Frank Jaquet

Birth name:
Frank Garnier Jaquet
Date of Birth:
11 May 1885 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Frank Garnier Jaquet was born on March 16, 1885, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of the editor of the Milwaukee "Sentinel."His first appearance on stage was as Little Lord Fauntleroy in a children's play. However, the real beginning of his acting career was rather odd. Jessie Pringle was heading a stock company on Chicago's West Side. One week they were to present a show called "Arrah Gopaugh, or Warwick Wedding," in which Pringle had to do an Irish jig. Just before a performance she sprained her ankle badly. She would be able to play the part, but could not do the dance. The company sent for Jaquet, then a young man. Pringle did the whole show until it came time for the jig, at which point Jaquet, in dress and wig, stepped in, did the dance, then exited for Pringle to complete the show. Jaquet had made his professional debut, impersonating a woman.From then on, Jaquet was a popular character actor in the theater for twenty-five years playing on Broadway as well as with touring companies and regional repertory theaters, including the People's Theater Stock Company in Chicago, the Elitch Gardens Stock Company in Denver, the Empress Theater in St. Louis, the Oliver Theater in Indiana, and the Denham Theater in Denver.In 1934, at age forty-nine, Jaquet made his film debut in "War Is a Racket." Over the next twenty years, Jaquet appeared in over one hundred and forty films and TV episodes. His range was impressive, in that he was equally adept at playing kindly doctors as he was dastardly villains. Frequently he was called on to play politicians, in "Stanley and Livingston" (1939) and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939) among others. He was so believable that once he and two other character actors were hired to pass themselves off as real U.S. senators as part of a gag.Jaquet was a short man, frequently mustached, with a huge, almost perfectly round belly. This made him ideal for roles calling for a pompous windbag who is the butt of much of the humor in the film. One of the best examples of this is his performance as the small-town mayor in the "Our Gang" comedy "Party Fever." (1938)In his many Westerns, he is often the villain, eventually brought to justice by Roy Rogers, Allan "Rocky" Lane, Sunset Carson, or the Cisco Kid.His other films include "Torchy Blane in Panama" (1938) in which he and Frank Orth appear in leopard skins as conventioneers, the war drama "Corregidor" (1943) playing a priest, and "Jungle Jim in the Forbidden Land" (1952), in which he looks obese and somewhat ridiculous in a safari outfit. He was cast against type by Billy Wilder in "Ace in the Hole" (1951) as the construction boss trying to free a victim trapped by a cave-in.One of Jaquet's later and best performances is in the "Bullets for Ballots" episode of "The Lone Ranger" (1950), playing Leander Knox, the corrupt town mayor whose reelection campaign is rigged by the lead villain. Jaquet pulls out all the stops as a fat, pompous, old windbag, eventually reduced to a cringing coward by The Lone Ranger and Tonto.He appeared in many television episodes in the fifties, including a semi-recurring role as Mr. Selkirk on "The Stu Erwin Show." By 1954, heart problems forced him to lose weight, so he looks a bit gaunt in the "I Love Lucy" episode "Bonus Bucks."Jaquet's last screen role was as a barfly in "Timberjack" (1955). Jaquet died on May 11, 1958 in Los Angeles of a heart attack.
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