Russell Simpson

      • 79
      • 1880-06-17 in Danville, California, USA
      • 1959-12-12

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Russell McCaskill Simpson (June 17, 1880 – December 12, 1959) was an American character actor. Russell Simpson was born on June 17, 1880 in Danville, California. He attended grammar school in the Danville District in Contra Costa County, California; he graduated on July 2, 1892. At age 18, Simpson prospected for gold in Alaska. He began taking acting classes in Seattle, Washington. He was married to Gertrude Alter from New York City on January 19, 1910. By 1909, he had gone into the theatre. He appeared in at least two plays on Broadway between 1909 and 1912, and made his motion picture debut in Cecil B. DeMille's 1914 original film version of The Virginian in a bit part. By 1923, when the film was remade, Simpson had progressed to playing the lead villain. Throughout his career, Simpson worked for 12 years in road shows, stock companies, and on Broadway. Simpson didn't usually perform lead roles, but he did star in many movies throughout the silent movie era. He did perform a lead role as the grandfather in Out of the Dust (1920). Simpson is best known for his work in the films of John Ford and, in particular, for his portrayal of Pa Joad in The Grapes of Wrath in 1940. He was known for his "grizzled old man" appearances. Gaunt, lanky, and rustic-sounding, Simpson was a familiar character actor for almost forty-five years, particularly as a member of the John Ford Stock Company. He worked up to 1959, the year of his death. His final film was The Horse Soldiers, his tenth film for Ford. Simpson was the president of the Overseas Phonograph Accessories Corporation. He died on December 12, 1959 in Woodland Hills, California. Simpson had appeared in over 500 movies throughout his life.