Bobby Watson Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (5)

Overview (3)

Born in Springfield, Illinois, USA
Died in Hollywood, California, USA  (undisclosed)
Birth NameRobert Watson Knucher

Mini Bio (1)

Bobby Watson's acting career began in the late 19th Century, in Springfield, Illinois. At age 10 he had the peanut concession on Saturday afternoons at Springfield's only dance hall, the Olympic Theatre. By age 12 he graduated to the evening concession, and joyously studied the travelling variety acts that came through the town. When he was 15, the theatre manager offered him a chance to show what he had learned from watching all the acts. His first performance consisted of two comedic impressions, the first was a blackface act and the second was a drunken Irishman. Bobby was immediately put on the Olympic payroll. A travelling medicine show, called "Kickapoo Remedies Show" (a name W.C. Fields might have used with good effect), came through Springfield and the owner of the Kickapoo medicine show took Watson out of Springfield to perform with him all over the mid west. Apparently unafraid of criticism, Watson performed the female role "Rosalind" by William Shakespeare, and the comedy mold was cast. From then on, Watson was often, but not exclusively, cast as an effeminate or unathletic character. While in Chicago, he was offered a job with Gus Edwards' shows in New York's Martinique Hotel and Coney Island, Brooklyn. While entertaining the crowds at Coney Island, the Broadway producers Cohan and Harris hired him to replace Frank Craven in the 1918 musical "Going Up." From that point on, he was destined to remain as one of the worthwhile "finds" of the theatre, and subsequently, films. A big break came in 1919 in the form of an original musical "Irene" (songs by Joseph McCarthy & Harry Tierney) with Edith Day. Watson became one of the most beloved characters in the show, portraying a popular male modiste (dressmaker) nicknamed "Madame Lucy." The show was a huge success, and a few years later he appeared in a revival of it with Irene Dunne, with whom he would be reunited in the film "The Awful Truth" (1937). He appeared in another Cohan musical show, "The Rise of Rosie O'Reilly" in 1923, and shortly thereafter he was approached with film offers. Bobby Watson is one of those versatile actors every filmgoer has seen many times playing memorable character parts. Beginning in 1942, Watson was cast as Adolf Hitler in more films than any other actor. The list of titles includes "Hitler: Dead or Alive," "The Hitler Gang," "Miracle of Morgan's Creek" and "That Nazty Nuisance." Since his earliest films, he portrayed all kinds of roles; interior decorator, radio announcer, hotel manager, a dance director, a band leader, dress maker, detective, and even a diction coach (uncredited) in "Singin' in the Rain."

- IMDb Mini Biography By: mintunmusic@earthlink.net

Trivia (5)

Not to be confused with the US child actor Bobs Watson.
Backstage talk has it that Bobby faced so much hostility on the set while made up as Hitler that he had to remain locked in his dressing room between takes.
Portrayed Adolf Hitler in nine different movies.
In 1942, at the age of 51, born November 28, in 1888, Bobby Watson's first appearance in a feature film role as an identical twin doe "Hollywood Adolf Hitler." Both actor Bobby Watson and Nazi Chancellor-Dictator Adolf Hitler, were the same age, born five months apart; Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889; deceased April 30, 1945. Hollywood's Bobby Watson - was first cast as Hitler in a Hal Roach Studio short subject called "The Devil With Hitler". Watson would again appear as the Nazi mega-maniac German Chancellor-leader Adolf Hitler in nine films all together, including the following: "Hitler - Dead or Alive" (1942), "Nazty Nuisance" (1943), "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" (1944), "The Hitler Gang" (1944), "The Story of Mankind" (1957), "On the Double" (1961) and "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" (1962). "Performing to ridicule an Adolf Hitler was my ACE card in the 40s..." - was Bobby Watson's lead-in-line reminiscent of his theatrical casting film career during his friend Louise and her daughter Jane Norton's October, 1958 evening dinner party at their South Orange Grove Avenue, Los Angeles residence. Watson continued retelling his personal experience: "The Hollywood publicity department joined by the U.S. State Department, during the Second World War, concocted a proposed surprise international propaganda hoax in 1944 - that I was to be flown to England in an Army Air Force B-29, with the plane landing in London. I was to be in film make-up and dressed as Adolf Hitler in his military uniform and overcoat. Posing as Hitler, I was to exit the aircraft, descending the airport landing-runway's stair-way, for the news photo-op propaganda headline that Hitler had been captured by the Allied Forces! Another actor dressed as Mussolini, was to follow me down the gangway! When the proposed propaganda stunt was announced to me, I adamantly refused to participate! My life chance surviving the hoax was not guaranteed! Without a doubt the stunt would have leaked out, some nut-job would have a gun, shoot to kill. My return ticket - across the Atlantic pond would be in a wooden box".

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