Charlie Ruggles

Charles Sherman Ruggles (February 8, 1886 – December 23, 1970) was a comic American character actor. In a career spanning six decades, Ruggles appeared in close to 100 feature films, often in mild-mannered and comic roles. He was also the elder brother of director, producer, and silent film actor Wesley Ruggles (1889–1972).

Charles Ruggles
Charles Ruggles 1963
Publicity photo of Ruggles from his guest appearance on Dick Powell Theatre (1963)
Charles Sherman Ruggles

February 8, 1886
DiedDecember 23, 1970 (aged 84)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale
Years active1905–1968
Spouse(s)Adele Rowland (1914–1916; divorced)
Marion LaBarba (1942–1970)


Ruggles was born in Los Angeles, California in 1886. Despite training to be a doctor, Ruggles soon found himself on the stage, appearing in a stock production of Nathan Hale in 1905. At Los Angeles's Majestic Theatre, he played Private Jo Files in L. Frank Baum and Louis F. Gottschalk's musical The Tik-Tok Man of Oz in 1913.

He moved to Broadway to appear in Help Wanted in 1914. His first screen role came in the silent Peer Gynt the following year. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, Ruggles continued to appear in silent movies, though his passion remained the stage, appearing in long-running productions such as The Passing Show of 1918, The Demi-Virgin and Battling Butler. His most famous stage hit was Queen High, one of his last before a 20-year hiatus, produced in 1926.

From 1929, Ruggles appeared in talking pictures. His first was Gentleman of the Press in which he played a comic, alcoholic newspaper reporter. Throughout the 1930s, he was teamed with comic actress Mary Boland in a string of domestic farces, notably If I Had a Million, Six of a Kind, Ruggles of Red Gap, and People Will Talk. Ruggles is best remembered today as the big-game hunter in Bringing Up Baby and billionaire Michael J. 'Mike' O'Connor in It Happened on Fifth Avenue.

In 1949, Ruggles halted his film career to return to the stage and to move into television. He was the headline character in the TV series The Ruggles, a family comedy in which he played a character also called Charlie Ruggles, and The World of Mr. Sweeney. He guest starred on The Martha Raye Show and portrayed a time-traveling librarian in "Man from 1997," a 1956 science fiction episode of the television series Conflict. In 1961, Ruggles was cast in "Hassie's European Tour", in which he portrays a wealthy neighbor who offers to finance a European trip for series character Hassie McCoy (Lydia Reed) on The Real McCoys.

Ruggles returned to the big screen in 1961, playing Charles McKendrick in The Parent Trap and Mackenzie Savage in The Pleasure of His Company. In the latter film, he reprised the role for which he had won a Tony Award in 1959. In 1963 he memorably played the grandfather of silent star Corinne Griffith in Papa's Delicate Condition. Griffith had written the book of her early life on which the film is based.

Ruggles had a recurring guest role on The Beverly Hillbillies in the mid-1960s as Lowell Redlings Farquhar, father-in-law of Milburn Drysdale (Raymond Bailey). Ruggles also played Aunt Clara's (Marion Lorne) old flame, the warlock Hedley Partridge, as well as a Mr. Caldwell, whose company marketed soup, in the television series Bewitched.[1]

He played Congressman John Canfield on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show called "Aunt Bee, The Swinger", and appeared as a driving instructor on The Munsters. Ruggles also lent his voice to the Aesop and Son features in Jay Ward's The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

Personal life

His marriage to Adele Rowland (1914–1916) ended in divorce after two years. He then married Marion LaBarba in 1942; the couple remained wed until his death in 1970.[2] Marion died in 1978.


