|illiam Gargan (Jul 17.1905 - Feb 16.1979)|
6' (1.83 m)
Wife: Mary Kenny (19 Jan 1928 - his death)
Children: Berry or Barrie (1929) & Leslie Howard (28 jun 1933)
Brother: Edward F. Gargan (actor)
|Above right: Mr & Mrs William Gargan with their children, Berry (the elder) and Leslie Howard Gargan|
Gargan is know to have had a series of jobs ranging from soda jerking to street car conducting but after leaving high school (St.James School, Brooklyn) he had a number of white collar jobs.
first worked as a credit investigator and collection agent for a clothing firm.
Once Gargan was shot at when he attempted to get a deadbeat customer to pay his
overdue account. Next, he worked for about a year as a
private detective with a New York agency for "$10.00 a day and expenses." Gargan
did many of the usual detective jobs: guarding payrolls, tailing possible
suspects, conducting stakeouts, and protecting clients with valuables. He was
fired when he lost track of a diamond salesman he was supposed to be protecting.
he became bored with the routine of a regular job he turned
to acting... .within a year he made it
He was breezier, and more entertaining, in B-films such as Headline Shooters (1933), Man Hunt (1936), Wings Over Honolulu (1937), and Bombay Clipper (1942).
For his work in They Knew What They Wanted (1940), he received a "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar nomination. Whilst during the '30s he played high-energy, gregarious leads in many "B"-movies and second leads in major films; later he moved into character roles e.g. I Wake Up Screaming (1941), Who Done It? (1942), The Canterville Ghost (1944), and The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) He played master detective Ellery Queen in three 1942 Columbia programmers. The series could have outlasted the war but the fact that he had no contractual obligation to a studio prevented him to continue the role. The series was so quickly shelved Gargan and Lindsay had to go on in an unrelated movie No Place for a Lady (1943).
He made few films after 1948, but from 1949 to 1951 he starred in the title role of the TV series Martin Kane, Private Eye , a series originally conceived for television but which also had a run over Mutual Radio from 1949-52. Gargan called it quits on the TV series in 1951. In his autobiography Gargan tells us about the problem the series, and indeed early TV had to cope with:
He was stricken by cancer
of the larynx, and in 1960 his voice box was removed in surgery, ending his
career. He learned esophageal speech then taught this method for the American
Cancer Society. As
Martin Kane Gargan would hang out at Happy McMann's Tobacco shop, touting his
sponsor's products now
he became an indefatigable campaigner against smoking.
William Gargan died in flight
between NY and San Diego of a heart attack in February
Additional video & audio sources
|This actor profile is a part of the Ellery Queen a website on deduction. The actor above played Ellery Queen in an Ellery Queen film series.|
Page first published on May 22, 2016
Last updated November 18, 2018
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