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Henry Hull

Henry Hull
Hull in 1923
Henry Watterson Hull

(1890-10-03)October 3, 1890
DiedMarch 8, 1977(1977-03-08) (aged 86)
Cornwall, England, UK.
Years active1910–1966
Juliet van Wyck Fremont
(m. 1913; died 1971)
From the original Broadway production of Grand Hotel, L-R: Henry Hull, William Nunn, Eugenie Leontovich, Lester Alden, and Rafaela Ottiano (1930).
From the original Broadway production of Grand Hotel, L-R: Henry Hull, William Nunn, Eugenie Leontovich, Lester Alden, and Rafaela Ottiano (1930).

Henry Watterson Hull (October 3, 1890 – March 8, 1977) was an American character actor perhaps best known for playing the lead in Universal Pictures's Werewolf of London (1935).[1] For most of his career, he was a lead actor on stage and a character actor on screen.[2]

Early years

Hull was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the youngest of four children born to William Madison Hull, a theater manager[3] and his wife, Elinor Bond Vaughn.[4] He was named for his godfather, Pulitzer Prize-winning Louisville journalist Henry Watterson.

William Hull had been a drama critic in Louisville,[1] and became a press agent for David Belasco after the family moved to New York City in 1902. Hull attended DeWitt Clinton High School and the High School of Commerce. Hull studied engineering at Columbia and was graduated from Cooper Union.[3] In 1910, the family settled in Barkhamsted, Connecticut.



Impressed by his brother Shelly's acting career, in 1912, Henry joined the Greek Repertory Company run by his sister-in-law, Margaret Anglin, who was married to his brother Howard. Anglin's touring company specialized in productions of Greek tragedies. In 1913, he returned to New York City to appear on Broadway in John Frederick Ballard's Believe Me, Xantippe with John Barrymore.[5]

Early in his career, Hull appeared frequently on Broadway. In 1916, Hull and his wife, Juliet Fremont, appeared in The Man Who Came Back at the Playhouse Theatre. The play was very successful and ran for more than a year.[6] In 1919, he was at the Broadhurst Theatre in 39 East with Tallulah Bankhead.[7]

Hull created the role of Jeeter Lester in the long-running play Tobacco Road (1933), based on the novel by Erskine Caldwell.[1] In 1956, Hull toured in a one-man show, doing readings from the works of Mark Twain. Hull had met Twain in Louisville when visiting Henry Watterson.[5]


Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944) with Hume Cronyn, Hull, Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Mary Anderson, and Canada Lee
Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944) with Hume Cronyn, Hull, Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Mary Anderson, and Canada Lee

Hull appeared in 74 films between 1917 and 1966, often playing supporting characters such as the uncle of Tyrone Power's love interest Nancy Kelly in Jesse James (1939). He appeared as Charles Rittenhouse, a wealthy industrialist in Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944). Some of his other notable roles were as Abel Magwitch in the 1934 version of Great Expectations and in the last film of director Tod Browning, Miracles for Sale (1939). He starred in Werewolf of London in 1935.[citation needed]

Henry Hull played the role of aging architect Henry Cameron (the mentor to Howard Roark) in The Fountainhead. Hull memorably portrayed a doctor to whom Humphrey Bogart goes for help in High Sierra, and was also cast in Colorado Territory, a Western remake of the High Sierra story starring Joel McCrea. He played a desert prospector who comes to Robert Ryan's rescue in Inferno in 1953.

He guest-starred on CBS's Appointment with Adventure, John Payne's NBC Western series titled The Restless Gun, and the syndicated crime drama U.S. Marshal. In 1958, he was featured in Robert Culp's Western series, Trackdown as Moss in the episode "Three Legged Fox". In 1959, he played the part of Obadiah on Wagon Train, season two, episode 14, "The Kitty Angel Story".

