Jimmy
Conlin



JIMMY CONLIN was born James Patrick Conlin in Camden, New Jersey on October 14, 1884. He was one of nine children born to William Conlin and his wife, the former Catherine "Kate" Manning. His father was a shoemaker. The Conlins had come to Camden in the 1870s. Son Charles was born in Camden in January of 1876. The 1878 City Directory shows the Conlins at 233 Taylor Avenue. When Jimmy Conlin was born the family lives at 211 Taylor Avenue. His father had opened a shoe factory at 104 South 2nd Street. The Conlins moved to 521 Taylor Street shortly before the 1890 Camden City Directory was compiled, and remained there into 1895, when they moved to 836 Federal Street, where they stayed as late as 1897. In that year his father and brother John J. Conlin moved the business, now called William Conlin & Son, to 238-240 Liberty Street. William Conlin and family moved to 222 South 5th Street, then returned to the 800 block of Federal Street, where they are listed in the 1898, 1899 and 1900 Coty Dirrectories at 822 Federal.

The Conlin family had been fairly well off. Young Jimmy was given piano lessons and, as his father wanted him to be a concert pianist, was studying at the Philadelphia Conservtory of Music. As Conlin himself related in an interview late in life, when the business failed, the lessons stopped. Jimmy Conlin's next step was to seek out a career in show business.

The 1900 Census shows Jimmy Conlin and his Conlin family at 822 Federal Street in Camden. Six of the nine Conlin children were still alive, and four of them were living at that address. The family included his parents, older brothers Daniel and Charles, widowed sister Mrs. Margaret [Mary] Mullane and her son Leo, and a thirteen-year old cousin, Catharine Manning. Older brothers John J. Conlin and Frank had wed and moved out on his own in the 1890s, they moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the 1900s and went into the shoe manufacturing business. 1903 and 1904 Directories show William and Kate Conlin at 43 North 21at Street in East Camden. By 1910 William Conlin had passed away and Kate Conlin had moved, along with son Daniel and grandson Leo Mullane, to Lancaster, where they lived with daughter Margaret, her husband Paul Steiner and their two sons. Kate Conlin died during the 1910s.

After learning his craft playing in traveling medicine shows, Jimmy Conlin graduated to better things. From the late 1900s though the 1930s he worked in vaudeville on the Keith-Albee and Orpheum circuits (Keith-Albee-Orpheum after 1927, Radio-Keith-Orpheum after 1928). In 1907 he married Lillian G. Steel, a fellow performer, and the two performed together for several years. When not on the road the young couple lived at 2026 South 7th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her parents, Josiah and Nellie Steel. The Conlins had two children, daughter Kathleen Grace and son James P. Conlin Jr., born July 25, 1908. Sadly, James Jr. died of "cholera infantum" brought on by teething two days short of his first birthday. Funeral arrangements were handled by Camden undertaker Martin J. O'Brien and the young lad was most likely buried at St. Patrick's Cemetery in East CamdenThe 1910 Census shows them living with his wife's parents, at 5545 Pemberton Street in Philadelphia. 

Freom 1907 into 1910, Jimmy and Lillian, billed as "Conlin and Steele", are known to have appeared as the old Bradway Theatre in Camden, on vaudeville stages in Philadelphia, central and eastern Pennsylvania, Trenton, and several cities in northern New Jersey, and may have worked farther afield. By the end of 1910 they had brought Eddie Carr into the act.   

In the latter part of 1911, Jimmy Conlin and Lillian Steele toured the Western states with their parner Eddie Carr. Billed as Conlin, Steele and Carr, they appeared in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco in September, and in Salt Lake City and Denver in November.

Daughter  Kathleen, who traveled with her parents as they played at theaters across the country, died in Kansas in 1915. The Conlins separated, and in 1916 Jimmy Conlin began working with Chicago-born singer Myrtle Glass. Lillian Steele was granted a divorce in Philadelphia in March of 1917. 

