Friday, May 22, 2009

Frank Orth - You know him when you see him.

Frank Orth as the beleaguered copy editor Duffy
His Girl Friday

Frank Orth was born in Philadelphia, Pa on February 21, 1880. By the age of 17 he was a Vaudeville performer, a comic and musician. With partner Keller Mack he appeared in sketches such as The Wrong Hero and wrote songs. Meet Me on the Boardwalk Dearie was a 1910 hit.

By 1911 Frank found a different partner when he married Belgium born (March 5, 1890) Ann Codee. As Codee and Orth they made their living on the stage and went to Hollywood with the advent of sound appearing in movie shorts released between 1929 and 1931.

The elegant Ms. Codee found steady work in movies usually cast as a French noblewoman as in Her Highness and the Bellboy, Kitty, So This is Paris or as a refined maid as in Kiss Me, Kate, Lured, Hangover Square or Charlie Chan in Rio. In John Ford's When Willie Comes Marching Home Again she played a resistance fighter.

Frank was also very busy in the movies we like to call classic. He played Captain Tweedy in the Nancy Drew series featuring Bonita Granville. He was Mike who ran the Blair Hospital Cafe in the Doctor Kildare series starring Lew Ayres. Frank played cops, bartenders, judges, convicts, theatre managers, reporters, name it! You can find his familiar face in such movies as The Strawberry Blonde, Boom Town, Young Mr. Lincoln, Stanley and Livingstone, Sergeant York, I Wake Up Screaming, Tall in the Saddle, The Lost Weekend, Lady in the Lake and Cheaper by the Dozen. He played Inspector Faraday in the television series Boston Blackie starring Kent Taylor. Why, last night I saw Frank on TCM in a movie called Greenwich Village. There he Technicolor...wearing a dress yet! Something I thought I'd never see.

Frank retired after throat surgery in 1959. Lovely Ann passed away May 18, 1961 followed by her devoted husband of 60 years on March 17, 1962.


  1. Last spring I saw 'The Footloose Heiress', Frank was perfectly cast as the no nonsense Justice of the Peace. Not long after that I saw him in 'Fast and Furious' playing a highly strung lion tamer, he was hilarious.

  2. A lion tamer! The man had to be prepared to play everything with his customary elan.



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