Biography

Former vaudevillian, who acquired a solid reputation as a practical joker and master of insult, second only to the great Groucho Marx. Celebrity hosts would often hire Vince to perform gags and put-on jokes at their lavish parties, where he would insult the guests and create mayhem in his wake. He often posed as heavily-accented journalists with names like 'Timothy Glutzspiegel'. Among the many victims of his pranks were such luminaries as Winston Churchill, Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford and the Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen. Clark Gable nearly punched him out during a party given by Joan Crawford. Vince greeted Greta Garbo with "Good Morning, Miss Hepburn", and, as 'sound expert' Dr. Hoffman, instructed star Richard Barthelmess to take voice lessons from Texas Guinan or quit acting. During a trip to New York, he even cornered Mae West, posing as a member of the vice squad and threatening to close down her show ('Diamond Lil') unless she cut some of her bawdy dialogue. When the star acquiesced, the phoney inspector ordered her to burn the whole play and take the next train out of town. Not even Jack L. Warner was immune, being told by 'foreign producer' Barnett to learn the basics of film-making.

Roly-poly, moustachioed, bald-pated Barnett followed in the footsteps of his father Luke, who had made a name for himself for playing similar pranks on people for thirty years in his home town of Pittsburgh. After studying at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Vince, who was an avid amateur pilot, flew mail planes for a couple of years before making his stage debut with "Earl Carroll's Vanities" in 1926. The following year, he acted on Broadway in "George White's Scandals". Movie roles soon followed. From 1930, Vince appeared, usually as comedy relief, in films and on television in a career spanning 45 years. Among his best-regarded early roles were Scarface (1932),as a dumb gangster; The Big Cage (1933), Thirty Day Princess (1934) and, in a perfectly-suited Runyonesque part, Princess O'Hara (1935). In later years, Vince often relinquished his comedy image and was seen in innumerable small roles, often as careworn little men, undertakers, janitors, bartenders and drunks in pictures ranging from films noir like The Killers (1946), to westerns such as Springfield Rifle (1952).

In one of his last public appearances, Vince showcased his unique brand of humour with a monologue, delivered at Madison Square Garden in the vaudeville revue 'The Big Show of 1936'. It was to his ever-lasting regret that he never got the chance to match wits (and insults) with his illustrious Irish contemporary George Bernard Shaw.

Former vaudevillian, who acquired a solid reputation as a practical joker and master of insult, second only to the great Groucho Marx. Celebrity hosts would often hire Vince to perform gags and put-on jokes at their lavish parties, where he would insult the guests and create mayhem in his wake. He often posed as heavily-accented journalists with names like 'Timothy Glutzspiegel'. Among the many victims of his pranks were such luminaries as Winston Churchill, Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford and the Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen. Clark Gable nearly punched him out during a party given by Joan Crawford. Vince greeted Greta Garbo with "Good Morning, Miss Hepburn", and, as 'sound expert' Dr. Hoffman, instructed star Richard Barthelmess to take voice lessons from Texas Guinan or quit acting. During a trip to New York, he even cornered Mae West, posing as a member of the vice squad and threatening to close down her show ('Diamond Lil') unless she cut some of her bawdy dialogue. When the star acquiesced, the phoney inspector ordered her to burn the whole play and take the next train out of town. Not even Jack L. Warner was immune, being told by 'foreign producer' Barnett to learn the basics of film-making.

Roly-poly, moustachioed, bald-pated Barnett followed in the footsteps of his father Luke, who had made a name for himself for playing similar pranks on people for thirty years in his home town of Pittsburgh. After studying at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Vince, who was an avid amateur pilot, flew mail planes for a couple of years before making his stage debut with "Earl Carroll's Vanities" in 1926. The following year, he acted on Broadway in "George White's Scandals". Movie roles soon followed. From 1930, Vince appeared, usually as comedy relief, in films and on television in a career spanning 45 years. Among his best-regarded early roles were Scarface (1932),as a dumb gangster; The Big Cage (1933), Thirty Day Princess (1934) and, in a perfectly-suited Runyonesque part, Princess O'Hara (1935). In later years, Vince often relinquished his comedy image and was seen in innumerable small roles, often as careworn little men, undertakers, janitors, bartenders and drunks in pictures ranging from films noir like The Killers (1946), to westerns such as Springfield Rifle (1952).