Ruggles died of cancer at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California on December 23, 1970 at the age of 84.[3][4]

He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California in the Garden of Memory near his brother Wesley Ruggles.[5][6][7][8]


Charlie Ruggles has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for his contributions to motion pictures on 6200 Hollywood Boulevard, one for his radio work on 6300 Hollywood Boulevard, and one for television is on 1600 Vine Street.[9]

Complete filmography

Television credits

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1942 Suspense The Burning Court[10]
1942 Philip Morris Playhouse Friendly Enemies[11]

1941-42 Barrel of Fun (at least 6 episodes)


  1. ^ Bewitched, 'Help, Help, Don't Save Me' (ABC, 1964), script by Danny Arnold & Sol Saks
  2. ^ Charlie Ruggles on IMDb
  3. ^ "Archives: Story". Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  4. ^ "Eugene Register-Guard - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  5. ^ "Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, CA". Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  6. ^ "Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)". August 21, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  7. ^ "Forest Lawn Memorial Park". Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  8. ^ Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries
  9. ^ "Charles Ruggles". Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  10. ^ "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 38 (3): 32–39. Summer 2012.
  11. ^ "Playhouse Presents Stars in Radio Adaptation of "Friendly Enemies"". Harrisburg Telegraph. June 20, 1942. p. 22. Retrieved August 4, 2015 – via open access

External links

70,000 Witnesses

70,000 Witnesses is a 1932 American mystery film directed by Ralph Murphy, written by Garrett Fort, Robert N. Lee, Allen Rivkin and P.J. Wolfson, and starring Phillips Holmes, Dorothy Jordan, Charlie Ruggles, Johnny Mack Brown, J. Farrell MacDonald, Lew Cody and David Landau. It was released on September 9, 1932, by Paramount Pictures.

A Stolen Life (1946 film)

A Stolen Life is a 1946 drama film starring Bette Davis, who also produced, and directed by Curtis Bernhardt. Based on the 1935 novel, "A Stolen Life" by Karel Josef Benes, which was in Czechoslovakia. The supporting cast includes Glenn Ford, Dane Clark, Peggy Knudsen, Charlie Ruggles, and Bruce Bennett (formerly "Herman Brix"). The movie is a remake of a 1939 British film Stolen Life starring Elisabeth Bergner and Michael Redgrave.

The film was nominated for Best Special Effects (William C. McGann; Special Audible Effects by Nathan Levinson) at the 19th Academy Awards, but lost to Blithe Spirit.

The second time Davis played twin sisters was in Dead Ringer (1964).

Early to Bed (1936 film)

Early to Bed is a 1936 American comedy film directed by Norman Z. McLeod, written by Arthur Kober, Lucien Littlefield, S. J. Perelman and Chandler Sprague, and starring Mary Boland, Charlie Ruggles, George Barbier, Gail Patrick, Robert McWade and Lucien Littlefield. It was released on June 25, 1936, by Paramount Pictures.

Friendly Enemies

Friendly Enemies is a 1942 American drama film starring Charles Winninger, Charlie Ruggles, James Craig, and Nancy Kelly. The film was directed by Allan Dwan, adapted from a play of the same name by Aaron Hoffman and Samuel Shipman. It was nominated an Academy Award in the category of Best Sound Recording (Jack Whitney).

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.

Her Wedding Night

Her Wedding Night is a 1930 American comedy film directed by Frank Tuttle and written by Avery Hopwood and Henry Myers. The film stars Clara Bow, Ralph Forbes, Charlie Ruggles, Richard "Skeets" Gallagher, Geneva Mitchell, and Rosita Moreno. The film was released on September 18, 1930, by Paramount Pictures. Paramount remade the film at the company's Joinville Studios in Paris into several other languages including the French version Let's Get Married.

The film is a remake of the silent film Miss Bluebeard (1925), also directed by Frank Tuttle.

His Exciting Night

His Exciting Night is a 1938 American comedy film directed by Gus Meins and written by Pat C. Flick, Edward Eliscu and Morton Grant. It is based on the 1934 play Adam's Evening by Katharine Kavanaugh. The film stars Charlie Ruggles, Richard Lane, Maxie Rosenbloom, Marion Martin, Stepin Fetchit and Ona Munson. The film was released on November 11, 1938, by Universal Pictures.

