• 9 October 1905
  •  Chicago, Illinois, USA

Howard St. John


A veteran theater performer from 1925, Chicago-born character actor Howard St. John excelled in blustery, unsympathetic roles -- often pompous, often shifty and usually self-important. He made his Broadway debut with "Nocturne" (1925) and continued reliably into the 30s with parts in "Princess Charming" (1930), "Keeper of the Keys" (1932) and "Triumph" (1935). He grew in popularity with such theater hits as "Janie" (1942) and "The Late George Apley" (1946) and "Two Blind Mice" (1949). He took his patented gruffness and moved into films with the "B" movie Shockproof (1949) and continued in the same no-nonsense vein as various business tycoons or high-ranking military brass. Standout roles in his over 30 pictures include Born Yesterday (1950) and One, Two, Three (1961). He played General Bullmoose in the musical "Li'l Abner" in 1956 and recreated his role on film three years later. St. John's numerous TV appearances would include the short-lived cop drama The Investigator (1958) as well as the short-lived sitcom Hank (1965). Towards the end of his career, he was seen as a foil on the "Honeymooners" musical sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show (1966). St. John died of a heart attack in New York City at age 68 in 1974 and was survived by his widow.