In one of his last public appearances, Vince showcased his unique brand of humour with a monologue, delivered at Madison Square Garden in the vaudeville revue 'The Big Show of 1936'. It was to his ever-lasting regret that he never got the chance to match wits (and insults) with his illustrious Irish contemporary George Bernard Shaw.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 128

Birthday 1902-07-04

Day of Death 1977-08-10

Place of Birth Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • Vincent Barnett
  • Vincent L. Barnett

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1974 Summer School Teachers as Principal Adams
1968 Here's Lucy (1 episode)
1967 Cimarron Strip (1 episode)
1965 Green Acres (5 episodes)
1965 The Family Jewels as Automobile Owner at Gas Station
1963 Glynis (1 episode)
1960 The Andy Griffith Show (3 episodes)
1959 The Rookie as Pentagon janitor
1958 Girl on the Run as Janitor
1957 Perry Mason (1 episode)
1957 Outlaw Queen as Gamler
1953 Letter to Loretta (1 episode)
1953 The Jazz Singer as Bartender
1952 Carson City as Henry
1951 Kentucky Jubilee as Mugsy
1950 Hunt the Man Down as Joe (uncredited)
1950 Border Treasure as Pokey
1950 Mule Train as Joe - Barber
1949 Deputy Marshal as Hotel Clerk
1948 Loaded Pistols as Sam Gardner
1948 Thunder in the Pines as Bernard, the Bartender
1948 Big Town Scandal as Louie Snead - the bondsman
1947 High Wall as Henry Cronner
1947 Big Town After Dark as Louie Snead
1947 Brute Force as Muggsy
1947 The Trespasser as Bartender
1947 Little Miss Broadway as Mack Truck
1947 Gas House Kids Go West as Steve
1947 Shoot to Kill as Charlie Gill
1947 I Cover Big Town as Louis Murkil
1946 The Killers as Charleston
1946 The Virginian as Baldy
1946 The Falcon's Alibi as Goldie Locke
1946 The Lady or the Tiger? as The King
1946 No Leave, No Love as Ben
1945 Sensation Hunters as Agent
1945 River Gang as Organ Grinder
1945 Thrill of a Romance as Oscar
1945 High Powered as Worker at Dance
1945 The Big Show-Off as Voice Student
1944 Leave It to the Irish as Barney Baker
1944 Sweethearts of the U.S.A. as Clipper - 3rd Robber
1943 Danger! Women at Work as Benny
1943 Tornado as Alvin
1943 Petticoat Larceny as Stogie
1943 Captive Wild Woman as Curly, a rube
1943 Kid Dynamite as Klinkhammer
1943 Cosmo Jones, Crime Smasher as Henchman 'Gimp'
1942 Queen of Broadway as Schultz
1942 X Marks the Spot as Waiter at Diner
1942 Bowery at Midnight as Charley
1942 Foreign Agent as Silly Drunk at Bar
1942 My Favorite Spy as Kay's 2nd Taxi Driver
1942 Gallant Lady as Baldy
1942 Stardust on the Sage as Haskins
1942 Klondike Fury as Alaska
1942 Girls' Town as Dimitri
1941 How to Hold Your Husband - BACK as Husband #2 (uncredited)
1941 Blonde Comet as Curly
1941 Jungle Man as Buckthorn 'Buck' the Guide
1941 A Dangerous Game as Ephriam
1941 Puddin' Head as Broken Teapot Man
1941 Paper Bullets as Scribbler, a Petty Forger
1941 Mr. District Attorney as Coroner's Messenger
1941 What the Country Needs as Political Speaker / Singer
1940 Seven Sinners as Bartender
1940 Boys of the City as Simp
1940 East Side Kids as Whisper
