Image of John Qualen

John Qualen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia John Qualen (born Johan Mandt Kvalen, December 8, 1899 – September 12, 1987) was a Canadian-American character actor of Norwegian heritage who specialized in Scandinavian roles. Qualen was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, the son of immigrants from Norway; his father was a Lutheran minister and changed the family's original surname, "Kvalen", to "Qualen" – though some sources give Oleson, later Oleson Kvalen as Qualen's earlier surnames. His father's ministering meant many moves and John was 20 when he graduated from Elgin High School in 1920. Though he was awarded a scholarship to Northwestern University after he won an oratory contest he never attended college. In a Milwaukee Journal interview he said he needed to start working and did so with the Chattaqua Circuit. Eventually reaching Broadway, he gained his big break as the Swedish janitor in Elmer Rice's Street Scene. His movie career began when he recreated the role in the film version. This was followed by his appearance in John Ford's Arrowsmith (1931) which began a more than thirty year membership in the director's "stock company", with important supporting roles in The Searchers (1956), Two Rode Together (1961), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and Cheyenne Autumn (1964). Appearing in well over one hundred films, and acting extensively on television into the 1970s, Qualen performed many of his roles with various accents, usually Scandinavian, often intended for comic effect. Three of his more memorable roles showcase his versatility. Qualen assumed a Midwestern dialect as Muley, who recounts the destruction of his farm by the bank in Ford's The Grapes of Wrath (1940), and as the confused killer Earl Williams in Howard Hawks' classic comedy His Girl Friday (also 1940). As Berger, the jewelry-selling Norwegian resistance member in Michael Curtiz' Casablanca (1942), he essayed a light Scandinavian accent, but put on a thicker Mediterranean accent as the homeward-bound fisherman Locota in William Wellman's The High and the Mighty (1954) Qualen was treasurer of The Authors Club and historian of The Masquers, Hollywood's social group for actors. John Qualen was blind in his later years. He died of heart failure in 1987 in Torrance, California, and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. He was survived by his three daughters.

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Dec 8, 1899 In Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Street Scene 1931-09-05
Latest Project:
Movie La Classe américaine 1993-12-31
Known For
Poster of Doc
Poster of The Sons of Katie Elder
Poster of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Poster of The Searchers
Movie La Classe américaine V12 (archive footage) (uncredited) 1993-12-31
Movie Getting Away from It All Charlie Erickson 1972-01-18
Series The Streets of San Francisco Unknown 1972-09-23
Series The Odd Couple Sam 1970-09-24
Movie Hail, Hero! Billy Hurd 1969-10-04
Movie Doc Luke 1969-07-28
Movie A Big Hand for the Little Lady Jesse Buford 1966-05-31
Series Shane Old Man 1966-09-10
Series Jericho Unknown 1966-09-15
Series The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. Unknown 1966-09-13
Movie Those Calloways Ernie Evans 1965-01-28
Movie I'll Take Sweden Olaf 1965-06-18
Movie The Sons of Katie Elder Charlie Biller 1965-06-23
