Philip Ober

Philip Nott Ober (March 23, 1902 – September 13, 1982) was an American screen and stage actor. He later retired from acting to work as a diplomat.

Philip Ober
Ober in 1950
Philip Nott Ober

(1902-03-23)March 23, 1902
DiedSeptember 13, 1982(1982-09-13) (aged 80)
Resting placeChapel of the Pines Crematory
EducationPrinceton University
Years active1931–1968
Phyllis Roper
(m. 1923; div. 1941)

Vivian Vance
(m. 1941; div. 1959)

Jane Westover
(m. 1961; his death 1982)

Ober is best remembered for his roles in the films From Here to Eternity (1953) and North by Northwest (1959). His other notable credits include The Magnificent Yankee (1950), Broken Lance (1954), Torpedo Run (1958) and The Ugly American (1963).

Early years

The son of Frank Ober, he was raised in White Plains, New York. After attending a preparatory school and Princeton University, he worked in advertising before moving into acting.[1]

Acting career

Ober often appeared in roles as a straight man in farcical circumstances. He made his debut on stage, playing Tom Faulkner in Technique in 1931.[2] He appeared in Lawrence Riley's Broadway show Personal Appearance (1934) opposite Gladys George.

Ober's film debut came in Chloe, Love Is Calling You (1934).[1]

From 1954 to 1967, he frequently appeared in television series. He played a general determined to find the truth of an alleged desertion and an Indian attack on a fort in the episode "The Vultures" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Sugarfoot.[3]

Ober was twice cast on I Love Lucy, first playing "Arnold" in "The Quiz Show", and later portraying the Hollywood producer Dore Schary when Schary decided not to play himself in the episode. He made five appearances on Perry Mason, including that of defendant Peter Dawson in the 1960 episode, "The Case of the Treacherous Toupee", and the dual role of murder victim Sumner Hodge and his brother Adrian Hodge in the 1964 episode, "The Case of the Tandem Target". He also appeared in one episode of The Twilight Zone ("Spur of the Moment"), co-starring Diana Hyland, and made four guest appearances in the comedy series Hazel. He had a recurring role as Gen. Wingard Stone in the early episodes of NBC situation comedy I Dream of Jeannie, and appeared in two episodes of McHale's Navy as tough-as-nails Admiral "Iron Pants" Rafferty and on one episode of The Munsters in 1965.

Ober continued to work as an actor in films. He played the UN ambassador in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959) whom Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) meets, to clarify who had occupied his mansion. He also played Capt. Dana "Dynamite" Holmes, the neglectful, unsympathetic husband of Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr), in the film version of From Here to Eternity (1953).

Post-acting career

He retired from acting and went into the U.S. diplomatic service,[4] and died while working at the U.S. consulate in Mexico City.

Personal life

On August 12, 1941, Ober married actress Vivian Vance.[5] They divorced in 1959.

Before his marriage to Vance, Ober was married to the former Phyllis Roper.[6]


Ober died of a heart attack in 1982. (An Associated Press article said that Ober died of lung cancer. The information was attributed to a spokeswoman for Santa Monica Hospital.)[4]



  1. Edelman, Rob; Kupferberg, Audrey (2013). Meet the Mertzes: The Life Stories of I Love Lucy's Other Couple. St. Martin's Press. p. 108. ISBN 9781466850460. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  2. Philip Ober at the Internet Broadway Database
  3. ""The Vultures" (April 26, 1959)". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  4. "Philip Ober, diplomat and actor, dies". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. Associated Press. September 23, 1982. p. 13. Retrieved April 8, 2017 via
  5. Monush, Barry; Sheridan, James (2011). Lucille Ball FAQ: Everything Left to Know About America's Favorite Redhead. Applause Theatre & Cinema. ISBN 9781557839336. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  6. Karol, Michael (2004). Lucy A to Z: The Lucille Ball Encyclopedia. iUniverse. p. 390. ISBN 9780595752133. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
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