1939 Overland Mail as Porchy
1939 Exile Express as Deputy Constable
1939 Ride 'em, Cowgirl as Dan Haggerty
1939 Water Rustlers as Mike - the cook
1938 Sunset Murder Case as Barney
1938 The Singing Cowgirl as Kewpie
1937 Boots of Destiny as Acey Ducey- Sidekick
1937 Bank Alarm as Clarence "Bulb" Callahan
1937 The Woman I Love as Mathieu
1936 We're in the Legion Now as Spike Conover
1936 Captain Calamity as Burp
1936 Yellow Cargo as Speedy 'Bulbs' Callahan
1936 I Cover Chinatown as Puss McGaffey, the Bus Driver
1936 Sunkist Stars at Palm Springs
1936 Down to the Sea as Hector
1936 Dancing Feet as Willoughby
1936 The Brain Busters as Vince
1935 Pirate Party on Catalina Isle as Performer
1935 I Live My Life as Clerk
1935 Just Another Murder as Vincent Smart
1935 Streamline Express as Mr. Jones
1935 Don't Bet On Blondes as Chuck aka 'Brains'
1935 Black Fury as Kubanda
1935 Princess O'Hara as Fingers
1934 The Secret Bride as Drunk in Diner
1934 Crimson Romance as The Courier
1934 No Ransom as Bullet
1934 Young and Beautiful as Sammy
1934 Kansas City Princess as Quincy - Dynamite's Henchman
1934 Super Stupid
1934 She Loves Me Not as Baldy Schultz
1934 The Affairs of Cellini as Ascanio
1934 Take the Stand as Tony
1934 Now I'll Tell as Peppo
1934 Thirty Day Princess as Count Nicholeus
1934 Registered Nurse as Jerry
1934 Madame Spy as Peter
1934 The 9th Guest as William Jones
1933 Air Maniacs as Comic Photographer
1933 The Prizefighter and the Lady as Bugsie
1933 Man of the Forest as Little
1933 Sunset Pass as Windy
1933 The Girl in 419 as Otto Hoffer
1933 The Big Cage as Soupmeat
1933 Fast Workers as Spike
1933 The Trial of Vince Barnett
1933 Hallelujah I'm a Bum as Undetermined Secondary Role
1932 Flesh as Waiter
1932 The Death Kiss as Officer Gulliver
1932 Rackety Rax as 'Dutch'
1932 Ma's Pride and Joy as Sidney Goldblatt
1932 Heritage of the Desert as Windy
1932 Tiger Shark as Fishbone, a Crewman
1932 Horse Feathers as Speakeasy Patron (uncredited)
1932 Scarface as Angelo
1931 Side Show as The Great Santini
1931 Scandal Sheet as Barrett, Convict Reporter
1930 All Quiet on the Western Front as Assistant Cook (uncredited)
1930 Wide Open as Dvorak
1930 Her Man as Waiter

By signing up for an account on TMDb, you can post directly to Twitter and Facebook.

You need to be logged in to continue. Click here to login or here to sign up.

Global

s focus the search bar
p open profile menu
esc close an open window
? open keyboard shortcut window

On media pages

b go back (or to parent when applicable)
e go to edit page

On TV season pages

(right arrow) go to next season
(left arrow) go to previous season

On TV episode pages

(right arrow) go to next episode
(left arrow) go to previous episode

On all image pages

a open add image window

On all edit pages

t open translation selector
ctrl+ s submit form

On discussion pages

n create new discussion
w toggle watching status
p toggle public/private
c toggle close/open
a open activity
r reply to discussion
l go to last reply
ctrl+ enter submit your message
(right arrow) next page
(left arrow) previous page