Movie A Patch of Blue Mr. Faber 1965-12-10
Series Green Acres Unknown 1965-09-15
Movie 7 Faces of Dr. Lao Luther Lindquist 1964-03-18
Series No Time for Sergeants Unknown 1964-09-14
Series Burke's Law Unknown 1963-09-20
Movie Donovan's Reef Deckhand (uncredited) 1963-06-12
Movie The Prize Oscar 1963-12-25
Movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Peter Ericson 1962-04-22
Series The Virginian Unknown 1962-09-19
Series Mister Ed Unknown 1961-01-05
Movie Two Rode Together Ole Knudsen 1961-07-26
Series Dr. Kildare Unknown 1961-09-27
Series Ben Casey Unknown 1961-10-02
Movie Hell Bent for Leather Old Ben 1960-02-01
Movie Elmer Gantry Sam - Storekeeper 1960-07-07
Series Thriller Unknown 1960-09-13
Movie North to Alaska Logger 1960-11-07
Series The Andy Griffith Show Henry Bennett 1960-10-03
Movie Anatomy of a Murder Deputy Sheriff Sulo 1959-07-01
Series Tightrope Unknown 1959-09-08
Series The Third Man Unknown 1959-10-02
Series The Alaskans Unknown 1959-10-04
Movie The Gun Runners Pop 1958-08-01
Series Sea Hunt Unknown 1958-01-04
Movie My World Dies Screaming Jonah Snell 1958-01-01
Series Bronco Unknown 1958-09-23
Series The Donna Reed Show Unknown 1958-09-24
Movie Revolt in the Big House Doc 1958-12-21
Series Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Unknown 1958-10-06
Series Yancy Derringer Unknown 1958-10-02
Movie The Big Land Sven Johnson 1957-03-01
Series Maverick Unknown 1957-09-22
Series Sugarfoot Unknown 1957-09-17
Movie The Searchers Lars Jorgensen 1956-05-07
Movie Johnny Concho Jake 1956-07-01
Series The Millionaire Unknown 1955-01-19
Movie The Sea Chase Chief Engineer Schmitt 1955-06-04
Movie Unchained Leonard Haskins 1955-08-25
Movie At Gunpoint Livingstone 1955-12-25
Series Alfred Hitchcock Presents Unknown 1955-10-02
Series Cheyenne Unknown 1955-09-20
Series Public Defender Unknown 1954-03-11
Series December Bride Unknown 1954-10-04
Movie The High and the Mighty Jose Locota 1954-07-03
Movie Passion Gaspar Melo 1954-10-06
Series Climax! Unknown 1954-10-07
Movie The Other Woman Papasha 1954-12-02
Series General Electric Theater Unknown 1953-02-01
Movie Ambush at Tomahawk Gap Jonas P. Travis 1953-05-01
Movie Francis Covers the Big Town Cavendish (uncredited) 1953-08-14
Movie I, the Jury Dr. R.H. Vickers, Veterinarian 1953-08-14
Movie Hans Christian Andersen Burgomaster 1952-12-19
Movie Goodbye, My Fancy Professor Dingley 1951-05-19
Movie Belle Le Grand Corky McGee 1951-01-27
Series Racket Squad Unknown 1951-06-07
Series Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Unknown 1951-10-05
Series Dragnet Unknown 1951-12-16
Movie Buccaneer's Girl Vegetable Seller 1950-03-01
Movie Captain China Geech 1950-02-02
Series Lux Video Theatre Unknown 1950-10-02
Movie The Flying Missile Lars Hansen 1950-12-24
Movie Woman on the Run Maibus 1950-11-10
Movie The Big Steal Julius Seton 1949-07-01
Movie Alias a Gentleman No End 1948-02-03
Movie 16 Fathoms Deep Capt. Athos 1948-07-25
Movie Reaching from Heaven The Stranger 1948-02-01
Movie Hollow Triumph Swangron 1948-08-18
Series The Philco Television Playhouse Unknown 1948-10-03
Movie High Conquest Peter Oberwalder Sr. 1947-06-21
Movie Song of Scheherazade Lorenzo 1947-02-26
Movie The Fugitive A Refugee Doctor 1947-11-03
Movie Roughly Speaking Svend Olsen 1945-01-31
Movie River Gang Uncle Bill 1945-09-21
Movie Captain Kidd Bartholomew Blivens 1945-11-22
Movie Adventure Model T 1945-12-28
