Biography

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Qualen (born Johan Mandt Kvalen, December 8, 1899 – September 12, 1987) was a Canadian-American character actor of Norwegian heritage who specialized in Scandinavian roles.

Qualen was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, the son of immigrants from Norway; his father was a Lutheran minister and changed the family's original surname, "Kvalen", to "Qualen" – though some sources give Oleson, later Oleson Kvalen as Qualen's earlier surnames. His father's ministering meant many moves and John was 20 when he graduated from Elgin High School in 1920. Though he was awarded a scholarship to Northwestern University after he won an oratory contest he never attended college. In a Milwaukee Journal interview he said he needed to start working and did so with the Chattaqua Circuit. Eventually reaching Broadway, he gained his big break as the Swedish janitor in Elmer Rice's Street Scene. His movie career began when he recreated the role in the film version. This was followed by his appearance in John Ford's Arrowsmith (1931) which began a more than thirty year membership in the director's "stock company", with important supporting roles in The Searchers (1956), Two Rode Together (1961), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and Cheyenne Autumn (1964).

Appearing in well over one hundred films, and acting extensively on television into the 1970s, Qualen performed many of his roles with various accents, usually Scandinavian, often intended for comic effect. Three of his more memorable roles showcase his versatility. Qualen assumed a Midwestern dialect as Muley, who recounts the destruction of his farm by the bank in Ford's The Grapes of Wrath (1940), and as the confused killer Earl Williams in Howard Hawks' classic comedy His Girl Friday (also 1940). As Berger, the jewelry-selling Norwegian resistance member in Michael Curtiz' Casablanca (1942), he essayed a light Scandinavian accent, but put on a thicker Mediterranean accent as the homeward-bound fisherman Locota in William Wellman's The High and the Mighty (1954)

Qualen was treasurer of The Authors Club and historian of The Masquers, Hollywood's social group for actors.

John Qualen was blind in his later years. He died of heart failure in 1987 in Torrance, California, and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. He was survived by his three daughters.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Qualen (born Johan Mandt Kvalen, December 8, 1899 – September 12, 1987) was a Canadian-American character actor of Norwegian heritage who specialized in Scandinavian roles.

Qualen was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, the son of immigrants from Norway; his father was a Lutheran minister and changed the family's original surname, "Kvalen", to "Qualen" – though some sources give Oleson, later Oleson Kvalen as Qualen's earlier surnames. His father's ministering meant many moves and John was 20 when he graduated from Elgin High School in 1920. Though he was awarded a scholarship to Northwestern University after he won an oratory contest he never attended college. In a Milwaukee Journal interview he said he needed to start working and did so with the Chattaqua Circuit. Eventually reaching Broadway, he gained his big break as the Swedish janitor in Elmer Rice's Street Scene. His movie career began when he recreated the role in the film version. This was followed by his appearance in John Ford's Arrowsmith (1931) which began a more than thirty year membership in the director's "stock company", with important supporting roles in The Searchers (1956), Two Rode Together (1961), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and Cheyenne Autumn (1964).

Appearing in well over one hundred films, and acting extensively on television into the 1970s, Qualen performed many of his roles with various accents, usually Scandinavian, often intended for comic effect. Three of his more memorable roles showcase his versatility. Qualen assumed a Midwestern dialect as Muley, who recounts the destruction of his farm by the bank in Ford's The Grapes of Wrath (1940), and as the confused killer Earl Williams in Howard Hawks' classic comedy His Girl Friday (also 1940). As Berger, the jewelry-selling Norwegian resistance member in Michael Curtiz' Casablanca (1942), he essayed a light Scandinavian accent, but put on a thicker Mediterranean accent as the homeward-bound fisherman Locota in William Wellman's The High and the Mighty (1954)

Qualen was treasurer of The Authors Club and historian of The Masquers, Hollywood's social group for actors.

John Qualen was blind in his later years. He died of heart failure in 1987 in Torrance, California, and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. He was survived by his three daughters.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 152

Birthday 1899-12-08

Day of Death 1987-09-12

Place of Birth Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • John M. Qualen
  • John T. Qualen

