James Flavin

James Flavin

  • Born on
    • May 14th, 1906
  • Died on
    • April 23rd, 1976
American character actor whose career lasted nearly half a century. James Wilson Flavin Jr. was the son of a hotel waiter of Canadian-English extraction and a mother, Katherine, whose father was an Irish immigrant. (Thus Flavin, well-known in Hollywood as an "Irish" type, was only one-quarter Irish.) Flavin was born and raised in Portland, Maine (a fact that may have enrichened his later working relationship with director John Ford, also a Portland native). He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, but (contrary to some sources) did not graduate. Instead he dropped out and returned to Portland where he drove a taxi. Then as now, summer stock companies flocked to Maine each year, and in 1929 he was asked to fill in for an actor. He did well with the part and the company manager offered him $150 per week to go with the troupe back to New York. Flavin accepted and by the spring of 1930 was living in a rooming house at 108 W. 87th Street in Manhattan. Flavin didn't manage to crack Broadway at this time (his Broadway debut would not occur for another thirty-nine years, in the 1971 revival of "The Front Page," in which Flavin played Murphy and briefly took over the lead role of Walter Burns from star Robert Ryan). He worked his way across the country in stock productions and tours, arriving in Los Angeles around 1932. He quickly made the transition to movies, landing the lead in his very first film, a Universal serial, The Airmail Mystery (1932). He also landed his leading lady, marrying the serial's female star Lucile Browne that same year. However, the serial marked virtually the last time that Flavin would play the lead in a film. Thereafter, he was restricted almost exclusively to supporting characters, many of them without so much as a name. He specialized in uniformed cops and hard-bitten detectives, but played chauffeurs, cabbies, and even a 16th-century palace guard with aplomb. Flavin appeared in nearly four hundred films between 1932 and 1971, and in almost a hundred television episodes before his final appearance, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident (1976). Flavin died of a heart ailment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on April 23, 1976. His widow Lucile died seventeen days later. They were survived by their son, William James Flavin, subsequently a professor at the United States Army War College. James and Lucile Brown Flavin were buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Starring James Flavin on Plex


Acting (105 Credits)

