Joe Sawyer

1906 - 1982

Joe Sawyer's familiar mug appeared everywhere during the 1930s and 1940s, particularly as a stock player for Warner Bros. in its more standard college musicals, comedies and crime yarns. He could play both sides of the fence, street cops and mob gunmen, with equal ease. He was born Joseph Sauers in Guelph, Canada, on August 29, 1906, and eventually moved to California to pursue a film career. Trained at the Pasadena Playhouse, he had a perfect "tough guy" look: sturdy build, jutting chin and beady eyes, made more distinctive by his shock of light hair and a slightly high-pitched voice. Sawyer made his film debut in 1931 under his real name, which, contrary to popular opinion, was German and not Irish, though he made a career out of playing Irishmen, and appeared mostly in strongarm bit parts in his early career until hitting his stride playing a variety of coaches, cops and sidekicks with imposing names like "Spud," "Slug" and "Whitey." He appeared in hundreds of films, in just about e

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