- Birth name:
- Pierre Frank Watkin
- Date of Birth:
- 3 February 1887 Sioux City, Iowa, USA
Pierre Watkin was one of a stable of tall, distinguished-looking and sophisticated character actors (such as Russell Hicks, Jonathan Hale, Selmer Jackson and Samuel S. Hinds) whom Hollywood kept steadily employed playing political leaders, army officers, lawyers, wealthy businessmen and the like. He is most distinguished among this group of character actors by his relatively soft and precisely-articulated, speech. He is probably most memorable as Mr. Skinner, the banker, in the W.C. Fields comedy The Bank Dick (1940), wherein he uttered the now-classic line "Allow me to give you a hearty handclasp".He was the third of four sons of C.H. and Elizabeth J. Watkin, who operated a lodging house for "theater people" in Sioux City, Iowa. After completing high school he entered the acting profession and, by the time he registered for the draft in WWI, he was working with an acting troupe headed by Sidney Toler, and was married, in fact requested deferment from service because he was sole support of his wife. The name of his wife is unknown, as is whether they had any children, as this information does not appear in the draft registration, as the name Pierre Watkin(s) is completely missing from both the 1920 and 1930 Federal censuses.