Most certainly egged on by the dandified antics of an'Edward Everett Horton' , 'Eric Blore' and/or'Franklin Pangborn' , burlesque clown Billy DeWolfe in turn gaveobvious inspiration to such effete cutups as 'Paul Lynde' and'Charles Nelson Reilly' . Billy's life was one hundred percent showbusiness from start to finish in a career that lasted five decades, andit took everything, including the proverbial vaudeville hook, to getthe delightful ham off the stage he craved and loved so well. Christened William Andrew Jones, he was the son of a Welsh-bornimmigrant and bookbinder. Born in Massachusetts, the family returned toWales almost immediately and did not come back to the States untilBilly was nine years old.
He began his career in the theater as anusher until he found work as a dancer with a band. He subsequently tookhis name from a theater manager, William De Wolfe, who actually offeredhim his name. Billy developed his own comedy/dance act and originallyplayed the vaudeville circuit as part of a duo or trio. In London forfive years, he eventually went solo and was given the chance to playthe London Palladium at one point. He returned to America in 1939 andenjoyed notice as a prime radio and nightclub performer/impressionist,appearing in satirical revues, sometimes in drag, with great results.
Billy enlisted in the U. S. Navy in 1942 shortly after completing hisfirst movie role as a riverboat conman in Dixie (1943) forParamount. In civilian clothes again by war's end, he returned toParamount and brought hyper comedy relief to a number of filmsincluding Miss Susie Slagle's (1946) , Our Hearts Were Growing Up (1946) and The Perils of Pauline (1947) . He then instigated what wouldbecome his suitor prototype.
With trademark mustache and spiffy duds,he assumed the role of the highly ineffectual, fastidious,self-involved bore who loses the girl, in Dear Ruth (1947) , oneof his biggest film triumphs, which was followed by two "Dear. . . " moviesequels. Old-fashioned musicals were definitely his cup of tea and hewas easily fit into such nostalgic fare as Tea for Two (1950) and Lullaby of Broadway (1951) .
One of his other film highlightsincludes getting snitty with bombastic 'Ethel Merman' in Call Me Madam (1953) . Irrepressible and definitely hard to contain for film (not to mentiondifficult to cast due to his mincing mannerisms), Billy focused insteadon the live stage. He won the 1954 Donaldson Award for the NYproduction of "John Murray Anderson's Almanac," returned to London incommand performances, and revisited Broadway in the last edition of"The Ziegfeld Follies" in 1957. Better yet was his pompous performancein the musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" On TVhe was a mildly popular raconteur on the talk show circuit. Fussy"second banana" series roles took up his final decade of acting withsuch comedy series showcasing the likes of 'Imogene Coca' ,'Phyllis Diller (I)' and 'Doris Day (I)' , who became a veryclose friend.
A lifelong hypochondriac, Billy was about to take on the role of MadamLucy in a 1973 Broadway revival of "Irene" when the ravages of lungcancer forced him to leave the show before rehearsals even began. Character player 'George S. Irving' replaced Billy and went on towin a "supporting actor" Tony for his wild efforts. Billy lost hisfight at age 67 in 1974. .
|1||Free to Be... You & Me||1974||as The Principal|
|2||The Perils of Pauline||1947||as Mr. Timmy Timmons|
|3||The Debbie Reynolds Show||1969||as Delbert Deloy|
|4||The Dick Van Dyke Show||1961||as Rex Spaulding|
|5||The Hollywood Palace||1964||as Himself - Comedian|
|6||The Imogene Coca Show||1954||as Regular (1954-55)|
|7||The Mike Douglas Show||1961||as Himself - Co-Host|
|8||Arsenic and Old Lace||1969||as Officer O'Hara|
|9||Billie||1965||as Mayor Charlie Davis|
|10||Blue Skies||1946||as Tony|
|11||Call Me Madam||1953||as Pemberton Maxwell|
|12||Dear Brat||1951||as Albert|
|13||Dear Ruth||1947||as Albert Kummer|
|14||Dear Wife||1949||as Albert Kummer|
|15||Dixie||1943||as Mr. Bones|
|16||Duffys Tavern||1945||as Doctor|
|17||Frosty the Snowman||1969||as Professor Hinkle|
|18||Isnt It Romantic?||1948||as Horace Frazier|
|19||Lullaby of Broadway||1951||as Lefty Mack|
|20||Miss Susie Slagles||1946||as Ben Mead|
|21||Our Hearts Were Growing Up||1946||as Roland du Frere|
|22||Tea for Two||1950||as Larry Blair|
|23||The Worlds Greatest Athlete||1973||as Dean Maxwell|
|24||Variety Girl||1947||as Billy De Wolfe|
|25||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||1963||as Inspector|
|26||Burkes Law||1963||as Artemis Newpenny|
|27||Disneyland||1954||as Dean Maxwell|
|28||Good Morning, World||1967||as Roland B. Hutton Jr.|
|29||Heres Hollywood||1960||as Himself|
|30||Johnny Midnight||1960||as Damon|
|31||Love, American Style||1969||as Mr. Gratz (segment "Love and the Fractured Fibula")|
|33||That Girl||1966||as Jules Benedict|
|34||The Arthur Murray Party||1950||as Himself|
|35||The Dean Martin Show||1965||as Himself|
|36||The Doris Day Show||1968||as Willard Jarvis|
|37||The Merv Griffin Show||1962||as Himself|
|38||The Pruitts of Southampton||1966||as Vernon Bradley|
|39||The Queen and I||1969||as First Officer Oliver Nelson|
|40||The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson||1962||as Himself|