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At Home
  • The Great McGinty

  • The Horn Blows at Midnight

  • Christmas in July

  • The Miracle of Morgan's Creek

  • The Palm Beach Story

  • The Big Clock

  • The Sin of Harold Diddlebock

  • The Lady Eve

  • Sullivan's Travels

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Harry Rosenthal Biography

  • Profession: Actor, Composer (Music Score)
  • Born: May 15, 1900
  • Died: May 10, 1953

Harry Rosenthal was an unlikely actor, mostly because he never set out to be one -- but that didn't stop him from being busy in movies for more than 15 years, or getting mentioned on the Broadway and Hollywood gossip pages with surprising frequency. A composer, pianist, and bandleader, he left his native Ireland for a successful career in music in London in the 1920s, during which he wrote several successful operettas, and then headed for New York. He found success as a performer beginning in 1930 when he appeared in the musical June Moon, written by Ring Lardner and George S. Kaufman, in the role of a wisecracking pianist. A subsequent appearance at a reception for Edward, the Prince of Wales, led to his touring the world with the would-be heir to the British throne. Rosenthal appeared in movies beginning in 1931, and he worked onscreen right up through The Big Clock in 1948, but most of his best work was concentrated in the early/mid-'40s in the films of writer/director Preston Sturges, who used the pianist/actor in various roles in his films from The Great McGinty (1940) through The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947). Even in Hail the Conquering Hero (1944), the only Sturges film at Paramount in which Rosenthal didn't appear, his name can be seen on a poster announcing music attractions, in the background of the shot introducing the Marines led by William Demarest in the movie's opening minutes. Rosenthal often added a wry, comical element to any scene that he was in, and, because of his Broadway stage background, he was a favorite subject of columnists, far beyond the size of the parts he often played. His passing in 1953 was noted by far more journalists than would have been usual for character actors in that era. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi