Thursday, April 4, 2013

Samuel S. Hinds, 1875-1948

Today marks the birth anniversary of Samuel S. Hinds, one of those names you've probably seen a dozen times, but whose face you might not be able to recognize. Hollywood had a lot of great character actors in the Studio Era, and Hinds was one of those who shows up a lot. His first career was as a lawyer in Hollywood, with acting only being a hobby, until with the Depression he changed careers. (IMDb and Wikipedia offer differing accounts as to what exactly happened.) But, eventually he got noticed enough to get work in small roles, with a lot of the early ones being uncredited because back in those days the movies didn't have credits at the end that go on for a good ten minutes like they do today. I don't remember him as the mayor in Lady For a Day, for example.

The only time I've actually mentioned Hinds is in Navy Blue and Gold, in which he plays the father of the girl who is Jimmy Stewart's love interest, and of a son who is one of Stewart's classmates at the Naval Academy. Not a particularly big role, of course, but then most of Hinds' roles weren't very big. Still, as I said that the beginning, you can see him in some very well-known movies.

Hinds was one of Jean Arthur's nutty relatives in You Can't Take It With You, and a judge in Destry Rides Again. At the end of his life he played Uncle Peter Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life. All told, Hinds appeared in over 200 films, working right up until the end of his life.

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