Actor Appreciation: George E. Stone

You might recognize character actor George E. Stone (1903-1967), whose birthday it is today, if you have ever seen any of these classic films: 7th Heaven (1927), The Racket (1928), Little Caesar (1931), Cimarron (1931), The Front Page (1931), Five Star Final (1931), Taxi! (1932), The Vampire Bat (1933), 42nd Street (1933), Viva Villa! (1934), Bullets or Ballots (1936), Anthony Adverse (1936), North West Mounted Police (1940), Guys and Dolls (1955), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), Some Like It Hot (1959).

One of Stone’s most memorable bits of dialogue is in 42nd Street, in which Stone recognizes Ginger Rogers’ character and says: “Not Anytime Annie? Say, who could forget her? She only said no once and then she didn’t hear the question.”

Over three decades Stone built up a solid résumé. He was particularly well-known for his recurring role in the Boston Blackie series playing “The Runt,” a fitting moniker given his short stature of approximately 5′ 3½”.

In addition to having major supporting roles, Stone had many uncredited parts over the years in films as varied as Daisy Kenyon (1947), Pickup on South Street (1953), The Robe (1953), Broken Lance (1954), The Conqueror (1956), Some Came Running (1958), Alias Jesse James (1959), Bells Are Ringing (1960), Ocean’s Eleven (1960) and Pocketful Miracles (1961).

Stone also got a lot of work on television, including on “The Public Defender,” “Private Secretary,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (as pictured above), “Adventures of Superman,” “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show,” “M Squad,” “Have Gun – Will Travel,” “The Jack Benny Program,” “The Twilight Zone” and 46 episodes of “Perry Mason” (usually playing the court clerk).

I remember Stone best as Toothpick Charlie in Some Like It Hot (“If Colombo sees me, it’s gonna be ‘Goodbye Charlie!'”), but his long career gave him many memorable roles. Maybe next time you’re watching one of the famous films I mentioned, or any of Stone’s other notable features, you’ll say: “Hey, I know that guy!”


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