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Russell Simpson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (3)

Overview (4)

Born in Danville, California, USA
Died in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameRussell McCaskill Simpson
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

His grim, beady-eyed, sharp-nosed, weatherbeaten face was always familiar despite the small roles he appeared in. Every once in a while character actor Russell Simpson would stand out in a small scene, but his main purpose seemed to be adding rustic authenticity to his westerns or small-town dramas. Born on June 17, 1880 in San Francisco, California, Simpson was involved in the Alaska gold rush as a teenager before settling upon an acting career. A member of a number of touring companies, he eventually made it to Broadway. His silent film debut in The Virginian (1914) was unbilled, but he went on to appear in occasional leads and top support roles in many others, with such roles as Trampas in the remake of The Virginian (1923) and President Andrew Jackson in The Frontiersman (1927) highlighting his silent era. Simpson's parts grew smaller with the advent of sound and his gents grew increasingly grizzled, stubborn and cranky. In the late 1930s he became a stock player in director John Ford's company of actors, which culminated in one of his finest roles as Pa Joad in the classic The Grapes of Wrath (1940). He appeared in other Ford pictures, including Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), Tobacco Road (1941), They Were Expendable (1945), My Darling Clementine (1946) and The Sun Shines Bright (1953). He would continue acting to the very end, making his last film (naturally) for Ford: The Horse Soldiers (1959). Appearing in hundreds of films over a span of four decades, he graced TV westerns as well with roles on The Lone Ranger (1949) and Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (1951) to his credit. His more than 40-year marriage to Gertrude Aller produced a daughter, Roberta. Simpson passed away on December 12, 1959 of natural causes in Woodland Hills, California at the age of 79.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Gertrude Aller (1910 - 12 December 1959) ( his death) ( 1 child)

Trivia (3)

Daughter: Roberta Hope (c. 1918)
Erroneously reported in some sources to be the brother of stuntman Barlow Simpson, but U.S. Census records clearly indicate different parents and no readily apparent relationship.
With eight Technicolor films through 1939, it was thought he held the record for work in early Technicolor. They are: Ramona (1936), Gold is Where You Find It (1938), Sons of the Plains [short] (1938), Valley of the Giants (1938), Heart of the North (1938), Dodge City (1939), The Bill of Rights [short] (1939) and Drums Along the Mohawk (1939). However, checking the IMDb's own list reveals that Jack Mower has appeared in far more, with a total of fourteen up to the end of 1939.

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