Howard St. John

Howard St. John (October 9, 1905 – March 13, 1974) was a Chicago-born character actor who specialized in unsympathetic roles. His work spanned Broadway, film and television. He is probably best remembered for his bombastic General Bullmoose, which he played in the stage and screen versions of the 1956 musical Li'l Abner.[1]

Howard St. John
St. John in 711 Ocean Drive (1950 film)
Born(1905-10-09)October 9, 1905
DiedMarch 13, 1974(1974-03-13) (aged 68)
Years active1926–1972
Lois Bolton
(m. 1939; his death 1974)

On stage

Howard St. John made his Broadway debut in 1926 in the comedy The Blonde Sinner, and subsequently starred or co-starred in more than 20 Broadway productions including Someone Waiting and The Highest Tree.

St. John's most high-profile role was that of General Bullmoose in the hit musical Li'l Abner. As Bullmoose he introduced the song "Progress is the Root of All Evil." His final Broadway role came in 1968's Tiger at the Gates.

In film

St. John began film work in the early 1930s and made an impression in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train in 1951.[2] He continued in stuffy, rigid or authoritarian roles for most of his career, including memorable ones in The Tender Trap and Born Yesterday. He also re-created his stage role in the film version of Li'l Abner.


St. John died of a heart attack in New York City at age 68 in 1974 and was survived by his widow.[3]

Partial filmography


  1. Hischak, Thomas (2008). The Oxford Companion to the American Musical p. 437. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-1953-3533-0.
  2. "'Strangers on a Train'". The Hollywood Reporter. June 30, 1951. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  3. "Howard St. John, Stage, Film Actor". The New York Times. March 17, 1974. Retrieved September 7, 2018.

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