Biography

American character actor whose career lasted nearly half a century. James Wilson Flavin Jr. was the son of a hotel waiter of Canadian-English extraction and a mother, Katherine, whose father was an Irish immigrant. (Thus Flavin, well-known in Hollywood as an "Irish" type, was only one-quarter Irish.) Flavin was born and raised in Portland, Maine (a fact that may have enrichened his later working relationship with director John Ford, also a Portland native). He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, but (contrary to some sources) did not graduate. Instead he dropped out and returned to Portland where he drove a taxi. Then as now, summer stock companies flocked to Maine each year, and in 1929 he was asked to fill in for an actor. He did well with the part and the company manager offered him $150 per week to go with the troupe back to New York. Flavin accepted and by the spring of 1930 was living in a rooming house at 108 W. 87th Street in Manhattan. Flavin didn't manage to crack Broadway at this time (his Broadway debut would not occur for another thirty-nine years, in the 1971 revival of "The Front Page," in which Flavin played Murphy and briefly took over the lead role of Walter Burns from star Robert Ryan). He worked his way across the country in stock productions and tours, arriving in Los Angeles around 1932. He quickly made the transition to movies, landing the lead in his very first film, a Universal serial, The Airmail Mystery (1932). He also landed his leading lady, marrying the serial's female star Lucile Browne that same year. However, the serial marked virtually the last time that Flavin would play the lead in a film. Thereafter, he was restricted almost exclusively to supporting characters, many of them without so much as a name. He specialized in uniformed cops and hard-bitten detectives, but played chauffeurs, cabbies, and even a 16th-century palace guard with aplomb. Flavin appeared in nearly four hundred films between 1932 and 1971, and in almost a hundred television episodes before his final appearance, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident (1976). Flavin died of a heart ailment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on April 23, 1976. His widow Lucile died seventeen days later. They were survived by their son, William James Flavin, subsequently a professor at the United States Army War College. James and Lucile Brown Flavin were buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

American character actor whose career lasted nearly half a century. James Wilson Flavin Jr. was the son of a hotel waiter of Canadian-English extraction and a mother, Katherine, whose father was an Irish immigrant. (Thus Flavin, well-known in Hollywood as an "Irish" type, was only one-quarter Irish.) Flavin was born and raised in Portland, Maine (a fact that may have enrichened his later working relationship with director John Ford, also a Portland native). He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, but (contrary to some sources) did not graduate. Instead he dropped out and returned to Portland where he drove a taxi. Then as now, summer stock companies flocked to Maine each year, and in 1929 he was asked to fill in for an actor. He did well with the part and the company manager offered him $150 per week to go with the troupe back to New York. Flavin accepted and by the spring of 1930 was living in a rooming house at 108 W. 87th Street in Manhattan. Flavin didn't manage to crack Broadway at this time (his Broadway debut would not occur for another thirty-nine years, in the 1971 revival of "The Front Page," in which Flavin played Murphy and briefly took over the lead role of Walter Burns from star Robert Ryan). He worked his way across the country in stock productions and tours, arriving in Los Angeles around 1932. He quickly made the transition to movies, landing the lead in his very first film, a Universal serial, The Airmail Mystery (1932). He also landed his leading lady, marrying the serial's female star Lucile Browne that same year. However, the serial marked virtually the last time that Flavin would play the lead in a film. Thereafter, he was restricted almost exclusively to supporting characters, many of them without so much as a name. He specialized in uniformed cops and hard-bitten detectives, but played chauffeurs, cabbies, and even a 16th-century palace guard with aplomb. Flavin appeared in nearly four hundred films between 1932 and 1971, and in almost a hundred television episodes before his final appearance, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident (1976). Flavin died of a heart ailment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on April 23, 1976. His widow Lucile died seventeen days later. They were survived by their son, William James Flavin, subsequently a professor at the United States Army War College. James and Lucile Brown Flavin were buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 218

Birthday 1906-05-14

Day of Death 1976-04-23

Place of Birth Portland, Maine, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • James William Flavin Jr.
  • James Flaven
  • Jim Flavin

