Edmond O'Brien

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Edmond O'Brien
in D.O.A. (1950)
Born(1915-09-10)September 10, 1915
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMay 9, 1985(1985-05-09) (aged 69)
Inglewood, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Alzheimer's disease
Resting place
Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California
Years active1936–74
Spouse(s)Nancy Kelly (1941-42) (divorced)
Olga San Juan (1948-76) (divorced) three children
ChildrenBridget O'Brien
Maria O'Brien
Brendan O'Brien
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Edmond O'Brien
in D.O.A. (1950)
Born(1915-09-10)September 10, 1915
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMay 9, 1985(1985-05-09) (aged 69)
Inglewood, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Alzheimer's disease
Resting place
Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California
Years active1936–74
Spouse(s)Nancy Kelly (1941-42) (divorced)
Olga San Juan (1948-76) (divorced) three children
ChildrenBridget O'Brien
Maria O'Brien
Brendan O'Brien

Edmond O'Brien (September 10, 1915 – May 9, 1985) was an American actor who appeared in more than 100 films from the 1940s to the 1970s, often playing character parts. He received an Academy Award for his supporting role in The Barefoot Contessa (1954). His other notable films include The Killers (1946), White Heat (1949), D.O.A. (1950), Julius Caesar (1953), 1984 (1956), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1961), Seven Days in May (1964) – for which he received an Oscar nomination – and The Wild Bunch (1969).


O'Brien was born was in New York, New York of English and Irish stock. After majoring in drama at Columbia University, he made his first Broadway appearance at age 21 in Daughters of Atreus.[1] O'Brien made his film debut in 1938, and gradually built a career as a highly regarded supporting actor. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces and appeared in the Air Forces' Broadway play and film Winged Victory.

He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a harried publicity agent in The Barefoot Contessa (1954) and was also nominated for his role as an alcoholic U.S. senator in Seven Days in May (1964). Prior to that, O'Brien had an acclaimed role in 1950's film noir drama D.O.A. as a poisoned man who sets out to find his own murderer before he dies.

His other notable films include The Killers (1946), "An Act of Murder" (1948) White Heat (1949), "Backfire" (1950),The Girl Can't Help It (1956), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Longest Day (1962), Fantastic Voyage (1966), and The Wild Bunch (1969).

From 1950 to 1952, O'Brien starred in the radio drama Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. He appeared extensively in television, including the 1957 live 90-minute broadcast on Playhouse 90 of The Comedian, a drama written by Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer in which Mickey Rooney portrayed a television comedian while O'Brien played a writer driven to the brink of insanity.

From 1959 to 1960, O'Brien portrayed the title role in the syndicated crime drama Johnny Midnight, the story of a New York City actor-turned-private detective. Two years after Johnny Midnight, he was cast as lawyer Sam Benedict.

O'Brien had roles on many television series, including an appearance on Target: The Corruptors!, The Eleventh Hour, Breaking Point, and Mission: Impossible.

In the mid-1960s, O'Brien co-starred with Roger Mobley and Harvey Korman in the "Gallegher" episodes of NBC's Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. From 1963 to 1965, he co-starred in the NBC legal drama Sam Benedict.

Personal life[edit]

O'Brien was divorced from actresses Nancy Kelly and Olga San Juan. San Juan was the mother of his three children, including television producer Bridget O'Brien and actors Maria O'Brien and Brendan O'Brien.


O'Brien died in Inglewood, California, of Alzheimer's disease.[2]

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Edmond O'Brien has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1725 Vine Street, and a second star at 6523 Hollywood Blvd. for his contribution to the television industry.


