Frank Albertson

Francis Healey Albertson (February 2, 1909 February 29, 1964) was an American actor who made his debut in a minor part in Hollywood at age 13. He had supporting roles in films such as It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Psycho (1960).

Frank Albertson
Still with Albertson (left) from The Brat (1931)
Francis Healey Albertson

(1909-02-02)February 2, 1909
DiedFebruary 29, 1964(1964-02-29) (aged 55)
Years active1923–1964
Virginia Shelley
(m. 1931; div. 1943)

Grace Gillern
(m. 1943; his death 1964)

Early years

Albertson was a native of Fergus Falls, Minnesota,[1] the first child of Frank B. and Mary (née Healey) Albertson. He spent his childhood first in nearby Frazee,[2] and later in Puyallup, Washington.[3] As a young man in Los Angeles, he worked as a laboratory assistant in a photographic shop, which resulted in contacts leading to his acting career.[4]


Albertson made well over 100 appearances (19231964) in movies and television. In his early career he often sang and danced in such films as Just Imagine (1930) and A Connecticut Yankee (1931). He was featured in Alice Adams (1935) as the title character's brother, and in Room Service (1938) he played opposite the Marx Brothers. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces' First Motion Picture Unit making training films during World War II. As he aged. he moved from featured roles to supporting and character partsin his later career he can be seen as Sam Wainwright, the businessman fond of saying "Hee-Haw" in the movie It's a Wonderful Life (1946).

Albertson portrayed future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in the 1956 episode "Rough Rider" of the television series My Friend Flicka. He guest-starred in the western series The Californians and twice in the crime drama Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

He was cast in 1959 and 1962 in different roles on Walter Brennan's sitcom The Real McCoys. In 1960, he appeared as General Devery in the episode "Strange Encounter" of the series Colt .45.

In 1960 Albertson appeared as Johnny Kent on Cheyenne in the episode titled "The Long Rope." In 1960, he played the wealthy rancher Tom Cassidy at the beginning of Psycho (1960) who provides the $40,000 in cash that Janet Leigh's character later steals. In the 1960-61 television season, he played the character Mr. Cooper in five episodes of the sitcom Bringing Up Buddy, starring Frank Aletter. In 1962 he appeared as Henry Bildy on the TV western Lawman in the episode titled "Heritage of Hate."

In 1964, Albertson was cast as Jim O'Neal in the episode "The Death of a Teacher" of drama Mr. Novak. One of his latter screen appearances was as Sam, the bewildered mayor of Sweet Apple, Ohio in the 1963 film musical Bye Bye Birdie.

His last appearance was on The Andy Griffith Show, in which he played a Marine commander completing an inspection. The episode aired on May 19, 1964, three months after Albertson died.


Albertson died in his sleep at his home in Santa Monica, California on February 29, 1964, aged 55. The cause of death was an apparent heart attack. He had five children[note 1][5] from his two marriages.[4] He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California.[6]


For his contributions to the film industry, Albertson received a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6754 Hollywood Boulevard. The star was dedicated on February 8, 1960.[7]



  1. Albertson's obituary in The New York Times lists four children ("two sons, Frank Jr. and Tony, and two daughters, Mrs. Gretchen Olberg and Juliet A1bertson") as survivors, along with his wife.


  1. Mayer, Geoff (2017). Encyclopedia of American Film Serials. McFarland. ISBN 9781476627199. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  2. 1910 United States Census; Census Place: Frazee, Becker, Minnesota; Roll: T624_689; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 728; FHL Number: 1374702.
  3. 1920 United States Census;Census Place: Puyallup, Pierce, Washington; Roll: T625_1937; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 226; Image: 1048.
  4. Pasadena Star-News, March 3, 1964, p. 16
  5. "Frank Albertson Is Dead at 55". The New York Times. March 4, 1964. Archived from the original on 29 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  6. Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 158. ISBN 9780786409839. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  7. "Frank Albertson". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on 29 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
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