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1976 Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident as President Dwight D. Eisenhower
1969 The Brady Bunch (1 episode)
1967 In Cold Blood as Clarence Duntz
1967 Good Times as Detective Lieutenant
1966 The Pruitts of Southampton (1 episode)
1964 The Addams Family (1 episode)
1963 Mr. Novak (1 episode)
1963 Burke's Law (1 episode)
1962 The Lucy Show (2 episodes)
1962 Sam Benedict (1 episode)
1961 The New Breed (1 episode)
1961 Dr. Kildare (2 episodes)
1961 Cain's Hundred (1 episode)
1961 Mister Ed (7 episodes)
1960 The Roaring 20's (45 episodes)
1960 Surfside 6 (1 episode)
1960 Pete and Gladys (2 episodes)
1960 COronado 9 (1 episode)
1960 Johnny Midnight (1 episode)
1959 The Twilight Zone (1 episode) as Truck Driver
1958 Johnny Rocco as Mooney
1958 Man with a Camera (29 episodes)
1958 The Rifleman (1 episode)
1957 Night Passage as Tim Riley
1957 Richard Diamond, Private Detective (1 episode)
1957 Footsteps in the Night as Mr. Bradbury
1957 Hold That Hypnotist as Jake Morgan
1956 State Trooper (2 episodes)
1956 Francis in the Haunted House as Police Chief Martin
1956 Never Say Goodbye as Timmy
1955 Matinee Theater (1 episode)
1955 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (2 episodes)
1955 Navy Log (2 episodes)
1955 Apache Ambush as Col. Marshall
1955 The Naked Street as Attorney Michael X. Flanders
1955 The Millionaire (1 episode)
1954 Climax! (1 episode)
1954 December Bride (1 episode)
1954 Massacre Canyon as Col. Tarant
1954 Public Defender (1 episode)
1953 The Eddie Cantor Story as Kelly
1953 Hot News as Al Bragg
1953 Letter to Loretta (3 episodes)
1953 Abbott and Costello Go to Mars as First Policeman in Bank
1953 Trouble Along the Way as Coach Buck Holman
1953 I Beheld His Glory as Longinus
1953 General Electric Theater (2 episodes)
1953 Star of Texas as Texas Rangers Capt. Sturdivant
1953 City Detective (1 episode)
1952 Million Dollar Mermaid as Conductor
1952 Cavalcade of America (2 episodes)
1952 Dangerous Assignment (2 episodes)
1951 Hallmark Hall of Fame (2 episodes)
1951 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars (1 episode)
1951 Racket Squad (2 episodes)
1951 Fighting Coast Guard as Commander Rogers
1951 Follow the Sun as Henry Gibbs
1951 According to Mrs. Hoyle as Prosecuting Attorney
1951 Oh, Susanna as Capt. Worth
1951 Operation Pacific as SP Commander
1950 Lux Video Theatre (2 episodes)
1950 Destination Murder as Police Lt. Brewster
1950 Armored Car Robbery as Lt. Phillips
1950 Rock Island Trail as Railroad Workman
1950 Dakota Lil as Secret Service Chief
1949 Prison Warden as Guard Capt. Peter Butler
1949 Blondie Hits the Jackpot as Brophy
1949 Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff as Insp. Wellman
1949 Mighty Joe Young as Schultz
1949 Homicide as Det. Lt. Boylan
1949 Shockproof as Policeman in Park (uncredited)
1948 Bungalow 13 as Lt. Sam Wilson
1948 The Plunderers as Sergeant Major
1948 Sleep, My Love as Lt. Mitchell
1948 One Touch of Venus
1947 Song of the Thin Man as Policeman Reardon
1947 Desert Fury as Sheriff Pat Johnson
1947 Robin Hood Of Texas as Captain Danforth
1947 Dishonored Lady as Police Sgt. Patella
1947 It Happened on Fifth Avenue as First Policeman (uncredited)
1947 Nora Prentiss as District Attorney
1946 Nobody Lives Forever as Shake Thomas
1946 Cloak and Dagger as Col. Walsh
1946 Angel on My Shoulder as Bellamy
1946 Step By Step as Motorcycle Cop
1946 The Missing Lady as Police Insp. Cardona
1946 Easy to Wed as Joe
1946 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers as Detective #1
1946 Rendezvous with Annie as Turnkey
1946 Boys Ranch as Policeman
1946 Sentimental Journey as Detective Sgt. McFarland (uncredited)
1946 Tars and Spars as Chief Bosun Mate Gurney
1945 Mildred Pierce as Detective (uncredited)
1945 Charlie Chan in The Shanghai Cobra as H.R. Jarvis
1945 Anchors Aweigh as Radio Cop
1945 Circumstantial Evidence as Guard
1945 Murder, He Says as Police Officer
1944 Laura as Det. McEveety (uncredited)
1944 Abroad with Two Yanks as Sgt. Wiggins
1944 Once Upon a Time as Man in Subway
1944 Christmas Holiday as Policeman (uncredited)
1944 Uncertain Glory as Captain of Mobile Guard
1943 Corvette K-225 as 1st Lt. Bill Gardner
1943 Murder On The Waterfront as Cmdr. Kalin
1943 So Proudly We Hail as Capt. O'Brien
1943 I Dood It as Federal Agent (uncredited)
1943 Heaven Can Wait as Policeman
1943 Action in the North Atlantic as Merchant Marine School Lieutenant-Commander
1943 Mission to Moscow as American Senator
1943 Air Force as Maj. A.M. Bagley
