Born in St. Paul,
Minnesota on February 27, 1892, William Demarest was a veteran of World
War I. After work as a professional prize fighter as well as a performer
in carnivals and vaudeville, he began his motion picture career in
1927. It was also in that year that he appeared with Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer, the first all-talking motion picture. Years later (1946) William Demarest had a major role in The Jolson Story, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination.
In the course of his long movie career, Demarest played in close to 150 films. Roles often included policemen, criminals, newspaper reporters, and politicians. His best known films included: Charlie Chan at the Opera in 1937, The Perils of Pauline in 1947, and What Price Glory in 1952, and It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World in 1963.
The 1960's and '70's saw Demarest star in one of the most memorable roles of his career - Uncle Charley O'Casey on the My Three Sons television series (1965-1972). William Demarest died on December 28, 1983 at age 91.
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Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database.