1939The Hunchback of Notre DameGringoire
1941A Girl, a Guy, and a GobStephen Herrick
Parachute BattalionWilliam 'Bill' Mayberry Burke
1942Obliging Young Lady'Red' Reddy, aka Professor Stanley
Powder TownJ. Quincy 'Penji' Pennant
1943The Amazing Mrs. HollidayTom Holliday
1944Winged VictoryIrving Millercredited as Sgt. Edmond O'Brien
1946The KillersJim Riordan
1947The WebBob Regan
A Double LifeBill Friend
1948Another Part of the ForestBenjamin 'Ben' Hubbard
For the Love of MaryLt. Tom Farrington
An Act of MurderDavid Douglas
Fighter SquadronMajor Ed Hardin
1949Task ForceRadio Announcing Pearl Harbo Attack(voice, uncredited)
White HeatHank Fallon
Vic Pardo
1950BackfireSteve Connelly
D.O.A.Frank Bigelow
711 Ocean DriveMal Granger
The Admiral Was a LadyJimmy Stevens
Between Midnight and DawnOfficer Dan Purvis
1951The Redhead and the CowboyMaj. Dunn Jeffers
Pulitzer Prize PlayhouseBen Jordanepisode: Icebound
Two of a KindMichael 'Lefty' Farrell
WarpathJohn Vickers
Silver CityLarkin Moffatt
1952The Greatest Show on EarthMidway Barker at End(uncredited)
Denver and Rio GrandeJim Vesser
The Turning PointJohn Conroy
1953The Hitch-HikerRoy Collins
Man in the DarkSteve Rawley
Cow CountryBen Anthony
Julius CaesarCasca
China VentureCapt. Matt Reardon
The BigamistHarry Graham
Harrison Graham
1954The Shanghai StoryDr. Dan Maynard
Shield for MurderDetective Lt. Barney Nolan
The Barefoot ContessaOscar MuldoonAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor (3rd place, tied with Humphrey Bogart for The Caine Mutiny)
The Ford Television TheatreCaptain Joyceepisode: Charlie C Company
1955Stage 7Clinton Sturgessepisode: Debt in Honor
The Red Skelton ShowGrizzled Old Prospectorepisode: Episode #4.23
Damon Runyon TheaterDuke Martinepisode: Old Em's Kentucky Home
Pete Kelly's BluesFran McCarg
Playwrights '56Sidneyepisode: The Heart's a Forgotten Hotel
The Star and the StoryRay Ericsonepisode: Dark Stranger
19561984Winston Smith of the Outer Party
Screen Directors PlayhouseThaddeus Kubaczikepisode: A Ticket for Thaddeus
D-Day the Sixth of JuneLt. Col. Alexander Timmer
A Cry in the NightCapt. Dan Taggart
The RackLt. Col. Frank Wasnick
The Girl Can't Help ItMarty 'Fats' Murdock
1954-1956Climax!Leo Waldek
Joel Flint
episode: Figures in Clay
episode: An Error in Chemistry
1957The Big LandJoe Jagger
Stopover TokyoGeorge Underwood
1958The World Was His JuryDavid Carson
Sing, Boy, SingJoseph Sharkey
Suspicion (TV series)Sgt. Miles Odeenepisode: Death Watch
Lux PlayhouseBig Jim Webberepisode: Coney Island Winter
1953-1958Schlitz Playhouse of the StarsJim Reardon
Rick Saunders
Captain Simpson
episode: The Town That Slept with the Lights On
episode: The Net Draws Tight
episode: The Long Shot
1957-1959Playhouse 90Roy Brenner
Joe Ferguson
Al Preston
episode: The Blue Men
episode: The Male Animal
episode: The Comedian
Zane Grey TheatreMarshal Ben Clark
Russ Andrews
episode: Lonesome Road
episode: A Gun Is for Killing
1959Up PeriscopeCommander Paul Stevenson
The Ambitious OneMike Buchanan
Laramie (TV series)Captain Sam Pradoepisode: The Iron Captain
1960Johnny Midnight (TV series)Johnny Midnight(39 episodes)
The Last VoyageSecond Engineer Walsh
The 3rd VoiceThe Voice(uncredited)
1961The Great ImpostorCapt. Glover - HMCS Cayuga
Man-TrapVoice of Photographer(uncredited)
The Dick Powell ShowSid Williamsepisode: Killer in the House
Target: The Corruptors!Ollie Crownepisode: The Invisible Government
1962Moon PilotMcClosky ('Mac')
The Man Who Shot Liberty ValanceDutton PeabodyWestern Heritage Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
Birdman of AlcatrazTom Gaddis
The Longest DayGen. Raymond D. Barton
1962-1963Sam BenedictSam Benedict(28 episodes)
1964Seven Days in MaySen. Raymond ClarkGolden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
The Greatest Show on Earth (TV series)Mike O'Kelleyepisode: Clancy
Breaking PointRoger Conningepisode: The Tides of Darkness
The Eleventh Hour (TV series)Buck Denholtepisode: The Color of Sunset
Rio ConchosCol. Theron Pardee
The Hanged ManArnie Seeger
1965SylviaOscar Stewart
SynanonChuck Dederich
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of ColorJefferson Crowley(6 episodes)
The Long, Hot Summer (TV series)Will 'Boss' Varner(13 episodes)
1966Fantastic VoyageGeneral Carter
The Doomsday FlightThe Man(TV movie)
1967The ViscountRicco Barone
To Commit a MurderSphax (publisher)
The VirginianThomas Mansteadepisode: Ah Sing vs. Wyoming
The OutsiderMarvin Bishop(TV movie)
1968Flesh and BloodHarry(TV movie)
Mission: ImpossibleRaymond Halderepisode: The Counterfeiter
1969It Takes a ThiefRocky McCauleyepisode: Rock-Bye, Bye, Baby
The Wild BunchFreddie Sykes
The Love God?Osborn Tremaine
The Bold Ones: The ProtectorsWarden Millbankepisode: If I Should Wake Before I Die
1970InsightHouseworthy - Tycoonepisode: The 7 Minute Life of James Houseworthy
The IntrudersCol. William Bodeen(TV movie)
The Young LawyersMacGillicuddyepisode: MacGillicuddy Always Was a Pain in the Neck
Dream No EvilTimothy MacDonald
1971The Name of the GameBergmanepisode: LA 2017
The High ChaparralMorgan MacQuarieepisode: The Hostage
River of MysteryR.J. Twitchell
What's a Nice Girl Like You...?Morton Stillman
1972Cade's CountyClint Pritchardepisode: The Brothers
JigsawDet. Ed Burtelson(TV movie)
The Streets of San FranciscoOfficer Gustav 'Gus' Charnovski, SFPDepisode: The Thirty-Year Pin
McMillan & WifeMr. Fontaineepisode: Cop of the Year
They Only Kill Their MastersGeorge
The Other Side of the WindPat
1973The New Temperatures Rising ShowDr. Banningepisode: Super Doc
Isn't It Shocking?Justin Oates(TV movie)
Lucky LucianoCommissioner Harry J. Anslinger(credited as Edmund O'Brien)
1974Police StoryChief Frank Modeerepisode: Chain of Command
99 and 44/100% DeadUncle Frank Kelly


  1. ^ Edmond O'Brien Profile, New York Times. By staff. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  2. ^ Famed character actor dies

External links[edit]