Jimmy Conlin married Myrtle Glass shortly thereafter. Jimmy Conlin and his second wife  continued to play the Keith-Albee and Orpheum circuits, billed as "Conlin & Glass", a song and dance team. By the summer of 1928 they were making their home, while not on tour, on Long Island in the town of Freeport, New York. They appeared in Australia and most likely also in New Zealand  in October of 1928, returning to the United States aboard the S.S. Sonoma, arriving in San Francisco on November 15, 1928. They also starred together in two short films, Sharps and Flats (1928) and Zip! Boom! Bang! (1929) for Vitaphone.  Conlin made another comedy short without Glass in 1930 (A Tight Squeeze). Jimmy and Myrtle Conlin appeared in Europe in the winter of 1931, returning aboard the ocean liner S.S. Ile de France, arriving in New York on February 24th of that year. 

Happily enough for you and I, Conlin's first film has been restored as part of The Vitaphone Project. Two clips from Sharps and Flats are, as of May 2017, available for viewing on Youtube, and a quite interesting review of the film, The Forgotten Sharps and Flats, was written in 2014.

Scrawny, unprepossessing, and rustic-looking, the versatile comedian decided there must be some director who could use his gifts and he became a character actor. Mostly uncredited bit parts awaited him but occasionally there was a larger payday thanks to an occasional featured role.  

His film career started for good in 1933, and for the next 27 years, with the single exception of 1951, every year saw the release of at least one film in which Conlin appeared at the height of his career, often more than a dozen of them. Instantly recognizable by his small size and odd appearance, Conlin played all sorts of small roles, so many of them that while his name may have not been known to movie-goers of the day, his face certainly was.

For 30 years, from 1928 to 1959, Jimmy Conlin was cast as an actor for 150 projects for movies and television. He worked with many of the leading stars of his era.

In 1940 he appeared with Mae West and W.C. Fields in as Squawk Mulligan, bartender, in "My Little Chickadee". He played another bartender, Charley, 14 years later in the cozy Irish neighborhood saloon setting of "Duffy's Tavern," a TV series. 

In the 1940s, Conlin was part of Preston Sturges' unofficial "stock company" of character actors, appearing in nine films written and directed by Sturges. His roles in Sturges' films were often sizable and often came with good billing. One of his best performances came in Sturges' The Sin of Harold Diddlebock in 1946, when he play "Wormy", the racetrack tout who convinces Harold Lloyd to have his first drink, setting off the events of the film. The loyalty between Sturges and Conlin ran both ways, and when the former golden boy of Hollywood fell on hard times, Conlin remained a friend, stayed in contact, and helped out in any way he could.

Jimmy and Myrtle Conlin were living full-time in Los Angeles by 1935. The 1940 Cesus shows them living at 16150 Camarillo Street in Encino, California. Myrtle Glass Conlin passed away in Los Angeles on May 13, 1945. Jimmy Conlin remained at that address into 1952.

Besides his work in movies, Jimmy Conlin continued to perform live on stage. In 1928 Jimmy Conlin and Myrtle Glass were working in Seattle when Myrtle took ill and was unable to go on stage. Also in Seattle that night was Dorothy Ryan of the sister act, Dorothy and Rosetta Ryan. Dorothy went on stage for Myrtle that night, and after her death, Jimmy Conlin revived his vaudeville act with Dorothy Ryan as his new partner. They were married in 1948. The couple appeared in small and medium-sized venues across the West and Midwest as late as June of 1960, when they  played the King's Club in Dallas Texas. Jimmy Conlin also found work in the new medium, television. As stated above, he had a regular role as bartender in the show Duffy's Tavern.

Jimmy Conlin was 75 years old when he bid farewell to the small screen with a fascinating guest-starring role on the series "Philip Marlowe," an episode called "Mother Dear" (released in December 1959). Also guest-starring in "Mother Dear" on this popular TV detective show based on the writing of Raymond Chandler was actor Franco Corsaro, who also had worked with Mae West, as the Italian officer in scenes for 1935's "Goin' to Town". Corsaro had also completed taping the "Around the World With Nellie Bly", an original musical comedy that aired on the NBC televison network on January 3, 1960. The show, which starred Janet Blair in the title role and Cornel Wilde, is especially interesting in that no less than 21 veteran character actors and actresses, each with over 100 screen credits, were cast in the many vignettes that comprised the show.   

In his final film role Jimmy Conlin played a habitual criminal in the 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder, with James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, and George C. Scott, among others.

Cancer claimed Jimmy Conlin. He died in Encino, California on Monday, May 7, 1962. He was 77. Survived by his wife Dorothy, he was buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles County,California. 