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1972 The Streets of San Francisco (1 episode)
1970 The Odd Couple (3 episodes)
1969 Hail, Hero! as Billy Hurd
1966 Jericho (1 episode)
1966 The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1 episode)
1966 A Big Hand for the Little Lady as Jesse Buford
1965 A Patch of Blue as Mr. Faber
1965 Green Acres (2 episodes)
1965 The Sons of Katie Elder as Charlie Biller
1965 I'll Take Sweden as Olaf
1965 Those Calloways as Ernie Evans
1964 No Time for Sergeants (1 episode)
1964 7 Faces of Dr. Lao as Luther Lindquist
1963 The Prize as Oscar
1963 Burke's Law (2 episodes)
1963 Donovan's Reef as Deckhand Who Cries 'Man Overboard' (uncredited)
1962 The Virginian (1 episode)
1962 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance as Peter Ericson
1961 Ben Casey (2 episodes)
1961 Dr. Kildare (1 episode)
1961 Two Rode Together as Ole Knudsen
1961 Mister Ed (3 episodes)
1960 North to Alaska as Logger
1960 The Andy Griffith Show (1 episode) as Henry Bennett
1960 Thriller (1 episode)
1960 Elmer Gantry as Sam - Storekeeper
1960 Hell Bent for Leather as Old Ben
1959 The Alaskans (1 episode)
1959 The Third Man (1 episode)
1959 Tightrope (1 episode)
1959 Anatomy of a Murder as Deputy Sheriff Sulo
1958 Revolt in the Big House as Doc
1958 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (1 episode)
1958 Yancy Derringer (1 episode)
1958 The Donna Reed Show (1 episode)
1958 Bronco (1 episode)
1958 The Gun Runners as Pop
1958 Sea Hunt (1 episode)
1958 My World Dies Screaming as Jonah Snell
1957 Maverick (2 episodes)
1957 Sugarfoot (1 episode)
1957 The Big Land as Sven Johnson
1956 Johnny Concho as Jake
1956 The Searchers as Lars Jorgensen
1955 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (3 episodes)
1955 Cheyenne (1 episode)
1955 Unchained as Leonard Haskins
1955 The Sea Chase as Chief Engineer Schmitt
1955 The Millionaire (1 episode)
1954 The Other Woman as Papasha
1954 Climax! (1 episode)
1954 Passion as Gaspar Melo
1954 December Bride (2 episodes)
1954 The High and the Mighty as Jose Locota
1954 Public Defender (1 episode)
1953 I, the Jury as Dr. R.H. Vickers, Veterinarian
1953 Francis Covers the Big Town as Defense Attorney Cavendish (uncredited)
1953 Ambush at Tomahawk Gap as Jonas P. Travis
1953 General Electric Theater (1 episode)
1952 Hans Christian Andersen as Burgomaster
1951 Dragnet (2 episodes)
1951 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars (2 episodes)
1951 Racket Squad (1 episode)
1951 Goodbye, My Fancy as Professor Dingley
1951 Belle Le Grand as Corky McGee
1950 The Flying Missile as Lars Hansen
1950 Woman on the Run as Maibus
1950 Lux Video Theatre (1 episode)
1950 Buccaneer's Girl as Vegetable Seller
1950 Captain China as Geech
1949 The Big Steal as Julius Seton
1948 The Philco Television Playhouse (1 episode)
1948 16 Fathoms Deep as Capt. Athos
1948 Hollow Triumph as Swangron
1948 Alias a Gentleman as No End
1948 Reaching from Heaven as The Stranger
1947 The Fugitive as A Refugee Doctor
1947 Song of Scheherazade as Lorenzo
1945 Adventure as Model T
1945 Captain Kidd as Bartholomew Blivens
1945 River Gang as Uncle Bill
1945 Roughly Speaking as Svend Olsen
1944 Dark Waters as Uncle Norbert
1944 An American Romance as Anton Dubechek
1944 The Impostor as Monge
1943 Swing Shift Maisie as Horatio Curley
1942 Arabian Nights as Aladdin
1942 Casablanca as Berger
1942 Tortilla Flat as Jose Maria Corcoran
1942 Larceny, Inc. as Sam Bachrach
1942 Jungle Book as The Barber
1942 Breakdowns of 1942 as Himself (uncredited)
1941 All That Money Can Buy as Miser Stevens
1941 New Wine as Hasslinger's Clerk
1941 The Shepherd of the Hills as Coot Royal
1941 Out of the Fog as Olaf Johnson
1941 Million Dollar Baby as Dr. Patterson
1941 Model Wife as The Janitor
1940 The Long Voyage Home as Axel
1940 Knute Rockne All American as Lars Knutson Rockne
1940 Angels Over Broadway as Charles Engle
1940 Babies for Sale as Howard Anderson
1940 Saturday's Children as First Carpenter
1940 Ski Patrol as Gustaf
1940 The Grapes of Wrath as Muley Graves
1940 Blondie on a Budget as Ed Fuddle
1940 His Girl Friday as Earl Williams
1939 Four Wives as Frank
1939 Honeymoon in Bali as Meek Man
1939 Thunder Afloat as Milo
1939 Let Us Live as Dan (uncredited)
1939 Stand Up and Fight as Davy
1938 The Mad Miss Manton as Night Watchman at Subway Construction Site
1938 Five of a Kind as Asa Wyatt
1938 The Chaser as Lars
1938 Joy of Living as Oswego
1937 The Bad Man of Brimstone as Loco
1937 Nothing Sacred as Fireman (uncredited)
1937 Fit for a King as Otto
1937 She Had to Eat as Sleepy
1937 Angel's Holiday as Waldo Everett
1937 Fifty Roads to Town as Sheriff Dow
1937 Seventh Heaven as Sewer Rat
1936 Reunion as Asa Wyatt
1936 Girls Dormitory as Toni
1936 Meet Nero Wolfe as Olaf
1936 The Country Doctor as Asa Wyatt
1936 Wife vs. Secretary as Mr. Jenkins (uncredited)
1936 Ring Around the Moon as Bill Harvey
1935 Man of Iron as Collins - a Factory Worker
1935 Whipsaw as Will Dabson
1935 The Three Musketeers as Planchet
1935 Thunder in the Night as Hotel Porter
1935 Orchids to You as Smith
1935 The Farmer Takes a Wife as Sol Tinker
1935 Silk Hat Kid as Mr. Fossbender
1935 Doubting Thomas as Von Blitzen
1935 Black Fury as Mike Shemanski
1935 Chasing Yesterday as Coccoz
1935 One More Spring as Auctioneer
1935 Charlie Chan in Paris as Concierge, Dufresne's Hotel (bit)
1934 365 Nights in Hollywood as Prof. Herman Ellenbogen
1934 Our Daily Bread as Chris Larsen
1934 Straight Is the Way as Mr. Clapman (uncredited)
1934 He Was Her Man as Dutch, Santa Avila's Cabbie
1934 Upperworld as Chris the Janitor
1934 Sing and Like it as Oswald (as John M. Qualen)
1934 Hi, Nellie! as Steve (uncredited)
1933 Let's Fall in Love as Svente Bjorkman as Bjorkman
1933 Counsellor at Law as Breitstein
1931 Arrowsmith as Henry Novak
1931 Street Scene as Karl Olsen (as John M. Qualen)

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