Movie The Impostor Monge 1944-02-10
Movie An American Romance Anton Dubechek 1944-04-16
Movie Dark Waters Uncle Norbert 1944-11-21
Movie Swing Shift Maisie Horatio Curley 1943-10-01
Movie Breakdowns of 1942 Self 1942-01-01
Movie Jungle Book The Barber 1942-04-03
Movie Larceny, Inc. Sam Bachrach 1942-04-24
Movie Arabian Nights Aladdin 1942-12-25
Movie Casablanca Berger 1942-11-26
Movie Tortilla Flat Jose Maria Corcoran 1942-05-21
Movie Million Dollar Baby Dr. Patterson 1941-05-31
Movie Model Wife The Janitor 1941-04-17
Movie Out of the Fog Olaf Johnson 1941-06-14
Movie New Wine Hasslinger's Clerk 1941-09-10
Movie The Shepherd of the Hills Coot Royal 1941-07-18
Movie All That Money Can Buy Miser Stevens 1941-10-17
Movie The Grapes of Wrath Muley Graves 1940-03-15
Movie Saturday's Children First Carpenter (uncredited) 1940-05-04
Movie His Girl Friday Earl Williams 1940-01-18
Movie Ski Patrol Gustaf 1940-05-09
Movie Blondie on a Budget Ed Fuddle 1940-02-29
Movie Babies for Sale Howard Anderson 1940-06-14
Movie Knute Rockne All American Lars Knutson Rockne 1940-10-05
Movie The Long Voyage Home Axel 1940-11-16
Movie Angels Over Broadway Charles Engle 1940-10-02
Movie Let Us Live Dan (uncredited) 1939-03-29
Movie Stand Up and Fight Davy 1939-01-06
Movie Mickey the Kid Mailman 1939-07-03
Movie Honeymoon in Bali Meek Man (uncredited) 1939-09-29
Movie Thunder Afloat Milo 1939-09-15
Movie Four Wives Frank 1939-12-22
Movie Joy of Living Oswego 1938-05-06
Movie The Chaser Lars 1938-07-29
Movie The Mad Miss Manton Night Watchman at Subway Construction Site 1938-10-21
Movie Five of a Kind Asa Wyatt 1938-10-14
Movie Fifty Roads to Town Sheriff Dow 1937-06-03
Movie Seventh Heaven Sewer Rat 1937-03-25
Movie She Had to Eat Sleepy 1937-07-02
Movie Angel's Holiday Waldo Everett 1937-06-07
Movie The Bad Man of Brimstone Loco 1937-12-31
Movie Nothing Sacred Fireman (uncredited) 1937-11-25
Movie Fit for a King Otto 1937-09-01
Movie Wife vs. Secretary Mr. Jenkins (uncredited) 1936-02-28
Movie Ring Around the Moon Bill Harvey 1936-02-15
Movie The Country Doctor Asa Wyatt 1936-03-12
Movie Girls Dormitory Toni 1936-08-08
Movie Meet Nero Wolfe Olaf 1936-07-16
Movie Reunion Asa Wyatt 1936-11-20
Movie Chasing Yesterday Coccoz 1935-05-03
Movie Black Fury Mike Shemanski 1935-05-18
Movie One More Spring Auctioneer 1935-02-15
Movie Doubting Thomas Von Blitzen 1935-07-10
Movie Charlie Chan in Paris Concierge, Dufresne's Hotel (bit) 1935-01-21
Movie The Great Hotel Murder Ole 1935-02-27
Movie The Farmer Takes a Wife Sol Tinker 1935-08-02
Movie Man of Iron Collins 1935-12-21
Movie Silk Hat Kid Mr. Fossbender 1935-07-19
Movie The Three Musketeers Planchet 1935-11-01
Movie Whipsaw Will Dabson 1935-12-18
Movie Orchids to You Smith 1935-08-09
Movie Thunder in the Night Hotel Porter 1935-09-16
Movie Sing and Like it Oswald (as John M. Qualen) 1934-04-20
Movie Hi, Nellie! Steve (uncredited) 1934-01-20
Movie He Was Her Man Dutch, Santa Avila's Cabbie 1934-06-16
Movie Upperworld Chris the Janitor 1934-04-19
Movie Servants' Entrance Detective 1934-09-25
Movie Straight Is the Way Mr. Clapman (uncredited) 1934-08-10
Movie 365 Nights in Hollywood Prof. Herman Ellenbogen 1934-12-11
Movie Our Daily Bread Chris (as John T. Qualen) 1934-10-02
Movie Counsellor at Law Breitstein 1933-12-25
Movie Let's Fall in Love Svente Bjorkman 1933-12-26
Movie Street Scene Karl Olsen (as John M. Qualen) 1931-09-05
Movie Arrowsmith Henry Novak 1931-12-07