James Flavin

James Flavin

American character actor whose career lasted nearly half a century. James Wilson Flavin Jr. was the son of a hotel waiter of Canadian-English extraction and a mother, Katherine, whose father was an Irish immigrant. (Thus Flavin, well-known in Hollywood as an "Irish" type, was only one-quarter Irish.) Flavin was born and raised in Portland, Maine (a fact that may have enrichened his later working relationship with director John Ford, also a Portland native). He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, but (contrary to some sources) did not graduate. Instead he dropped out and returned to Portland where he drove a taxi. Then as now, summer stock companies flocked to Maine each year, and in 1929 he was asked to fill in for an actor. He did well with the part and the company manager offered him $150 per week to go with the troupe back to New York. Flavin accepted and by the spring of 1930 was living in a rooming house at 108 W. 87th Street in Manhattan. Flavin didn't manage to crack Broadway at this time (his Broadway debut would not occur for another thirty-nine years, in the 1971 revival of "The Front Page," in which Flavin played Murphy and briefly took over the lead role of Walter Burns from star Robert Ryan). He worked his way across the country in stock productions and tours, arriving in Los Angeles around 1932. He quickly made the transition to movies, landing the lead in his very first film, a Universal serial, The Airmail Mystery (1932). He also landed his leading lady, marrying the serial's female star Lucile Browne that same year. However, the serial marked virtually the last time that Flavin would play the lead in a film. Thereafter, he was restricted almost exclusively to supporting characters, many of them without so much as a name. He specialized in uniformed cops and hard-bitten detectives, but played chauffeurs, cabbies, and even a 16th-century palace guard with aplomb. Flavin appeared in nearly four hundred films between 1932 and 1971, and in almost a hundred television episodes before his final appearance, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident (1976). Flavin died of a heart ailment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on April 23, 1976. His widow Lucile died seventeen days later. They were survived by their son, William James Flavin, subsequently a professor at the United States Army War College. James and Lucile Brown Flavin were buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Movies starring James Flavin (162)

In Cold Blood (1967)

Clarence Duntz

Good Times (1967)

Detective Lieutenant

The Naked Street (1955)

Attorney Michael X. Flanders

Star of Texas (1953)

Texas Rangers Capt. Sturdivant

According to Mrs. Hoyle (1951)

Prosecuting Attorney

Destination Murder (1950)

Police Lt. Brewster

Rock Island Trail (1950)

Railroad Workman

Dakota Lil (1950)

Secret Service Chief

Prison Warden (1949)

Guard Capt. Peter Butler

Homicide (1949)

Det. Lt. Boylan

Shockproof (1949)

Policeman In Park (Uncredited)

Bungalow 13 (1948)

Lt. Sam Wilson

The Plunderers (1948)

Sergeant Major

Desert Fury (1947)

Sheriff Pat Johnson

Dishonored Lady (1947)

Police Sgt. Patella

It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)

First Policeman (Uncredited)

Nora Prentiss (1947)

District Attorney

Step By Step (1946)

Motorcycle Cop

The Missing Lady (1946)

Police Insp. Cardona

Sentimental Journey (1946)

Detective Sgt. Mcfarland (Uncredited)

Mildred Pierce (1945)

Detective (Uncredited)

Laura (1944)

Det. Mceveety (Uncredited)

Christmas Holiday (1944)

Policeman (Uncredited)

Uncertain Glory (1944)

Captain Of Mobile Guard

I Dood It (1943)

Federal Agent (Uncredited)

Air Force (1943)

Maj. A.m. Bagley

Gentleman Jim (1942)

George Corbett (Uncredited)

Fingers at the Window (1942)

Police Lieutenant Schaeffer

Ride 'Em Cowboy (1942)

Railroad Detective #2

New York Town (1941)

Recruiting Sergeant

I Wake Up Screaming (1941)

Detective (Uncredited)

Texas (1941)

Abilene Fight Announcer

Hold Back the Dawn (1941)

Immigration Guard (Uncredited)

We Go Fast (1941)

Police Lt. Bardette

Ride on Vaquero (1941)

Officer Johnson

Western Union (1941)

Deputy Sheriff

Four Mothers (1941)

Demolition Man (Uncredited)

When the Daltons Rode (1940)

Annabella's Brother

Brother Orchid (1940)

Parking Attendant At Fat Dutchy's

It All Came True (1940)

Roaring 90's Club Doorman

And One Was Beautiful (1940)

Mcrafferty - Jail Guard

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Guard (Uncredited)

Double Alibi (1940)

Patrolman Johnson

Remember the Night (1940)

Court Attendant (Uncredited)

Fast and Furious (1939)

Policeman Guarding Entrance

They Shall Have Music (1939)

Police Sergeant (Uncredited)

When Tomorrow Comes (1939)

Coast Guard Man On Road

They All Come Out (1939)

Officer (Uncredited)

Tell No Tales (1939)

Officer Simmons

Union Pacific (1939)

Paddy (Uncredited)

Big Town Czar (1939)

George Mitchell

Everybody's Baby (1939)

Police Announcer (Uncredited)

Sergeant Madden (1939)

Police Interrogator

Jesse James (1939)

Cavalry Captain

Convicts at Large (1938)

Detective Sgt. Berkovich

Blondie (1938)

Policeman In Accident Car

Lightning Carson Rides Again (1938)

Justice Department Agent

Too Hot to Handle (1938)

Young Reporter (Uncredited)

Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)

Army Captain (Uncredited)

Start Cheering (1938)

Gas Station Attendant

Mannequin (1937)

Burly Man (Uncredited)

Live, Love and Learn (1937)

Marine Who Likes Painting

My Dear Miss Aldrich (1937)

Dr. Spitzy Calahan

Midnight Taxi (1937)

Detective Mccormick

Woman Wanted (1935)

Mac - Policeman

The Daring Young Man (1935)

Informant On Telephone

Captain Hurricane (1935)

Freighter Officer

Riot Squad (1933)

Det. Mack Mccue

King Kong (1933)

Mate Briggs

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James Flavin
James Flavin

Same first name: James