Olin Howland

Olin Ross Howland (February 10, 1886 September 20, 1959) was an American film and theatre actor.

Olin Howland
Howland in Angel and the Badman (1947)
Born(1886-02-10)February 10, 1886
Denver, Colorado, US
DiedSeptember 20, 1959(1959-09-20) (aged 73)
Hollywood, California, US
Years active19181958
RelativesJobyna Howland (sister)

Life and career

Howland was born in Denver, Colorado, to Joby A. Howland, one of the youngest enlisted participants in the Civil War, and Mary C. Bunting. His older sister was the famous stage actress Jobyna Howland.[1]

From 1909 to 1927, Howland appeared on Broadway in musicals, occasionally performing in silent films. The musicals include Leave It to Jane (1917), Two Little Girls in Blue (1921) and Wildflower (1923). He was in the film Janice Meredith (1924) with Marion Davies. With the advent of sound films, his theatre background proved an asset, and he concentrated mostly on films thereafter, appearing in nearly two hundred movies between 1918 and 1958.

Howland often played eccentric and rural roles in Hollywood. His parts were often small and uncredited, and he never got a leading role. He was a personal favorite of David O. Selznick, who cast him in his movies Nothing Sacred (1937) as a strange luggage man, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938, as the teacher Mr. Dobbins) and Gone with the Wind (1939) as a carpetbagger businessman.[2] He also played in numerous westerns from Republic Pictures, including the John Wayne films In Old California (1942) and Angel and the Badman (1947). As a young man, Howland learned to fly at the Wright Flying School and soloed on a Wright Model B. This lent special sentiment in his scenes with James Stewart in the film The Spirit of St. Louis (1957), as Stewart was also a pilot in real life. The Spirit of St. Louis and Them (1954),where he played a drunken old man, and The Blob (1958) were his last films.

He also played in television shows during the 1950s. One of Olin's memorable television appearances was in an episode of "I Love Lucy." Entitled "First Stop", air date January 17, 1955 Olin played the humorous role of a cafe and motel proprietor offering dubious accommodations to the road-weary Ricardos and Mertzes as they traveled by car en-route from New York to California. In 1958 and 1959, he was cast as Charley Perkins in five episodes of ABC's sitcom The Real McCoys, starring Walter Brennan.

Howland never married and had no children. He worked until his death in Hollywood, California, at the age of 73.

Selected filmography


  1. Olin Howland at Internet Broadway Database
  2. "Olin Howland". NY Times. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
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