×
Loading in progress
  • BIRTH 29/09/1887
  • DEATH 26/11/1957
  • Country Australia
  • MOVIES 39
  • DIRECTOR 1

Billy Bevan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Billy Bevan (born William Bevan Harris, 29 September 1887 – 26 November 1957) was an Australian-born vaudevillian, who became an American film actor. He appeared in 254 American films between 1916 and 1950.

Bevan was born in the country town of Orange, New South Wales, Australia. He went on the stage at an early age, traveled to Sydney and spent eight years in Australian light opera, performing as Willie Bevan. He sailed to America with the Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company in 1912 and later toured Canada. Bevan broke into films with the Sigmund Lubin studio in 1916. When the company disbanded, Bevan became a supporting actor in Mack Sennett movie comedies. An expressive pantomimist, Bevan's quiet scene-stealing attracted attention, and by 1922 Bevan was a Sennett star. He supplemented his income, however, by establishing a citrus and avocado farm at Escondido, California.

Usually filmed wearing a derby hat and a drooping mustache, Bevan may not have possessed an indelible screen character like Charlie Chaplin but he had a friendly, funny presence in the frantic Sennett comedies. Much of the comedy depended on Bevan's skilled timing and reactions; the famous "oyster" routine performed on film by Curly Howard, Lou Costello, and Huntz Hall—in which a bowl of "fresh oyster stew" shows alarming signs of life and battles the guy trying to eat it—was originated on film decades earlier by Bevan in the short film Wandering Willies.

By the mid-1920s Bevan was often teamed with Andy Clyde; Clyde soon graduated to his own starring series. The late 1920s found Bevan playing in wild marital farces for Sennett.

The advent of talking pictures took their toll on the careers of many silent stars, including Billy Bevan. Bevan began a second career in "talkies" as a character actor and bit player in roles such as that of a bus driver in the 1929 film High Voltage, a hotel employee in the Mae Murray film Peacock Alley, and the supporting role of Second Lieutenant Trotter in Journey's End in 1930. His starring roles had come to an end, however, and for the next 20 years he often would play rowdy Cockneys (as in Pack Up Your Troubles with The Ritz Brothers), and affable Englishmen (as in Tin Pan Alley and Terror by Night). He played a friendly bus conductor opposite Greer Garson in one of the opening scenes of Mrs. Miniver.

Bevan died in 1957 in Escondido, California, just before new audiences discovered him in Robert Youngson's silent-comedy compilations. (The Youngson films mispronounce his name as "Be-VAN"; Bevan himself offered the proper pronunciation in a Voice of Hollywood reel in 1930.)

Billy Bevan

Movies (39)

Rebecca
Rebecca
Policeman (uncredited)
Bringing Up Baby
Bringing Up Baby
Joe (uncredited)
Suspicion
Suspicion
Ticket Taker (uncredited)
Dracula's Daughter
Dracula's Daughter
Police Constable Albert
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Cabby (uncredited)
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Malvolio Jones
The Lost Patrol
The Lost Patrol
Hale
This Above All
This Above All
Farmer
Devotion
Devotion
Mr. Ames (uncredited)
Lizzies of the Field
Lizzies of the Field
Bud Gasket
Tonight and Every Night
Tonight and Every Night
Cabbie (uncredited)
Forever and a Day
Forever and a Day
Wartime Cabby
National Velvet
National Velvet
Constable (uncredited)
Penny Serenade
Penny Serenade
McDougal (uncredited)
Moss Rose
Moss Rose
Harry, Cab Driver (uncredited)
The Pearl of Death
The Pearl of Death
Constable With Food Tray (uncredited)
A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities
Jerry Cruncher
The Quack Doctor
The Quack Doctor
The Hired Lady's Sweetheart
The Invisible Man's Revenge
The Invisible Man's Revenge
Police Sergeant (uncredited)
Cluny Brown
Cluny Brown
Uncle Arn Porritt
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
Will Swallow
Circus Today
Circus Today
Gus Barnum
Waterloo Bridge
Waterloo Bridge
Soldier on the Make (uncredited)
I Married a Witch
I Married a Witch
Puritan Vendor (uncredited)
Cavalcade
Cavalcade
George Grainger
Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley
Stage Doorman
The Return of the Vampire
The Return of the Vampire
Horace (uncredited)
Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre
Bookie (uncredited)
It Had to Be You
It Had to Be You
Evans
Lloyd's of London
Lloyd's of London
Innkeeper
The Lodger
The Lodger
The Black Arrow
The Black Arrow
Dungeon Keeper
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Mr. Weller
Terror by Night
Terror by Night
Conductor Taking Tickets
The Last Outpost
The Last Outpost
Private Foster
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
Street Watch Leader
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Town Councilman (uncredited)
The Long Voyage Home
The Long Voyage Home
Joe
The Invisible Man Returns
The Invisible Man Returns
Jim (uncredited)

Director

The Quack Doctor
The Quack Doctor