Basil Ruysdael

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Basil Ruysdael (July 24, 1888 - October 10, 1960) was an American film actor and opera singer.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Jersey City, New Jersey and started as a bass-baritone with the Metropolitan Opera Company from 1910 to 1918. In the World War One era, he was a leading bass at The Met, appearing with opera stars such as Enrico Caruso and Geraldine Farrar. Starting in 1918, he appeared on the New York stage. He moved to California in 1923 to teach voice. His most famous pupil was opera star Lawrence Tibbett.

Film career[edit]

Ruysdael is probably best known to modern audiences as Detective Hennessey in the first Marx Brothers film The Cocoanuts. He also appeared in Pinky, The File on Thelma Jordon, Colorado Territory, Broken Arrow, People Will Talk, Carrie, The Violent Men, Blackboard Jungle, and The Horse Soldiers. In 1955, Ruysdael played General Andrew Jackson in the ABC miniseries Davy Crockett, broadcast on the Disneyland television series. In his final television role he appeared on Perry Mason as Henry W. Dameron in the 1959 episode, "The Case of Paul Drake's Dilemma." His last on-screen role was in The Story of Ruth in 1960. His last film role was One Hundred and One Dalmatians, in which he provided a voice characterization; the film itself was released one year after his death.

Radio career[edit]

Ruysdael narrated the NBC Blue Network series Stones of History which was broadcast in 1934 and 1935. He was the announcer on a syndicated programme for Rexall in 1939 before becoming the commercial spokesman for DuPont on Cavalcade of America on the NBC Blue Network in 1940.

By 1941, he was a pitch-man for Lucky Strike cigarettes, which sponsored several shows including Your Hit Parade, Information Please and The Jack Benny Show. He appeared, transcribed, on the latter show from October 1, 1944 to November 28, 1948 and gave his name near the end of the final commercial. Ruysdael was also the announcer on a 1944 summer replacement show, Mother and Dad, starring Parker Fennelly on CBS, and The Radio Reader's Digest in 1946 on CBS.

Death[edit]

Ruysdael died on October 10, 1960 at the age of 72 of complications following surgery in a hospital in Hollywood, California. He was survived by his widow, Kathleen. He was buried in Omaha, Nebraska's Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

Partial filmography[edit]

External links[edit]