frank_mchugh.jpg 51.45KB 0 downloadsFrank McHugh
“I never act in movies.” Frank McHugh once modestly said. “All I ever do in a picture is to be myself and let the cameras grind on.” Moviegoers who always looked forward to a irrepressible Frank McHugh performance would beg to differ.
Born in Homestead, PA, into a theatrical family, Frank McHugh made his stage debut at the age of 6 as a member of the McHugh Stock Company which was run by his parents, Catherine and Edward. He performed in stock productions and on the Broadway and London stages until he landed in Hollywood in 1930 where he quickly became one of Warner Brothers most reliable supporting players. Often playing alongside James Cagney and Pat O’Brien, fellow members of the “Irish Mafia,” McHugh appeared in 114 films during his long career including: “The Front Page,” “Four Daughters,” “Going My Way,” Lilly Turner,” “Footlight Parade” and “The Last Hurrah.” In an interesting bit of Hollywood trivia, Frank McHugh also appeared as the same character in both “One Way Passage” and its remake (made 8 years later) “Til We Meet Again”
During World War II Frank McHugh was a member of the Hollywood Victory Caravan in which 21 stars travelled across the county by train raising money for the Army & Navy Relief Fund. He also designed and starred in “McHugh’s Revue” which toured France, Holland, Belgium and Germany, entertaining American troops abroad. McHugh’s USO tour won him an Army citation for “exceptionally meritorious service while working as a member of an entertainment unit.” Major General Raymond McLain wrote Frank McHugh: “Your show was sparkling and left a refreshing atmosphere in the spirit of many battle weary soldiers.” After leaving Hollywood, Frank McHugh returned to the Broadway stage to star in a revival of “Finian’s Rainbow.” In his review in the New York Times, Walter Kerr wrote: “Mr. McHugh’s very face is a walking wink.”
Frank McHugh continued working, principally in television, until 1969. He died at the age of 83 in 1981.
Monday: A Salute to Jane Darwell.