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Henry Brandon
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    (June 8, 1902-February 15, 1990)
    Born in Berlin, Germany
    Birth name was Heinrich von Kleinbach
    German-American character actor
    Frequently billed as Henry Kleinbach, Harry Kleinbach, and Harry Brandon
    Made close to 100 films over the course of a 60-year career
    Trained as a theatre actor at the Pasadena Community Playhouse
    Moved on to a successful stage career, performing in Broadway/Off-Broadway stage productions of Medea (1949), 'Twelfth Night' (1949), 'The Lady's Not For Burning' (1957), and 'Arsenic and Old Lace' (1985)
    Discovered by Hal Roach while performing on stage as Lawyer Cribbs in a stage adaptation of 'The Drunkard' (1933)
    Best known for his film debut portrayal of Silas Barnaby in the Laurel and Hardy Holiday classic, 'Babes in Toyland' (later titled 'March of the Wooden Soldiers'), opposite Charlotte Henry
    Also acted in 'The Garden of Allah,' 'Island Captives,' 'I Promise to Pay,' 'Beau Geste,' 'Marshal of Mesa City,' 'Dark Streets of Cairo,' 'Under Texas Skies,' 'Ski Patrol,' 'Underground,' Joan of Arc,' 'Wagons West,' 'Pony Express,' 'The Searchers,' 'The Big Fisherman,' and 'Captain Sindbad'
    He had a closeted (and adulterous) affair with Judy Garland's fourth husband, Mark Herron.
    He was typecast in antagonist (usually ethnic) roles throughout his long career.
    In a case of cruel irony, he played the role of Gilles de Rais in Ingrid Bergman's 'Joan of Arc' film, portrayed as a loyal follower to the heroine (but would historically go on to become 'the original Bluebeard' - a serial kid lover/murderer).
    He caused production to be delayed on 'Babes in Toyland' after getting into a drunken brawl at a local bar, which landed him in jail for a week.
    His portrayal of the (much older) Barnaby character has been accused of promoting the age-old anti-Semitic stereotype of 'the Jewish moneylender' (in a Christmas classic, no less).
    During early screenings of the film, audiences tended to boo and hiss whenever his character came onto the screen, and to cheer when he was driven out of Toyland. When this was done at the premiere of the film, Brandon allegedly stood up, snarled his characteristic 'Baah!!' and walked over to the bar for a drink (no one dared follow).
    He did several offensive Fu Manchu serial films, each time in the title role.
    His 'Fu Manchu' serial line was cancelled by Republic Pictures, under pressure from the State Department, out of fear of offending the Chinese (vital to the Japanese opposition during WWII).
    He was of German-Jewish descent (emigrating to the US with his parents when he was an infant).
    Like Paul Muni or Alec Guinness, he had a knack for 'becoming' or 'transforming' into every role he played, with remarkable versatility.
    Old movie fans have a very difficult time reconciling the notion that the virile Indian chief from 'The Searchers' and the vile old goat in 'Toyland' are actually the same person.
    He vocally detested being made to watch his own films at special screening events (usually 'fake sleeping' through them).
    He was always in demand for Laurel/Hardy ‘Sons of the Desert’ fan functions, particularly for holiday events, and made it a point to attend whenever possible.
    His big break came when Hal Roach started casting around for the perfect actor to portray the larger-than-life villain, Barnaby, for the big-budget musical 'Babes in Toyland.'
    When he attended a stage production of 'The Drunkard,' Roach found himself impressed with the actor playing the miserly and sadistic old Cribbs, and promptly requested a meeting.
    When the 21-year-old Brandon showed up at his office, the next morning, Roach reportedly exclaimed 'You're not the old Son-of-a-Bitch that I saw the other night!' (Brandon won the role decisively on that interaction alone).
    He managed the rare feat of making John Wayne and Errol Flynn look short in their scenes together in 'The Searchers' and 'Edge of Darkness' (respectively) despite both men's daunting 6'2 heights.
    He was known for responding to fans who attempted to assign greater meaning to the Barnaby character by succinctly retorting 'aah, he was just an old fart!'
    He had to put up with abrasive goading from John Ford during the filming of 'The Searchers,' who detested Brandon's Shakespearean stage background (privately referring to Ford as an 'evil bastard' from then on).
    He reportedly asked Ford on one occasion why he cast him in the role of Chief Scar, when his 'blue eyes' had cost him so many ethnic roles in the past; Ford replied that 'the exception, dramatically speaking, is more exciting than the rule.'
    Brandon attested to getting many a role by quoting Ford thereafter (Ford would cast him, again as an Indian, in 'Two Rode Together, as Quanah Parker).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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