Eric Blore, Actor (1887 – 1959)
I have always been a huge fan of the movies out of the 30′s and 40′s. One of the most famous dance teams ever were Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. A Character actor that appeared in 5 out of their 9 Astaire/Rogers movies was a British actor, Eric Blore.
Blore was an consummate comedian with a tweak of Sarcasm and Pomposity. I never saw a performance of his that didn’t just leave me tickled!
Eric Blore started off as an insurance agent, but while in Australia he took a great interest in stage and theater. His short physic, elfish appearance and quick witted charm made him endearing to watch.
He became quite well known as the waiter in Astaire/Rogers “Flying Down to Rio (1933). Still deeply involved in Broadway, he played the waiter in the stage version of The Gay Divorcee and reprised his role in the film version once again with Fred and Ginger.
“Blore had been perfecting his basic comic characters since his London days – a leering-eyed English gentlemen – brusque/wise-acre butler or waiter or other service provider — with a lock-jawed British accent. These characters accompanied by Blore’s flawlessly timed delivery were thoroughly applicable and effective as he moved permanently to Hollywood character acting. He played a fair spectrum of other roles, even in a few rare dramas, such as the adventure The Soldier and the Lady (1937) and Island of Lost Men (1939).”
Blore worked constantly from 1934 through the 1940s. I think some of his best lines and antics were in Top Hat (1935) and Shall We Dance (1937). His flawless portrayals of valets and butlers seemed to flow so naturally, leaving audiences laughing in sheer delight.
Although appearing in films with Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck and Charles Coburn, parts started to become less frequent in the late 40s. He was chosen for the voice of Disney’s Mr. Toad in the film The Wind in the Willows (1949). By 1955 he had pretty much retired.
In 1959, the New Yorker reported that Eric Blore had passed away! Much to the furry of Blore’s Lawyer, the New Yorker was going to print a retraction, because Blore had Not Passed away! Then strangely enough, the retraction was never released because Eric Blore did indeed passed away that evening. Eric would have loved the irony of this incident and probably would’ve enjoyed a great laugh!