Cornthwaite, Robert 1917-2006

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Cornthwaite, Robert 1917-2006

(Alexander van der Zandt)


See index for CA sketch: Born April 28, 1917, in St. Helens, OR; died July 20, 2006, in Woodland Hills, CA. Actor, director, translator, and author. Cornthwaite was a character actor best known for his roles in horror and thriller movies. Becoming enamored of acting as a teenager, he later acted in college. He began professional work on the stage in 1935, as well as being a radio announcer for American and Italian stations. World War II interrupted his studies, and he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces for the duration, earning a Bronze Star. Afterwards, he completed his B.A. in 1947 at the University of Southern California. Returning to radio through the 1940s, Cornthwaite began making appearances on television programs such as The Twilight Zone, Studio 57, and the Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. He also appeared in films and was particularly proud of his role as Dr. Carrington in the 1951 horror movie The Thing. During the 1960s, the actor could be seen in more television series, such as The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, Burns & Allen, and Gunsmoke, as well as movies such as Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). Cornthwaite, however, always enjoyed stage acting the most, gaining praise for his performances in such plays as the 1991 production of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker. Cornthwaite himself was a playwright, penning The Blue, which was performed in Beverly Hills, California, in 1980. More productively, he was a translator of works by Italian and French playwrights, including plays by Luigi Pirandello and Honoré de Balzac. Also a stage director from 1969 to 1978, Cornthwaite became most familiar to audiences in the 1990s when he played the part of Howard Buss on the television series Picket Fences.



Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2006, p. B9. Times (London, England), September 29, 2006, p. 76.