The eternal sidekick- Frank McHugh

Frank McHugh 1898 – 1981

Frank McHugh came from a stage family, first treading the boards at the age of ten. Eventually he served a short stint on Broadway and was hired by Warner Brothers in 1930 as a contract player. Recognizing his versatility Warner had him playing everything from lead actor to comedy relief, but his real forte was playing the sidekick. Throughout his career he would work with almost every star Warner employed including Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, but he became close friends with Jimmy Cagney, appearing with him in eleven movies. McHugh was a master at straight delivery of a snappy line or sarcastic comment, often to the hero. For example, in The Fighting 69th his character deadpanned “Believe me, in the next war there’s gonna be three guys missing – me and the two guys that’s chasin’ me.” In All Through The Night his character Barney was upbraided for speaking ill of a deceased colleague, “Shut up. He’s dead”- to which he replied in a matter of fact way “Well, I’m reasonably sorry.” Though many people didn’t know his name, he was always recognized. When McHugh played a character it wasn’t a character- it was an old friend.

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