fired from his job issuing marriage licenses at city hall because of the actions of a co-worker. He starts a match making business which becomes very successful because of Mr. Watts ability to find suitable matches for everybody except for himself.
It lost $3,000.Friends of Mr. Sweeney
Friends of Mr. Sweeney is a 1934 American comedy film directed by Edward Ludwig and written by Warren B. Duff, Sid Sutherland, F. Hugh Herbert and Erwin S. Gelsey. It is based on the 1925 novel Friends of Mr. Sweeney by Elmer Davis. The film stars Charlie Ruggles, Ann Dvorak, Eugene Pallette, Robert Barrat, Berton Churchill and Dorothy Burgess. The film was released by Warner Bros. on July 28, 1934.Golden Harvest (film)
Golden Harvest is a 1933 American Pre-Code drama film directed by Ralph Murphy and written by Nina Wilcox Putnam and Casey Robinson. The film stars Richard Arlen, Chester Morris, Genevieve Tobin, Roscoe Ates, Julie Haydon, Elizabeth Patterson and Berton Churchill. The film was released on September 22, 1933, by Paramount Pictures.Half a Sinner (1934 film)
Half a Sinner is a 1934 American pre-Code drama film directed by Kurt Neumann and starring Sally Blane, Joel McCrea and Berton Churchill. It was based on the play Alias the Deacon, which was also the basis of 1927 and 1940 films.Her First Mate
Her First Mate is a 1933 American pre-Code comedy film directed by William Wyler and written by Clarence Marks, Earle Snell and H. M. Walker. The film stars Slim Summerville, ZaSu Pitts, Una Merkel, Warren Hymer, Berton Churchill and George F. Marion. The film was released on August 3, 1933, by Universal Pictures.Ladies in Distress
Ladies in Distress is a 1938 American drama film directed by Gus Meins and written by Dorrell McGowan and Stuart E. McGowan. The film stars Alison Skipworth, Polly Moran, Robert Livingston, Virginia Grey, Max Terhune and Berton Churchill. The film was released on June 13, 1938, by Republic Pictures.Let's Be Ritzy
Let's Be Ritzy is a 1934 American comedy film directed by Edward Ludwig and written by Harry Sauber and Earle Snell. The film stars Lew Ayres, Patricia Ellis, Isabel Jewell, Frank McHugh, Berton Churchill and Robert McWade. The film was released on May 1, 1934, by Universal Pictures.Menace (1934 American film)
Menace is a 1934 American mystery film directed by Ralph Murphy.Nothing but the Truth (1929 film)
Nothing But the Truth is a 1929 American sound comedy film starring Richard Dix, loosely adapted from the play by James Montgomery and the novel by Frederic S. Isham. The play was adapted again (more faithfully) as Nothing But the Truth (1941) starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard.Separate French, German and Spanish versions were made at the Joinville Studios in Paris as part of Paramount's policy of multiple-language versions.Public Wedding
Public Wedding is a 1937 American comedy film directed by Nick Grinde and written by Roy Chanslor and Houston Branch. The film stars Jane Wyman (in her first starring role), William Hopper, Dick Purcell, Marie Wilson, Berton Churchill and Archie Robbins. The film was released by Warner Bros. on July 10, 1937.Should Husbands Work?
Should Husbands Work? is a 1939 American comedy film directed by Gus Meins and written by Taylor Caven and Jack Townley. The film stars James Gleason, Lucile Gleason, Russell Gleason, Harry Davenport, Berton Churchill and Marie Wilson. The film was released on July 26, 1939, by Republic Pictures.The Crooked Circle (1932 film)
The Crooked Circle is a 1932 American pre-Code film, a comedy-mystery directed by H. Bruce Humberstone.
In 1933, The Crooked Circle was the first feature film shown on television. In Los Angeles, the Don Lee Broadcasting System showed the film on March 10, 1933 over their experimental station W6XAO, transmitting an 80-line resolution mechanical television picture to a half-dozen or fewer receiving sets in the greater Los Angeles area. The film was shown again on June 18, 1940 on the NBC Television experimental station WX2BS, now WNBC-TV in New York City.The Dark Hour (1936 film)
The Dark Hour is a 1936 American film directed by Charles Lamont.The Mysterious Rider (1933 film)
The Mysterious Rider is a 1933 American pre-Code Western film directed by Fred Allen and written by Harvey Gates and Robert N. Lee. The film stars Kent Taylor, Lona Andre, Berton Churchill, Irving Pichel, Warren Hymer, Gail Patrick and Cora Sue Collins. The film was released on January 20, 1933, by Paramount Pictures.The Spanish Cape Mystery (film)
The Spanish Cape Mystery is a 1935 American mystery film directed by Lewis D. Collins and starring Donald Cook, Helen Twelvetrees and Berton Churchill. It is based on the novel of the same name featuring the detective Ellery Queen.The Way of All Flesh (1940 film)
The Way of All Flesh is a 1940 American drama film directed by Louis King and written by Lenore J. Coffee. The film stars Akim Tamiroff, Gladys George, William "Bill" Henry, Muriel Angelus, Berton Churchill and Roger Imhof. The film was released on July 5, 1940, by Paramount Pictures. It is a remake of the lost 1927 silent film of the same name.Three of a Kind (1936 film)
Three of a Kind is a 1936 American film directed by Phil Rosen. It was made by Invincible Pictures Corporation which was later absorbed into Republic Pictures.Wild and Woolly (1937 film)
Wild and Woolly is a 1937 American Western film directed by Alfred L. Werker and written by Frank Fenton and Lynn Root. The film stars Jane Withers, Walter Brennan, Pauline Moore, Carl Switzer, Jackie Searl and Berton Churchill. The film was released on July 19, 1937, by 20th Century Fox.