In 1960, Hull appeared on Bonanza twice, in the episode "The Gunmen" as Sheriff B. Banneman, and a scout for General John Charles Fremont (who, in real life, was the grandfather of Hull's wife) in the episode "The Mission".[3]

On December 13, 1960, Hull guest-starred on NBC's Laramie as an embittered rancher, Ben Parkinson, who challenges Slim Sherman, played by series star John Smith, to a duel after Parkinson's youngest son accidentally kills himself on Sherman ranch land. Ron Harper portrays Parkinson's other son, Tom.[citation needed]

Hull also guest-starred in the series finale of Laramie, the episode "The Road to Helena" (May 21, 1963). Series character Slim Sherman, while in Cody, Wyoming, is hired by David Franklin, played by Hull, and his barmaid daughter, Ruth, portrayed by Maggie Pierce, to guide the pair to Helena, Montana, so Franklin can return money that he had previously stolen. John M. Pickard also appears in this episode.[citation needed]

Hull's last film was The Chase (1966) with Marlon Brando and Robert Redford.[2]


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Hull was married to Juliet Van Wyck Fremont from 1913 until her death in 1971. She was a granddaughter of Civil War general and explorer John C. Frémont and Jessie Ann Benton, the daughter of Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton. The couple had three children, Henry Jr., Shelley, (named after Henry's late brother) and Joan. When his wife died in 1971, Hull went to Britain to spend his last years with his daughter. He died in Cornwall at his daughter's residence on March 8, 1977.[2]

Hull had two brothers who were also actors. Howard, the eldest, was married, until his death in 1937, to stage star Margaret Anglin.[citation needed] Henry Hull was quoted as saying he owed all his dramatic training to Anglin, with whom he had acted on stage.[8] The middle brother, Shelley Hull, was a popular leading man who costarred in Why Marry?, the first play to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He fell ill during the run of his biggest hit – the WWI play Under Orders – and died of influenza at 34 on January 14, 1919, during the Spanish influenza epidemic. Shelley's widow, Josephine Hull (1877–1957), was a successful stage performer throughout her long life and became an Oscar-winning character actress.

Henry Hull family tree
Thomas Hart Benton, U.S. Senator ("Old Bullion")
Elizabeth Preston Benton
Maj. Gen. John Charles Frémont, "The Pathfinder"
Jessie Ann Frémont
John Charles Frémont, Jr.
Sarah Frémont (Anderson)
c. 1856-1946
William Madison Hull
Elinor Bond Hull (Vaughn)
Juliet Van Wyck Hull (Frémont)
Henry Hull
Howard Hull
Margaret Anglin
Shelley Hull
Josephine Hull
Henry Jr.ShelleyJoan