Invitation to Happiness

Invitation to Happiness is a 1939 American drama film directed by Wesley Ruggles and written by Claude Binyon. The film stars Irene Dunne, Fred MacMurray, Charlie Ruggles, Billy Cook, William Collier, Sr. and Marion Martin. The film was released on June 16, 1939, by Paramount Pictures.

Mama Loves Papa (1933 film)

Mama Loves Papa is a 1933 American pre-Code comedy film directed by Norman Z. McLeod, with a story by Nunnally Johnson and Douglas MacLean, and a screenplay by MacLean, Keene Thompson and Arthur Kober. The film was produced by Paramount Pictures and stars Charlie Ruggles and Mary Boland.

Mind Your Own Business (film)

Mind Your Own Business is a 1936 American comedy film directed by Norman Z. McLeod and written by John Francis Larkin and Dore Schary. The film stars Charlie Ruggles, Alice Brady, Lyle Talbot, Benny Baker, Gene Lockhart, and Jack La Rue. It was released on December 18, 1936 by Paramount Pictures.

No More Ladies

No More Ladies is a 1935 American romantic comedy film directed by Edward H. Griffith. The film stars Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery, and co-stars Charlie Ruggles, Franchot Tone, and Edna May Oliver. The screenplay credited to Donald Ogden Stewart and Horace Jackson is based on a stage comedy of the same name by A.E. Thomas.

No Time for Comedy

No Time for Comedy is a 1940 American comedy-drama film based on the play of the same name by S. N. Behrman, starring James Stewart, Rosalind Russell, Genevieve Tobin and Charlie Ruggles.

Opened by Mistake

Opened by Mistake is a 1940 film starring Charlie Ruggles and Janice Logan.

Ruggles of Red Gap

Ruggles of Red Gap is a 1935 comedy film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Charles Laughton, Mary Boland, Charlie Ruggles, and ZaSu Pitts and featuring Roland Young and Leila Hyams. It was based on the best-selling 1915 novel by Harry Leon Wilson, adapted by Humphrey Pearson, with a screenplay by Walter DeLeon and Harlan Thompson. It is the story of a newly rich American couple from the West who win a British gentleman's gentleman in a poker game.

The Girl Habit

The Girl Habit is a 1931 American pre-Code comedy film directed by Edward F. Cline and written by Owen Davis, Clayton Hamilton, Gertrude Purcell and A.E. Thomas. The film stars Charlie Ruggles, Tamara Geva, Margaret Dumont, Allen Jenkins and Donald Meek. The film was released on June 27, 1931, by Paramount Pictures.

The Reform Candidate

The Reform Candidate is a surviving 1915 American drama silent film directed by Frank Lloyd and written by Julia Crawford Ivers. The film stars Macklyn Arbuckle, Forrest Stanley, Myrtle Stedman, Malcolm Blevins, Charlie Ruggles and Mary Ruby. The film was released on December 16, 1915, by Paramount Pictures.

Three Is a Family

Three Is a Family is a 1944 American comedy film directed by Edward Ludwig and starring Marjorie Reynolds, Charlie Ruggles, and Fay Bainter. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Recording (W. V. Wolfe).

Turn Off the Moon

Turn Off the Moon is a 1937 American comedy film directed by Lewis Seiler, written by Mildred Harrington, Marguerite Roberts, Paul Gerard Smith and Harlan Ware, and starring Charlie Ruggles, Eleanore Whitney, Johnny Downs, Kenny Baker, Phil Harris and Ben Blue. It was released on May 14, 1937, by Paramount Pictures.

Wives Never Know

Wives Never Know is a 1936 American black-and-white comedy film directed by Elliott Nugent. Written by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, Edwin Justus Mayer and Keene Thompson, the film stars Charlie Ruggles, Mary Boland, and Adolphe Menjou, and was produced by Adolph Zukor for Paramount Pictures.

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