Charles Wagenheim

1896 - 1979

Initially drawn to an acting career to counterbalance an acute case of shyness, diminutive character actor Charles Wagenheim's career comprised hundreds upon hundreds of minor but atmospheric parts on stage, film and TV. Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1896, he was the son of immigrant parents. Enlisting in the military during World War I, he was compensated for an education by the government and chose to study dramatics at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, graduating in 1923.After touring with a Shakespearean company, he appeared in a host of Broadway plays, several of them written, directed and/or produced by the prolific George Abbott, including "A Holy Terror" (1925), "Four Walls" (1927) and "Ringside" (1928). Following a stage part in "Schoolhouse on the Lot" (1938), the mustachioed Wagenheim turned to Hollywood for work. His dark, graveside manner, baggy-eyed scowl and lowlife countenance proved ideal for a number of genres, particularly crime thrillers and wester

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