Image of Charley Grapewin

Charley Grapewin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Charles Ellsworth Grapewin (December 20, 1869 – February 2, 1956) was an American vaudeville performer, writer and a stage and silent and sound actor, and comedian who was best known for portraying Aunt Em's husband, Uncle Henry in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's The Wizard of Oz (1939) as well as Grandpa Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and Jeeter Lester in Tobacco Road (1941). He usually portrayed elderly folksy-type characters in a rustic setting, in all appearing in over 100 films. He was the oldest cast member of The Wizard of Oz. Born in Xenia, Ohio, Charles Ellsworth Grapewin ran away from home to be a circus acrobat which led him to work as an aerialist and trapeze artist in a traveling circus before turning to acting. He traveled all over the world with the famous P. T. Barnum circus. Grapewin also appeared in the original 1903 Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz, 36 years before he would appear in the famous Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film version. After this he continued in theatre, on and offstage, for the next thirty years, starting with various stock companies, and wrote stage plays as a vehicle for himself. His sole Broadway theatre credit was the short-lived play It's Up to You John Henry in 1905. Grapewin married actress Anna Chance (1875–1943) in 1896, and they remained a devoted couple until her death some 47 years later. Two years after his first wife's death, Grapewin married Loretta McGowan Becker on Jan 10, 1945. Grapewin began in silent films at the turn of the twentieth century. His very first films were two "moving image shorts" made by Frederick S. Armitage and released in November 1900; Chimmie Hicks at the Races (also known as Above the Limit) and Chimmie Hicks and the Rum Omelet, both shot in September and October 1900 and released in November of that year. During his long career, Grapewin appeared in more than one hundred films, including The Good Earth, The Grapes of Wrath, Tobacco Road, and in what is probably his best-remembered role: Uncle Henry in The Wizard of Oz. He also had a recurring role as Inspector Queen in the Ellery Queen film series of the early 1940s. Grapewin died of natural causes in Corona, California at age 86, and his ashes are interred with his wife's in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, at the Great Mausoleum's Columbarium of Inspiration. ​

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Dec 20, 1869 In Xenia, Ohio, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Above the Limit 1900-11-21
Latest Project:
Movie That's Entertainment, Part II 1976-05-16
Known For
Poster of Crash Dive
Poster of Tobacco Road
Poster of The Grapes of Wrath
Poster of Above the Limit
Movie That's Entertainment, Part II (archive footage) 1976-05-16
Movie The Big Parade of Comedy Unknown 1964-09-02
Movie When I Grow Up Grandpa Reed 1951-04-19
Movie Sand Doug 1949-08-03
Movie The Enchanted Valley Grandpa 1948-03-24
Movie Gunfighters Rancher Inskip 1947-07-15
Movie Follow the Boys Nick West 1944-05-05
Movie The Impatient Years Benjamin L. Pidgeon, Bellboy 1944-09-10
Movie Atlantic City Jake Taylor 1944-09-15
Movie Crash Dive Pop 1943-04-22
Movie A Close Call for Ellery Queen Insp. Queen 1942-01-29
Movie A Desperate Chance for Ellery Queen Insp. Queen 1942-05-07
Movie Enemy Agents Meet Ellery Queen Inspector Richard Queen 1942-07-30
Movie Tobacco Road Jeeter Lester 1941-02-20
Movie Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery Insp. Queen 1941-03-24
Movie They Died with Their Boots On California Joe 1941-11-20
Movie Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime Insp. Queen 1941-08-14
