• 16 March 1901
  •  Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Edward Pawley


Edward Joel Pawley was a native of Kansas City, Missouri, and attended Manuel Training High School. He took drama classes in high school, and after graduation he worked for six months in his half-brother's traveling stage show (under canvas). He went to New York in 1920 to seek his fame and fortune. He acted in various shows both on and off Broadway before getting his first starring role on Broadway (in 1928) as "Elmer Gantry" in the popular and controversial show of the same name. While still performing on Broadway in the early 1930s, he became interested in movies and obtained some small parts in a couple of films. He also supplemented his income from the theater by performing, on radio, skits from some of his Broadway shows. Around 1933, he left Broadway and moved to Hollywood, where he found work in more than 50 films over a ten-year period. He was a versatile character actor and appeared in some of the better known films of the 1930s with stars like James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Mickey Rooney, The Dead End Kids, Rita Hayworth and John Garfield, among others. He became disenchanted with Hollywood in the early 1940s because of what he saw as attempted Communist infiltration of the movie industry. After making a searing speech against those in the industry who he believed had joined the Communist party, he found himself unable to obtain work because of what he saw as "blackballing" by several producers and directors. Consequenly, he found it more difficult to find worthwhile roles, so he left Hollywood in 1942 and returned to the New York stage. He also worked for a while on the popular radio series "Portia Faces Life". He and Lucille Wall were the Love Story Boy and Girl on that show. In 1943 he auditioned for the leading role in the very popular drama series "Big Town, and won the part. He played Steve Wilson, the idealistic managing editor of the Illustrated Press who was not afraid to fight for what he believed in. His sidekick on the show was Fran Carlon, who played Lorelei Kilbourne, the paper's girl reporter. Pawley played that role until 1951. He retired to Rappahannock County, Virginia, where he lived a very domesticated existence, raising and selling championship goats, writing poetry and working part-time as a radio announcer. His rich baritone voice was very mellifluous and could charm any audience. He married (in 1922) his high school sweetheart, Martina May Martin, who was a stage actress. They had one child, a son they named Martin Herbert (b. 1923). After they divorced and later remarried only to divorce again, he married (in 1937) the famous Broadway musical star Helen Shipman, of Pennsylvania. They remained married until her death in 1984; however, there were no children born of this union. His magnificent voice was stilled on January 27, 1988, as the result of a heart attack. He was a man of integrity, charm, eloquence, modesty, and patriotism, not to mention his ability to perform successfully in three different entertainment mediums: stage, movies, and radio.


Movie Name Release Date
Κολασμένες ψυχές – Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) November 26, 1938