Jack Carson

Jack Carson, born John Elmer Carson, actor (b at Carman, Man 27 Oct 1910; d at Encino, Ca 2 Jan 1963). Jack Carson's family moved across the border to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when he was a child.

Jack Carson

Jack Carson, born John Elmer Carson, actor (b at Carman, Man 27 Oct 1910; d at Encino, Ca 2 Jan 1963). Jack Carson's family moved across the border to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when he was a child. He attended high school there, and it was while he was at Carleton College in Minnesota that he developed a taste for acting. He entered vaudeville as part of a comedy duo with a college friend, which led to Hollywood and bit parts with the RKO studio. This in turn led to an appearance on the Bing Crosby Kraft Music Hall radio program, and in 1943 Jack Carson had his own radio show.

His success in radio enabled him to join Warner Bros.' stock company of supporting players. A versatile character actor with a hefty build, his onscreen roles ranged from comic buffoons to cowardly bullies and callous heels. The apparent simplemindedness of many of the characters he played, however, concealed a good deal of intelligence, subtlety and skill in his performances. In the late 1940s he teamed with Dennis Morgan in a series of light Doris Day musicals - Romance on the High Seas (1948), My Dream Is Yours and It's a Great Feeling (both in 1949) - but he is perhaps best remembered for his performances as the perpetually scheming Wally Fay in Mildred Pierce (1945) opposite Joan Crawford; as Matt Libby, the studio press flak in Judy Garland's excellent version of A Star Is Born (1954); and as Paul Newman's older brother in the 1958 production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor.

In the early 1950s Carson hosted All Star Revue, a comedy/variety program for NBC, and The U.S. Royal Showcase, again for NBC. Jack Carson's other films include Stage Door (1937), You Only Live Once (1937), Bringing up Baby (1938), Destry Rides Again (1939), Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Strawberry Blonde (1941), Gentleman Jim (1942), The Male Animal (1942), The Hard Way (1943), Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Hollywood Canteen (1944; as himself), Shine on Harvest Moon (1944), April Showers (1948), The Good Humor Man (1950), Dangerous When Wet (1953), Ain't Misbehavin' (1955), Rally Round the Flag, Boys! (1958), The Bramble Bush (1960) and King of the Roaring 20s (1961).