Philadelphia Inquirer
January 10, 1907

Philadelphia Inquirer
January 29, 1907

Wilkes-Barre Tims-Leader
May 2, 1907

Philadelphia Inquirer
November 10, 1907



Philadelphia Inquirer

November 10, 1907






Philadelphia Inquirer
September 20, 1908

Philadelphia Inquirer
September 22, 1908




Philadelphia Inquirer - July 25, 1909




Harrisburg Patriot - November 29, 1910



Harrisburg Patriot - November 29, 1910





Portland Orgonian

September 12, 1911


Salt Lake City Telegram - November 11, 1911

Rocky Mountain News - November 21, 1911
Denver, Colorado



Springfield Daily News - December 11, 1914
Springfield, Massachusetts



Fort Worth Star-Telegram - February 2, 1915

...continued...



New York Clipper - April 4, 1917


Richmand
Times-Dispatch

September 9, 1917



Montgomery Advertiser
Montgomery, Alabama
September 27, 1917 




World War I Draft Card




Seattle Daily Times - March 25, 1928
...continued...

Seattle Daily Times - March 25, 1928
Dorothy & Rosetta Ryan


Sharps & Flats-1928
Download Sharps And Flats (25 mb)

Jimmy Conlin
&
Myrtle Glass
in
Sharps And Flats
1928


New Orleans Times-Picayune

December 21, 1929



Charlotte Observer
January 16, 1930





World War II Draft Card - April 25, 1942


St. Petersburg
Evening Independent
St. Petersburg, Florida
August 19, 1948



Idaho Statesman - January 21, 1950
Boise, Idaho


Idaho Statesman - January 21, 1950
Boise, Idaho

Omaha World-Herald * January 26, 1958

Omaha World-Herald * October 6, 1958




Richmond Times-Dispatch * January 3, 1960

...continued...

Janet Blair - Cornel Wilde - Jerome Cowan - Addison Richards - Jack La Rue - Sig Ruman
John Qualen -
Lyle Talbot - William Bakewell - Eddie Quillan - Margaret Dumont - Esther Dale
Iris Adrian - Pierre Watkin
- John Harmon - Irving Bacon - Almira Sessions
Dick Elliot - Tom Kennedy - Grady Sutton - Ralph Sanford
Press Photo



San Diego Union

May 8, 1962



Jimmy Conlin's Filmography from IMDB.com
Note: IMDB.com is/was not aware of his appearance in Sharps and Flats (1928)
or of his and many others' appearances in
the 1960 televison production of Around the World With Nellie Bly

