William Janney

William Janney (born Russell Dixon Janney, February 15, 1908 – December 22, 1992) was an American actor who appeared in 39 films between 1929 and 1937.

William Janney
Janney as shown in the November 26, 1938, issue of Radio Guide
Born(1908-02-15)February 15, 1908
DiedDecember 22, 1992(1992-12-22) (aged 84)
Idaho, USA
OccupationFilm and stage actor
Years active1922-1937
Spouse(s)Madlyn Hobbs (1940 -1968) (her death)
Venice Daniels (1970-1989) (her death)

He was the son of author and theatrical producer Russell Janney,[1][2] and he attended the School for Professional Children.[3]

Janney debuted on Broadway in Merton of the Movies (1922). His other Broadway credits include Great Music (1924) Four O'Clock (1933), Take My Tip (1932), Tommy (1927), and Bridge of Distances (1925).[4]

His biggest regret was not taking the role in Tol'able David (1930) after Columbia boss Harry Cohn offered it to him. His mother urged him to let Richard Cromwell have it. "She told me there was this old woman friend of hers whose son had always wanted to play the part. She said I didn't want to play it anyway. To this day, I don't understand her... This really spoiled the whole thing for me, because I might have been offered a contract with Columbia. As it turned out, I never did get a contract, and Harry Cohn never offered me anything else." [5]

Complete filmography


  1. (2 March 1930). Actors' Children Emulate Parents, Pittsburgh Press
  2. Hennessy, Duane (March 16, 1930). "Hollywood's Film Shop". The Pittsburgh Press. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. United Press. p. 79. Retrieved March 14, 2018 via Newspapers.com.
  3. "William Janney". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  4. Ankerich, Michael G. The Sound of Silence: Conversations with 16 Film and Stage Personalities. McFarland and Company Inc., Publishers: Jefferson, NC, 1998. p. 129.
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