Osgood Perkins

James Ripley Osgood Perkins (May 16, 1892 – September 21, 1937) was an American actor.

Osgood Perkins
Osgood Perkins as Walter Burns in
The Front Page (1928)
James Ripley Osgood Perkins

(1892-05-16)May 16, 1892
DiedSeptember 21, 1937(1937-09-21) (aged 45)
Years active1922–1937
Spouse(s)Janet Esselstyn Rane (m. 1922–1937) (1894-1979)
ChildrenAnthony Perkins
RelativesOz Perkins (grandson)
Elvis Perkins (grandson)

Life and career

James Ripley Osgood Perkins was born in West Newton, Massachusetts, son of Henry Phelps Perkins Jr., and his wife, Helen Virginia (née Anthony).[1] His maternal grandfather was wood engraver Andrew Varick Stout Anthony.[2] He was a descendant of Mayflower passenger John Howland and a graduate of Harvard College.[3]

Perkins made his Broadway debut in 1924 in the George S. KaufmanMarc Connelly play Beggar on Horseback. In the next 12 years, he would appear in 24 Broadway productions, including The Front Page and Uncle Vanya.

Despite his success as a leading man in the theatre, Hollywood viewed him as a character actor. He appeared in 12 silent films, including Puritan Passions, before moving to talkies such as Scarface and Gold Diggers of 1937.

"The best actor I ever worked with was Osgood Perkins," Louise Brooks told Kevin Brownlow. "You know what makes an actor great to work with? Timing. You don't have to feel anything. It's like dancing with a perfect dancing partner. Osgood Perkins would give you a line so that you would react perfectly. It was timing -- because emotion means nothing." Brooks and Perkins appeared together in Love 'Em and Leave 'Em (1926).

Perkins married Janet Esselstyn Rane in 1922. They had one child, actor Anthony Perkins. Osgood died of a heart attack in Washington, D.C., at age 45. His son was five years old at the time.

Osgood Perkins was inducted, posthumously, into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1922The Cradle BusterCrack 'Spoony'
1923Puritan PassionsDr. Nicholas
1924GritBoris Giovanni Smith
1925Wild, Wild SusanM. Crawford Dutton
1926Love 'Em and Leave 'EmLem Woodruff
1927High HatThe Assistant Director
1927Knockout ReillySpider Cross
1929Mother's BoyJake Sturmberg
1931Tarnished LadyBen Sterner
1932ScarfaceJohnny Lovo
1934Madame DuBarryDuc de Richelieu
1934Kansas City PrincessMarcel Duryea - French Private Eye
1934The President VanishesHarris Brownell
1934Secret of the ChateauMartin
1935I Dream Too MuchPaul Darcy
1936Gold Diggers of 1937Morty Wethered
1937A Star Is BornOttoUncredited, (final film role)


  1. Winecoff, Charles (2009). Split File: The Life of Anthony Perkins. Diane Pub Co. p. 10. ISBN 078819870X.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2016-11-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Monahan, Kaspar (October 9, 1932). "The Show Shops". The Pittsburgh Press. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. p. 31. Retrieved November 9, 2018 via Newspapers.com.
  4. "26 Elected to the Theater Hall of Fame." The New York Times, March 3, 1981.
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