Filmography

Jump to: Actor | Soundtrack | Self | Archive footage
Hide HideActor (150 credits)
 1959Philip Marlowe (TV Series) 
Fennedy
- Mother Dear (1959) ... Fennedy (as James Conlin)
 1959Anatomy of a Murder 
Clarence Madigan
 1955The Seven Little Foys 
Stage Doorman in 1898 Chicago (uncredited)
 1954Duffy's Tavern (TV Series) 
Charley
- Archie Buys a Racehorse (1954) ... Charley
- The Heir ... Charley
- The Gypsy Princess ... Charley
 1952The Jazz Singer 
Mr. Demming, Photographer (uncredited)
 1951On Dangerous Ground 
Doc Hyman (uncredited)
 1950Sideshow 
Johnny
 1950Operation Haylift 
Ed North
 1950The Great Rupert 
Joe Mahoney
 1949The Inspector General 
Turnkey (uncredited)
 1949Prejudice 
Young Joe
 1949Tulsa 
Homer Triplette
 1949Knock on Any Door 
Kid Fingers Carnahan (uncredited)
 1948Hazard 
Mr. Tilson (uncredited)
 1948Smart Woman 
Miller (uncredited)
 1947The Hucksters 
Blake - Blue Penguin Inn Proprietor
 1947The Trouble with Women 
Mr. Pooler (uncredited)
 1947Dick Tracy's Dilemma 
Sightless
 1947It's a Joke, Son! 
Senator Alexander P. Leeds
 1946Cross My Heart 
Jury Foreman (uncredited)
 1946Rolling Home 
Grandpa Crawford (as James Conlin)
 1946Blue Skies 
Jeffrey - Valet (uncredited)
 1946Two Sisters from Boston 
Grandpa Chandler (uncredited)
 1946Whistle Stop 
Al - the Barber
 1945An Angel Comes to Brooklyn 
Cornelius Terwilliger
 1945Fallen Angel 
Walton Hotel Clerk (uncredited)
 1945What, No Cigarettes? (Short) 
Wilbur
 1945Penthouse Rhythm 
Justice of the Peace (uncredited)
 1945Don Juan Quilligan 
Marriage Bureau Clerk (uncredited)
 1945Honeymoon Ahead 
Grant (uncredited)
 1945G.I. Honeymoon 
Telegram Messenger (uncredited)
 1945It's a Pleasure 
Messenger (uncredited)
 1945The Picture of Dorian Gray 
Pub Pianist (uncredited)
 1945Bring on the Girls 
Justice of the Peace (uncredited)
 1944The Town Went Wild 
Lemuel Jones, Justice of the Peace
 1944Army Wives 
Stan
 1944Lost in a Harem 
Arab Follower (uncredited)
 1944The Great Moment 
Mr. Burnett, Pharmacist (uncredited)
 1944Hail the Conquering Hero 
Judge Dennis
 1944Summer Storm 
Man Mailing Letter (uncredited)
 1944Man from Frisco 
Mayor's Secretary (uncredited)
 1944It Happened Tomorrow 
Man at Boardinghouse (uncredited)
 1944Gambler's Choice 
Nicky (uncredited)
 1944And the Angels Sing 
Messenger (uncredited)
 1944The Miracle of Morgan's Creek 
Mayor (uncredited)
 1944Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves 
Little Thief
 1943Old Acquaintance 
Frank - Photographer (uncredited)
 1943Swing Shift Maisie 
Man at Meeting (uncredited)
 1943This Is the Army 
Stage Doorman (uncredited)
 1943Petticoat Larceny 
Jitters
 1943Dixie 
Publisher (uncredited)
 1943Hitler's Madman 
Dvorak - the Shopkeeper
 1943Jitterbugs 
Barker for Bearded Lady (uncredited)
 1943Taxi, Mister 
Cassidy, Disgruntled ex-Ballplayer
 1943Slightly Dangerous 
Bartender at Opera (uncredited)
 1943Calaboose 
Charlie the Drunk (uncredited)
 1942Ice-Capades Revue 
Biddle (uncredited)
 1942Madame Spy 
Winston
 1942The Palm Beach Story 
Mr. Asweld
 1942The Forest Rangers 
Otto Hanson
 1942The Man in the Trunk 
Debt Collector (uncredited)
 1942Are Husbands Necessary? 
Mover (uncredited)
 1942Private Buckaroo 
Uncle (uncredited)
 1942Broadway 
Newsman (uncredited)
 1942The Remarkable Andrew 
Private Henry Bartholomew Smith
 1942The Lady Is Willing 
Bum (uncredited)
 1942Obliging Young Lady 
Mr. McIntyre - Linda's Neighbor (uncredited)
 1942Call Out the Marines 
Little Man (uncredited)
 1942Woman of the Year 
Reporter at Bar (uncredited)
 1941Sullivan's Travels 
Trusty
 1941Look Who's Laughing 
Brush Salesman (uncredited)
 1941New York Town 
Burt the Newsman (uncredited)
 1941The Gay Falcon 
Bartender at Party (uncredited)
 1941Man at Large 
Stuttering Tenant (uncredited)
