Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sterling Holloway

Here is another name that is well known to most generations.  Sterling Holloway (1905 - 1992) had a long career, starting in silent films.  He progressed through many stages in his acting.  Some great movies, quite a bit of TV work, and of course, as a popular voice actor for animated features.

In the late silent era, many comedies were two-reelers that ran about 20 minutes.  Features would usually be 60 to 90 minutes.  There were also epic movies such as Napoleon, the 1927 release written by Abel Gance (1889 - 1981), which ran 222 minutes.  Holloway's first feature was Casey at the Bat (1927) starring Wallace Beery (1885 - 1949) and another favorite, Zazu Pitts (1894 - 1963).

Sterling is best known as a comic actor, but he was no stranger to dramas.  In 1933 he appears in Hell Below with Robert Montgomery (1904 - 1981) and Walter Huston (1884 - 1950).

I remember picking him out in Gold Diggers of 1933 in an uncredited part.  He was in two movies with Will Rogers (1879 - 1935), and started working for Walt Disney (1901 - 1966) in Dumbo (1941) and then Bambi (1942), plus many others.  

Another good dramatic role was in the war movie Walk in the Sun in 1945, starring Dana Andrews (1909 - 1992).  He also worked on four Frank Capra (1897 0 1991) films, including two education movies, Our Mr. Sun (1956) and Hemo the Magnificent (1957).

Holloway's earliest TV work was in 1949, before many people had TVs, but he became a regular on "The Adventures of Superman" and "The Life of Riley" in the 1950s.  He can be seen on most of the golden age of TV series'.

In 1963 he scores a part as the fire chief in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, with a cast that has to be the greatest gathering of comedic talent ever attempted.  His last role was on the 1980s hit TV series "Moonlighting" starring Cybill Sheperd (b. 1950) and Bruce Willis (b. 1955).

I think of all his work, his most famous role is as the voice of Winnie the Pooh, which should keep him endeared in the minds of children for years to come.  He was named a Disney Legend in 1991.


  1. Sterling Holloway was a most unique character actor - and with such a distinctive voice! Every baby boomer on the planet must surely recognize his voice from the Disney films. And...he, along with the great Beulah Bondi (your last featured player), was one of the supporting players in "Remember the Night"!

  2. Yes. Holloway worked with Barbara Stanwick again in 1941 in Meet John Doe, and he made two earlier movies with Bondi.


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