John Qualen, born John Oleson, actor (born at Vancouver 8 Dec 1899; died at Torrance, Ca 12 Sep 1987). John Qualen was born to Norwegian immigrant parents and brought up in Vancouver and rural Illinois. He attended Northwestern University and began acting in tent shows and stock productions, to the dismay of his strict minister father. He made his Broadway debut in Street Scene in 1929, and moved to Hollywood to reprise his role in the film version, released in 1933. Of slight build and with a high-pitched voice, he performed in a variety of comic or character roles, often with an accent, as a well-meaning patsy in more than 100 films and hundreds of television appearances.
John Qualen played the father of the DIONNE QUINTUPLETS in Five of a Kind (1939) and the Norwegian conspirator in Casablanca (1943). He was part of director John Ford's informal stock company of actors, appearing memorably as the half-crazed Muley Graves in the classic The Grapes of Wrath (1940). His Ford films are Arrowsmith (1931; uncredited), The Long Voyage Home (1940), The Searchers (1956), Two Rode Together (1961), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and Cheyenne Autumn (1964; also uncredited). Other notable film appearances include Nothing Sacred (1937), His Girl Friday (1940), Arabian Nights (1942; as Aladdin), Jungle Book (1942), Hans Christian Andersen (1952), The High and the Mighty (1954) and Anatomy of a Murder (1959).
He also appeared in, among many others, the popular television series Mr Ed, Green Acres, The Partridge Family and The Odd Couple.