Year Title Role Director Notes
1917 A Square Deal Mark Dunbar Harley Knoles
1917 The Family Honor Anthony Wayne Emile Chautard
1917 Rasputin, the Black Monk Kerersky Arthur Ashley
1917 The Volunteer Jonathan Mendenhall Harley Knoles
1918 Little Women John Brooke Harley Knoles
1922 One Exciting Night John Fairfax D. W. Griffith
1923 The Last Moment Hercules Napolean Cameron J. Parker Read Jr.
1923 A Bride for a Knight Jimmy Poe
1924 Roulette Jimmy Moore Stanner E.V. Taylor
1924 The Hoosier Schoolmaster Ralph Hartsook Oliver L. Sellers
1924 For Woman's Favor The Fool / The Lover O. A. C. Lund
1925 Wasted Lives John Gorman
1925 The Wrongdoers Hugh Dierker
1934 Midnight Nolan Chester Erskine
1934 Great Expectations Abel Magwitch Stuart Walker
1935 Transient Lady Sen. Hamp Baxter Edward Buzzell
1935 Werewolf of London Dr. Glendon Stuart Walker
1938 Paradise for Three Sepp Edward Buzzell
1938 Yellow Jack Dr. Jesse Lazear George B. Seitz
1938 Three Comrades Dr. Becker Frank Borzage
1938 Port of Seven Seas Uncle Elzear James Whale Uncredited
1938 Boys Town Dave Morris Norman Taurog
1938 The Great Waltz Franz Josef Josef von Sternberg (uncredited)
1939 Jesse James Major Rufus Cobb Henry King
1939 The Spirit of Culver Doc Allen Joseph Santley
1939 Return of the Cisco Kid Colonel Joshua Bixby Herbert I. Leeds
1939 Stanley and Livingstone James Gordon Otto Brower (safari sequences)
1939 Miracles for Sale Dave Duvallo Tod Browning
1939 Babes in Arms Madox
1939 Bad Little Angel Red Wilks Wilhelm Thiele
1939 Nick Carter, Master Detective John A. Keller Jacques Tourneur
1939 Judge Hardy and Son Dr. Jones George B. Seitz
1940 My Son, My Son! Dermot O'Riordan Charles Vidor
1940 The Return of Frank James Major Rufus Cobb Fritz Lang
1941 High Sierra Doc Banton Raoul Walsh
1943 The West Side Kid Sam Winston George Sherman
1943 Seeds of Freedom Guerilla Leader
1943 The Woman of the Town Inky Wilkenson George Archainbaud
1944 Lifeboat Charles J. Rittenhouse Alfred Hitchcock
1944 Goodnight Sweetheart Jeff Parker Joseph Santley
1945 Objective, Burma! Mark Williams Raoul Walsh
1947 High Barbaree Dr. William G. Brooke Jack Conway
1947 Deep Valley Cliff Saul Jean Negulesco
1947 Mourning Becomes Electra Seth Beckwick Dudley Nichols
1948 On Our Merry Way Dying Man King Vidor Uncredited; deleted sequence
1948 Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! Milt Dominy F. Hugh Herbert
1948 The Walls of Jericho Jefferson Norman John M. Stahl
1948 Belle Starr's Daughter Old Marshall Lesley Selander Uncredited
1948 Fighter Squadron Brig. Gen. Mike McCready Raoul Walsh
1948 Portrait of Jennie Eke William Dieterle
1949 El Paso Judge Henry Jeffers Lewis R. Foster
1949 Rimfire Nathaniel Greeley B. Reeves Eason
1949 Colorado Territory Fred Winslow Raoul Walsh
1949 The Fountainhead Henry Cameron King Vidor
1949 The Great Gatsby Dan Cody Elliott Nugent
1949 The Great Dan Patch Dan Palmer Joseph M. Newman
1949 Song of Surrender Deacon Parry Mitchell Leisen
1950 The Return of Jesse James Hank Younger Arthur Hilton(as Arthur David Hilton)
1951 Hollywood Story Vincent St. Clair William Castle
1952 The Treasure of Lost Canyon Cousin Lucas Cooke Ted Tetzlaff
1953 The Last Posse Ollie Stokley Alfred L. Werker
1953 Inferno Sam Elby Roy Ward Baker
1953 Thunder Over the Plains Lt. Col. Chandler Andre DeToth
1955 Kentucky Rifle Preacher Bently Carl K. Hittleman
1955 Man with the Gun Marshal Lee Sims Richard Wilson
1957 The Buckskin Lady Doc Morley Carl K. Hittleman
1958 The Proud Rebel Judge Morley Michael Curtiz
1958 The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw Masters Raoul Walsh
1958 The Buccaneer Ezra Peavey Anthony Quinn
1959 The Restless Gun Old Jesse Episode "The Last Gray Man"
1959 The Restless Gun Doc Kemmer Episode "Dead Man's Hand"
1959 The Restless Gun Matt Harper Episode "One on the House"
1959 The Oregon Trail George Seton Gene Fowler Jr.
1961 Master of the World Prudent William Witney
1965 The Fool Killer Dirty Jim Jelliman Servando González
1966 The Chase Briggs Arthur Penn (final film role)


  1. ^ a b c "Henry Hull", Turner Classic Movies
  2. ^ a b c "Henry Hull, 87, Star of Stage and Screen", The New York Times, March 9, 1977
  3. ^ a b c Curland, Richard (January 16, 2016). "HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Character actor Henry Hull had long, successful career". The Bulletin. Gannett News Service. Archived from the original on August 18, 2020. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  4. ^ Daniel Blum (c. 1952). "Profile #110". GREAT STARS OF THE AMERICAN STAGE.
  5. ^ a b Dennis, Ken. "Henry Hull: That Wonderful slice of ham", Films of the Golden Age, No.87, Winter 2016/17
  6. ^ "The Man Who Came Back", IBDB
  7. ^ "Henry Hull", IBDB
  8. ^ Parsons, Louella (December 31, 1922). "In And Out of Focus: "The Boy is Grown Up"". New York: The Morning Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
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Henry Hull
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