EDWARD EVERETT HORTON, American actor was born on this date (d. 1970); There’s no way to think of the comedies of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s without recollecting this lanky, bushy-browed Nervous Nellie. Of all the sissified comedians of the past, he was unquestionably the best, certainly the most eccentric and humanly complicated. Watch him in comic support of Astaire and Rogers in Top Hat (1935), where his attempts at getting out of the clutches of Alice Brady provide small gems of Gay sexual innuendo and perfect timing.
The actor is best known for his work as a character actor in supporting roles. Some of his noteworthy films include The Front Page, Trouble in Paradise, the aforementioned Top Hat (one of several Astaire-Rogers movies Horton was in including Holiday, Lost Horizon, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Arsenic and Old Lace and A Pocketful of Miracles.
In private life he lived with his mother on a large estate named “Belly Acres.” One can almost hear him arguing, in that firm but nervous way of his, “Now mother. I like that name, and I don’t care that you find it undignified. Belly Acres it is and Belly Acres it stays.”
Beginning in 1959 he narrated the “Fractured Fairy Tales” segment of the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon show. In 1965 he played the medicine man, Roaring Chicken, in the sitcom F Troop. He parodied this role, portraying “Chief Screaming Chicken” on Batman as a pawn to Vincent Price’s “Egghead” in the villain’s attempt to take control of Gotham City. His last role, as a moribund tobacco company president in a wheelchair, was in the motion picture Cold Turkey, released after his death.