1967In Cold Blood as Clarence Duntz
1967Good Times as Detective Lieutenant
1964Cheyenne Autumn as Ft. Robinson Sergeant of the Guard
1958Man with a Camera
1958The Last Hurrah as Police Capt. Michael J. Shanahan (uncredited)
1957Night Passage as Tim Riley
1956Never Say Goodbye as Timmy
1955The Naked Street as Attorney Michael X. Flanders
1955Mister Roberts as Military Policeman
1953Abbott and Costello Go to Mars as First Policeman in Bank
1953Trouble Along the Way as Coach Buck Holman
1952Million Dollar Mermaid as Conductor
1951Operation Pacific as SP Commander
1951Rhubarb as O'Leary, Manhattan Police Chief (uncredited)
1950Destination Murder as Police Lt. Brewster
1950Armored Car Robbery as Lt. Phillips
1949Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff as Insp. Wellman
1949Shockproof as Policeman in Park (uncredited)
1949Mighty Joe Young as Schultz
1948One Touch of Venus as Kerrigan
1948The Noose Hangs High as Traffic Cop (uncredited)
1948Sleep, My Love as Lieutenant Mitchell
1948The Velvet Touch as Sgt. Oliphant
1947Desert Fury as Sheriff Pat Johnson
1947Nora Prentiss as District Attorney
1947It Happened on Fifth Avenue as First Policeman (uncredited)
1947Song of the Thin Man as Policeman Reardon (uncredited)
1947My Favorite Brunette as Det. Lt. 'Mac' Hennessey (uncredited)
1947Nightmare Alley as Hoatley - First Carnival Owner (uncredited)
1947Dishonored Lady as Police Sergeant Patella
1946Angel on My Shoulder as Bellamy
1946Nobody Lives Forever as Shake Thomas
1946The Strange Love of Martha Ivers as Police Detective #1
1946Cloak and Dagger as Col. Walsh
1946Easy to Wed as Joe
1945The Shanghai Cobra as H.R. Jarvis
1945Anchors Aweigh as Radio Cop
1945Murder, He Says as Police Officer
1945Over 21 as Captain (uncredited)
1945Mildred Pierce as Detective (uncredited)
1944Uncertain Glory as Captain of Mobile Guard
1944Christmas Holiday as Policeman (uncredited)
1944Laura as Det. McEveety (uncredited)
1944Once Upon a Time as Man in Subway
1944Hollywood Canteen as Marine Sergeant (uncredited)
1943Air Force as Maj. A.M. Bagley
1943I Dood It as Federal Agent (uncredited)
1943Heaven Can Wait as Policeman (uncredited)
1943It Ain't Hay as Cop (uncredited)
1943So Proudly We Hail! as Captain O'Brien (Uncredited)
1943Action in the North Atlantic as Merchant Marine School Lieutenant-Commander (uncredited)
1943Mission to Moscow as American Senator (uncredited)
1942Fingers at the Window as Police Lieutenant Schaeffer
1942Kid Glove Killer as Keenan - Detective Grilling Eddie (uncredited)
1942Ride 'Em Cowboy as Railroad Detective #2 (uncredited)
1942Gentleman Jim as George Corbett (uncredited)
1941Pot o' Gold as Sheriff Bud Connolly
1941Belle Starr as Sergeant
1941Affectionately Yours as Tomassetti
1941The Strawberry Blonde as Ticket Inspector on Boat (uncredited)
1941Manpower as Orderly
1941Ziegfeld Girl as Buck (Uncredited)
1941Hold Back the Dawn as Immigration Guard (uncredited)
1941Texas as Abilene Fight Announcer
1941I Wake Up Screaming as Detective (uncredited)
1941Buck Privates as Recruiting Sergeant (uncredited)
1941Western Union as Deputy Sheriff
1940Broadway Melody of 1940 as Clancy (uncredited)
1940The Long Voyage Home as Dock Policeman
1940The Ghost Breakers as Hotel Porter (uncredited)
1940It All Came True as Roaring 90's Club Doorman (uncredited)
1940Remember the Night as Court Attendant (uncredited)
1940Castle on the Hudson as Death Row Guard (uncredited)
1940Brother Orchid as Parking Attendant at Fat Dutchy's (uncredited)
1940The Fighting 69th as Supply Sergeant (uncredited)
1940When the Daltons Rode as Annabella's Brother
1940Johnny Apollo as Prison Guard In Library (uncredited)
1940Knute Rockne All American as Army Assistant Coach (uncredited)
1940North West Mounted Police as Mountie
1940The Grapes of Wrath as Guard (uncredited)
1939Mr. Wong in Chinatown as Police Sgt. Jerry
1939The Ice Follies of 1939 as Doorman (Uncredited)
1939Each Dawn I Die as Policeman (uncredited)
1939Fast and Furious as Policeman Guarding Entrance (uncredited)
1939Jesse James as Cavalry Captain (uncredited)
1939Rose of Washington Square as Guard (uncredited)
1939When Tomorrow Comes as Coast Guard Man on Road
1939The Roaring Twenties as Policeman (uncredited)
1939Union Pacific as Paddy (uncredited)
1938Too Hot to Handle as Young Reporter (uncredited)
1938Test Pilot as Pilot (uncredited)
1938Blondie as Policeman in Accident Car (uncredited)
1938Alexander's Ragtime Band as Army Captain (uncredited)
1938You Can't Take It with You as Jailer (uncredited)
1937Mannequin as Burly Man (Uncredited)
1937You Only Live Once as State Trooper (uncredited)
1936Charlie Chan at the Race Track as Detective
1936My Man Godfrey
1935Man on the Flying Trapeze as Chauffeur
1935Public Hero Number 1 as Flavin - Federal Agent (uncredited)
1935Special Agent as Agent Arresting Julie (uncredited)
1935'G' Men as Agent with Jean (uncredited)
1934Baby, Take a Bow as Flannigan
1933King Kong as Mate Briggs
1932The Most Dangerous Game as First Mate on Yacht (uncredited)

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