Ned Sparks

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Ned Sparks
BornEdward Arthur Sparkman
(1883-11-19)November 19, 1883
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
DiedApril 3, 1957(1957-04-03) (aged 73)
Victorville, California, United States
Other namesNed A. Sparks
OccupationActor
Spouse(s)Mercedes Cabalerro (1931 - April 17, 1936)
 
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Ned Sparks
BornEdward Arthur Sparkman
(1883-11-19)November 19, 1883
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
DiedApril 3, 1957(1957-04-03) (aged 73)
Victorville, California, United States
Other namesNed A. Sparks
OccupationActor
Spouse(s)Mercedes Cabalerro (1931 - April 17, 1936)

Ned Sparks (November 19, 1883 - April 3, 1957) was a Canadian-born character actor. Sparks was well known for his deadpan expression and deep, gravelly voice.

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Early life and career

Born Edward Arthur Sparkman in Guelph, Ontario, Sparks left home at age 16 where he attempted to work as a gold prospector on the Klondike Gold Rush. After running out of money, he won a spot as a singer on a traveling musical company's tour. At age 19, he returned to Canada where he briefly attended a Toronto seminary. After leaving the seminary, he worked for the railroad and worked in theater in Toronto. In 1907, he left Toronto to try his hand in the Broadway theatre in New York City.[1]

While working on Broadway, Sparks developed his trademark deadpan expression while portraying the role of a desk clerk in the play Little Miss Brown. His success on the stage soon caught the attention of MGM's Louis B. Mayer who signed Sparks to a six picture deal. Sparks began appearing in numerous silent films before finally making his "talkie" debut in the 1928 film The Big Noise.[2]

In the 1930s, Sparks became known for portraying dour-faced, sarcastic, cigar-chomping characters. He became so associated with the type that, in 1936, The New York Times reported that Sparks had his face insured for USD$100,000 with Lloyd's of London. The market agreed to pay the sum to any photographer who could capture Sparks smiling (Sparks later admitted that the story was a publicity stunt and he was only insured for $10,000).[3] Sparks was also caricatured in cartoons including the Jack-in-the-Box character in the Disney short Broken Toys (1935), and the jester in Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1938),[4] a hermit crab in both Tex Avery's Fresh Fish (1939) Bob Clampett's Goofy Groceries (1941), a chicken in Bob Clampett's Slap Happy Pappy (1940) and a brief appearance in Friz Freleng's Warner Brothers cartoon Malibu Beach Party (1940).

During his career, Sparks appeared in ten stage productions and over 80 films. He retired from films in 1947.

Death

On April 3, 1957, Sparks died of an intestinal blockage in Victorville, California.[5]

Selected filmography

YearTitleRoleOther notes
1915The Little Miss BrownNight clerk
1919A Virtuous VampMr. Bell
1920Good ReferencesPeter Stearns
1922The Bond BoyCyrus Morgan
1923Easter Bonnets
1924The Law ForbidsClyde Vernon
1925The Only ThingGibsonAlternative title: Four Flaming Days
1926The Hidden WayMulligan
1927The Small BachelorJ. Hamilton Beamish
1928The Magnificent FlirtTim
1929The Canary Murder CaseTony Sheel
1929Nothing But the Truth (1929 film)Clarence van Dyke
1930The Devil's HolidayCharlie Thorne
1931Iron ManRiley
1932The Miracle ManHarry EvansCredited as Ned A. Sparks
1932The Crusader
193342nd StreetBarry
1933Gold Diggers of 1933Barney Hopkins
1933Going HollywoodMr. Bert Conroy, DirectorAlternative title: Cinderella's Fella
1933Alice in WonderlandThe Caterpillar
1933Lady for a DayHappy McGuire
1934Servants' EntranceHjalmar Gnu
1934Imitation of LifeElmer Smith
1935George White's 1935 ScandalsElmer White
1937One in a MillionDaniel "Danny" Simpson
1937Wake Up and LiveSteve Cluskey
1937This Way Please
1938Hawaii CallsStrings
1939The Star MakerSpeed King
1941For Beauty's SakeJonathan B. Sweet
1947Magic TownIke

References

  1. ^ Foster, Charles (2003). Once Upon a Time in Paradise: Canadians in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Dundurn Press Ltd.. pp. 971–972. ISBN 1-55002-464-7. 
  2. ^ Foster, Charles (2003). Once Upon a Time in Paradise: Canadians in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Dundurn Press Ltd.. pp. 973, 977. ISBN 1-55002-464-7. 
  3. ^ Foster, Charles (2003). Once Upon a Time in Paradise: Canadians in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Dundurn Press Ltd.. pp. 980. ISBN 1-55002-464-7. 
  4. ^ Lucas, Ralph. "Ned Sparks". northernstars.ca. http://www.northernstars.ca/actorsstu/sparks_ned_bio.html. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  5. ^ "Milestones". Time. 1957-04-15. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,862585,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 

External links