Walter Catlett

Walter Catlett (February 4, 1889 – November 14, 1960), born Walter Leland Catlett, was an American actor. He made a career of playing excitable, meddlesome, temperamental, and officious blowhards.

Walter Catlett
Born(1889-02-04)February 4, 1889
DiedNovember 14, 1960(1960-11-14) (aged 71)
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City
Years active1906–1957
Spouse(s)Ruth Verney
Zanetta Watrous


Catlett was born in San Francisco, California. He started out in vaudeville, teaming up with Hobart Cavanaugh at some point,[1] with a detour for a while in opera, before breaking into acting.

He started on stage in 1906 and made his Broadway debut in either The Prince of Pilsen (1911)[2] or So Long Letty (1916).[3]

His first film appearance was in 1912, but then he went back to stage and did not return to films until 1929. He performed in operettas and musicals, including The Ziegfeld Follies of 1917, the original production of the Jerome Kern musical Sally (1920) and the Gershwins' Lady Be Good (1924). In the last, he introduced the song "Oh, Lady Be Good!"[2]

Catlett made a handful of silent film appearances, but his film career did not catch on until the advent of talking pictures allowed moviegoers to experience his full comic repertoire. Three of his most remembered roles were as the theatre manager driven to distraction by James Cagney's character in Yankee Doodle Dandy, the local constable who throws the entire cast in jail and winds up there himself in the Howard Hawks' classic screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, and as Morrow, the drunken poet in the restaurant who "knows when [he's] been a skunk" and takes Longfellow Deeds on a "bender" in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. The New York Times film critic Mordaunt Hall wrote that "This clever comedian runs away with the acting laurels" in Big City Blues (1932).[4]

He played John Barsad in the 1935 David O. Selznick production of A Tale of Two Cities, starring Ronald Colman. He also provided the uncredited voice of J. Worthington Foulfellow (a.k.a. Honest John) the Fox, the main villain in the 1940 Disney animated film Pinocchio. In the 1950s, he appeared in films like Here Comes the Groom, Friendly Persuasion, and Beau James, as well as Disney's TV series Davy Crockett.

For his contributions to the film industry, Catlett was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960 with a motion pictures star located at 1713 Vine Street.[5][6]


Walter Catlett died of a stroke on November 14, 1960 in Woodland Hills, California.



  1. "Hobart Cavanaugh, Noted Film, Stage Actor, Dead at 63". Miami Daily News-Record. Associated Press. April 26, 1950 via
  2. Cullen, Frank; Hackman, Florence; McNeilly, Donald (October 16, 2006). Vaudeville, Old and New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America. Psychology Press. pp. 207–208. ISBN 9780415938532. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  3. Walter Catlett at the Internet Broadway Database
  4. Hall, Mordaunt. "Big City Blues (1932)/Walter Catlett Affords Good Fun in "Big City Blues", the New Film at the Winter Garden". The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  5. "Hollywood Walk of Fame - Walter Catlett". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on May 15, 2017. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  6. "Walter Catlett". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
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