Movie Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring Insp. Queen 1941-11-18
Movie Johnny Apollo Judge Emmett T. Brennan 1940-04-19
Movie The Grapes of Wrath Grandpa Joad 1940-03-15
Movie Earthbound Mr. Whimser 1940-06-06
Movie Rhythm on the River Uncle Caleb 1940-08-28
Movie The Texas Rangers Ride Again Ben Caldwalder 1940-12-13
Movie Ellery Queen, Master Detective Insp. Queen 1940-11-30
Movie Sudden Money Grandpa Casey Patterson 1939-03-31
Movie Burn 'Em Up O'Connor Doc Heath 1939-01-13
Movie The Man Who Dared Ulysses Porterfield 1939-06-03
Movie Stand Up and Fight 'Old Puff' 1939-01-06
Movie Sabotage Major Matt Grayson 1939-10-13
Movie The Wizard of Oz Uncle Henry 1939-08-15
Movie Hero for a Day Uncle Frank "Lucky" Higgins 1939-10-06
Movie Dust Be My Destiny Pop, a Brakeman 1939-09-16
Movie Of Human Hearts Jim Meeker 1938-02-11
Movie The Girl of the Golden West Uncle Davy 1938-03-18
Movie Three Comrades Local Doctor 1938-06-02
Movie Listen, Darling Joe Higgins 1938-10-21
Movie Artists and Models Abroad James Harper 1938-12-20
Movie Three Loves Has Nancy Grandpa Briggs 1938-09-02
Movie Captains Courageous Uncle Salters 1937-06-25
Movie The Good Earth Old Father 1937-06-02
Movie A Family Affair Frank Redmond 1937-03-12
Movie Between Two Women Dr. Webster 1937-07-09
Movie The Bad Man of Brimstone Barney Lane 1937-12-31
Movie Broadway Melody of 1938 James K. Blakeley 1937-08-20
Movie Big City Robert, the Mayor 1937-09-03
Movie Bad Guy Dan Gray 1937-08-27
Movie The Voice of Bugle Ann Cal Royster 1936-02-15
Movie The Petrified Forest Gramp Maple 1936-02-08
Movie Small Town Girl Dr. Ned Fabre 1936-04-10
Movie Sinner Take All Aaron 1936-12-18
Movie Breakdowns of 1936 Himself 1936-12-30
Movie Libeled Lady Hollis Bane 1936-10-09
Movie Without Orders J.P. Kendrick 1936-10-22
Movie Party Wire Will Oliver 1935-04-27
Movie Eight Bells Grayson 1935-04-10
Movie In Spite of Danger Pop Sullivan 1935-03-08
Movie One Frightened Night Jasper Whyte 1935-05-01
Movie Shanghai Truesdale 1935-07-19
Movie Ah, Wilderness! Dave McComber 1935-12-25
Movie King Solomon of Broadway Uncle Winchester 1935-09-30
Movie Rendezvous Prof. Martin 1935-10-25
Movie Alice Adams J. A. Lamb 1935-08-23
Movie She Made Her Bed Joe Olesen 1934-04-26
Movie The Quitter Ed Tilford 1934-02-05
Movie Two Alone Sandy Roberts 1934-01-26
Movie The Loudspeaker Pop Calloway 1934-06-01
Movie Caravan Notary 1934-12-30
Movie Judge Priest Sergeant Jimmy Bagby 1934-09-15
Movie Anne of Green Gables Dr. Tatum 1934-11-23
Movie The President Vanishes Richard Norton 1934-11-17
Movie Midnight Mary Clerk 1933-06-30
Movie Heroes for Sale Pa Dennis 1933-06-17
Movie Hello, Everybody! Jed 1933-02-17
Movie The Kiss Before the Mirror Schultz (as Charles Grapewin) 1933-05-04
Movie Don't Bet on Love Patrick McCaffrey 1933-06-30
Movie Torch Singer Andrew 'Juddy' Judson 1933-09-08
Movie Pilgrimage Dad Saunders 1933-07-12
Movie Wild Boys of the Road Mr. Cadman (uncredited) 1933-10-07
Movie Female Drunk at Hamburger Stand (Uncredited) 1933-11-11
Movie Beauty for Sale Freddy Gordon 1933-09-01
Movie Turn Back the Clock Dr. Henderson (uncredited) 1933-08-25
Movie Are You Listening? Pierce 1932-03-21
Movie Huddle Doctor (uncredited) 1932-05-14
Movie The Big Timer Pop Baldwin 1932-03-10
Movie The Woman in Room 13 Andy 1932-05-15
Movie Hell's House Henry Clark 1932-01-30
Movie The Washington Masquerade Senator Simmons (uncredited) 1932-07-09
Movie American Madness Mr. Jones (uncredited) 1932-08-15
Movie No Man of Her Own George, a Concessions Clerk 1932-12-30
Movie Wild Horse Mesa Sam Bass 1932-11-25
Movie The Night of June 13 "Grandpop" Jeptha Strawn 1932-09-17
Movie The Millionaire Ed Powers 1931-05-01
Movie Heaven on Earth Doc Boax 1931-12-01
Movie Gold Dust Gertie Nicholas Hautrey 1931-06-27
Movie Only Saps Work Simeon Tanner 1930-12-05
Movie Above the Limit Chimmie Hicks 1900-11-21