 1941Unexpected Uncle 
Muriel's Husband, Kerrigan employee (uncredited)
 1941Out of the Fog 
Card Game Kibitzer (uncredited)
 1941Hurry, Charlie, Hurry 
Murphy, the Handyman (uncredited)
 1941A Shot in the Dark 
Hotel Desk Clerk (uncredited)
 1941Footlight Fever 
First Furniture Mover (uncredited)
 1941The Lady Eve 
Third Steward (uncredited)
 1941Let's Make Music 
Jim, the Pianist (uncredited)
 1940Second Chorus 
Mr. Dunn (as Jimmy Conlon)
 1940Christmas in July 
Arbuster (uncredited)
 1940So You Won't Talk 
Stagehand (uncredited)
 1940Angels Over Broadway 
Pawn Shop Proprietor (uncredited)
 1940Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum 
Barker (uncredited)
 1940The Great McGinty 
The Lookout
 1940Wagons Westward 
Jake the Storekeeper (uncredited)
 1940Florian 
Stock Guard (uncredited)
 1940The Way of All Flesh 
Second Hobo (uncredited)
 1940Edison, the Man 
Waiter (uncredited)
 1940Two Girls on Broadway 
Poem Vendor (uncredited)
 1940King of the Lumberjacks 
Jimmy, the Piano Player (uncredited)
 1940Three Cheers for the Irish 
Riley - Party Guest (uncredited)
 1940Honeymoon Deferred 
Detective (uncredited)
 1940My Little Chickadee 
Squawk Mulligan - Bartender (uncredited)
 1940Calling Philo Vance 
Dr. Doremus - Coroner (as Jimmy Conlon)
 1939The Amazing Mr. Williams 
Master of Ceremonies (uncredited)
 1939$1000 a Touchdown 
Sheriff (uncredited)
 1939No Place to Go 
Rivers (as James Conlon)
 1939Naughty But Nice 
Pedestrian (scenes deleted)
 1939Torchy Runs for Mayor 
Coroner (uncredited)
 1939Nancy Drew... Reporter 
Newspaper Morgue-Keeper (uncredited)
 1939Idiot's Delight 
Stagehand (uncredited)
 1938Sweethearts 
Properties Man (uncredited)
 1938Comet Over Broadway 
Burlesque Comic (uncredited)
 1938The Shining Hour 
Man Shaving on Plane (uncredited)
 1938Hard to Get 
Dour Diner (uncredited)
 1938Broadway Musketeers 
Mr. Hobart Skinner (as James Conlon)
 1938Smashing the Rackets 
Witness (uncredited)
 1938Prison Farm 
Dave, the Grocer (uncredited)
 1938Cocoanut Grove 
Motel Proprietor (uncredited)
 1938Torchy Blane in Panama 
Brother Botkin, a Leopard (as James Conlon)
 1938Over the Wall 
Davis' Handler (uncredited)
 1938He Couldn't Say No 
Ambulance Driver (uncredited)
 1938The Big Broadcast of 1938 
1st Reporter (uncredited)
 1938Blondes at Work 
Coroner (uncredited)
 1938Crashing Hollywood 
Crisby (as James Conlin)
 1937Mannequin 
Elevator Operator (uncredited)
 1937The Adventurous Blonde 
Dr. Henry Bolger, Coroner (as James Conlon)
 1937Living on Love 
Man with Monkey (uncredited)
 1937Mountain Music 
Medicine Show Shill (uncredited)
 1937Captains Courageous 
Martin (uncredited)
 1937The Man Who Found Himself 
Nosey Watson
 1937Find the Witness 
Swifty Mullins (uncredited)
 1936Arizona Mahoney 
Man in Hay Bill Gag (uncredited)
 1936The Accusing Finger 
Bill Poster (uncredited)
 1936Rose Bowl 
Browning Hills (as James Conlin)
 1936And Sudden Death 
Mr. Tweets
 1936Rose-Marie 
Joe - Piano Player (uncredited)
 1935The Bride Comes Home 
Len Noble (as James Conlin)
 1934365 Nights in Hollywood 
Heeber, Student Actor (uncredited)
 1934She Learned About Sailors 
Irate Neighbor (uncredited)
 1934City Limits 
Nap (as James Conlin)
 1934Cross Country Cruise 
Sid (as James Conlin)
 1933Advice to the Lovelorn 
California Booster (uncredited)
 1933Myrt and Marge 
Comedian in Show (uncredited)
 1933The Bowery 
Enlistee (uncredited)
 1933Footlight Parade 
Uncle in 'Honeymoon Hotel' (uncredited)
 1933The Last Trail 
Jimmy, Train Passenger (uncredited)
 1933Grand Slam 
Oscar Smelt (uncredited)
 1930A Tight Squeeze (Short) 
 1929Zip! Boom! Bang! (Short) 
 1928Sharps and Flats (Short) 
Show ShowSoundtrack (4 credits)
Show ShowSelf (2 credits)
Show ShowArchive footage (2 credits)

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