1943 Something to Shout About as Policeman
1942 Gentleman Jim as George Corbett (uncredited)
1942 Ten Gentlemen From West Point as Capt. Luddy
1942 Thru Different Eyes as Thomas
1942 Tough as They Come as Process Server
1942 Fingers at the Window as Police Lieutenant Schaeffer
1942 Ride 'Em Cowboy as Railroad Detective #2
1942 Treat 'Em Rough as Joe Trosper
1942 A Yank on the Burma Road as Police Dispatcher
1941 The Night of January 16th as Policeman Kelly
1941 I Wake Up Screaming as Detective (uncredited)
1941 New York Town as Recruiting Sergeant (uncredited)
1941 Texas as Abilene Fight Announcer
1941 Hold Back the Dawn as Immigration Guard (uncredited)
1941 We Go Fast as Police Lt. Bardette
1941 Belle Starr as Sergeant
1941 Manpower as Orderly
1941 Affectionately Yours as Tomassetti
1941 Ride on Vaquero as Officer Johnson
1941 Western Union as Deputy Sheriff
1941 Wild Man of Borneo as Policeman
1941 Four Mothers as Demolition Man (uncredited)
1940 Tin Pan Alley as Army Sergeant
1940 The Long Voyage Home as Dock Policeman
1940 The Devil's Pipeline as Dowling
1940 North West Mounted Police as Mountie
1940 Knute Rockne All American as Army Assistant Coach
1940 The Great Profile as Detective
1940 Rhythm on the River as Detective
1940 When the Daltons Rode as Annabella's Brother
1940 The Golden Fleecing as Cop
1940 South of Pago Pago as Cafe Customer
1940 The Way of All Flesh as Policeman
1940 Lucky Cisco Kid as Ranch Foreman
1940 The Ghost Breakers as Hotel Porter
1940 Brother Orchid as Parking Attendant at Fat Dutchy's
1940 Florian as Policeman
1940 La Conga Nights as Grogin
1940 Girl in 313 as Det. Carvin
1940 Johnny Apollo as Prison Guard
1940 It All Came True as Roaring 90's Club Doorman
1940 And One Was Beautiful as McRafferty - Jail Guard
1940 The Grapes of Wrath as Guard (uncredited)
1940 Women Without Names as Guard
1940 Double Alibi as Patrolman Johnson
1940 Castle on the Hudson as Death Row Guard
1940 Broadway Melody of 1940 as Clancy
1940 The Fighting 69th as Supply Sergeant
1940 Remember the Night as Court Attendant (uncredited)
1939 The Cisco Kid and the Lady as Sergeant
1939 Joe and Ethel Turp Call on the President as Policeman
1939 The Roaring Twenties
1939 Fast and Furious as Policeman Guarding Entrance
1939 Irish Luck as Fluger
1939 Each Dawn I Die as Policeman
1939 They Shall Have Music as Police Sergeant (uncredited)
1939 When Tomorrow Comes as Coast Guard Man on Road
1939 They All Come Out as Officer (uncredited)
1939 Mr. Wong in Chinatown as Police Sgt. Jerry
1939 Tell No Tales as Officer Simmons
1939 The Gracie Allen Murder Case as Turnkey
1939 Union Pacific as Paddy (uncredited)
1939 Rose of Washington Square as Guard
1939 Big Town Czar as George Mitchell
1939 Code of the Streets as Doorman
1939 Sergeant Madden as Police Interrogator
1939 Everybody's Baby as Police Announcer (uncredited)
1939 The Ice Follies of 1939 as Doorman
1939 Jesse James as Cavalry Captain
1938 While New York Sleeps as 2nd Cop
1938 Convicts at Large as Detective Sgt. Berkovich
1938 Blondie as Policeman in Accident Car
1938 Lightning Carson Rides Again as Justice Department Agent
1938 Too Hot to Handle as Young Reporter (uncredited)
1938 You Can't Take It with You as Jailer (uncredited)
1938 Gateway as Guard
1938 Alexander's Ragtime Band as Army Captain (uncredited)
1938 Start Cheering as Gas Station Attendant
1938 Night Spot as Kidnapper
1938 Mannequin as Burly Man (uncredited)
1938 Everybody's Doing It as Detective Hayes
1937 Big Town Girl as State Trooper
1937 Live, Love and Learn as Marine Who Likes Painting (uncredited)
1937 Hot Water as Policeman
1937 Dangerously Yours as Driver
1937 Angel's Holiday as Detective
1937 My Dear Miss Aldrich as Dr. Spitzy Calahan
1937 I Promise to Pay as Bill Seaver
1937 Midnight Taxi as Detective McCormick
1937 Dangerous Number as Cab Driver
1936 They Met in a Taxi as Policeman
1936 Charlie Chan at the Race Track as Detective
1935 Shipmates Forever as Lieutenant
1935 Man on the Flying Trapeze as Chauffeur
1935 Woman Wanted as Mac - Policeman
1935 The Daring Young Man as Informant on Telephone
1935 Chinatown Squad as Detective
1935 Captain Hurricane as Freighter Officer
1935 Secrets of Chinatown as Brandhma
1934 The Brand of Hate as Holt Larkins
1934 Baby Take a Bow as Flannigan
1934 The Big Race as Bill Figg
1933 Ship of Wanted Men as Frank Busch
1933 Riot Squad as Det. Mack McCue
1933 Hello, Sister! as Fireman
1933 King Kong as Mate Briggs
1932 The Most Dangerous Game as First Mate on Yacht (uncredited)
1932 The Airmail Mystery as Bob Lee

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