Advertisement
Advertisement

Edmond O'Brien (1915 - 1985)

A photo of Edmond O'Brien
Edmond O'Brien
1915 - 1985
Born
September 10, 1915
Kings County, New York United States
Death
May 9, 1985
Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California United States
Summary
Edmond O'Brien was born on September 10, 1915 in New York United States. According to his family tree, he married Olga San Juan. He died on May 9, 1985 in Inglewood, California United States at 69 years of age.
4 Followers
Updated: August 13, 2020
ADVERTISEMENT BY ANCESTRY.COM
Advertisement
Introduction
Edmond O'Brien Born September 10, 1915 in New York City, New York, USA Died May 9, 1985 in Inglewood, California, USA (Alzheimer's disease) Birth Name Eamon Joseph O'Brien Nickname Eddy Height 5' 9" (1.75 m) Mini Bio (1) Oscar-winner Edmond O'Brien was one of the most-respected character actors in American cinema, from his heyday of the mid-1940s through the late 1960s. Born on September 10, 1915, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, O'Brien learned the craft of performance as a magician, reportedly tutored by neighbor Harry Houdini. He took part in student theatrics in high school and majored in drama at Fordham University, dropping out after six months. He made his Broadway debut at the age of 21 in 1936 and, later that year, played "The Gravedigger" in the great Shakespearean actor John Gielgud's legendary production of "Hamlet". Four years later, he would play 'Mercutio' to the 'Romeo' of another legendary Shakespearean, Laurence Olivier, in Olivier's 1940 Brodway production of "Romeo & Juliet". O'Brien worked with another magician, Orson Welles, in the Mercury Theater's production of "Julius Caesar", appearing as 'Mark Antony'. He would later play 'Casca' in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's film of the play, Julius Caesar (1953). Although it has been stated that he made his debut as an uncredited extra in the 1938 film, Prison Break (1938), the truth is that his stage work impressed RKO boss Pandro S. Berman, who brought him to Hollywood to appear in the plum supporting part of 'Gringoire' in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), which starred Charles Laughton in the title role. After returning from his wartime service with the Army Air Force, O'Brien built up a distinguished career as a supporting actor in A-list films, and as an occasional character lead, such as in D.O.A. (1949). O'Brien won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Barefoot Contessa (1954) and also received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as a drunken senator who ferrets out an attempted coup d'etat in Seven Days in May (1964). He also appeared as crusty old-timer 'Freddy Sykes', who antagonizes Ben Johnson's character 'Tector Gorch' in director Sam Peckinpah's classic Western, The Wild Bunch (1969). Increasingly, O'Brien appeared on television in the 1960s and '70s, but managed a turn in his old boss Welles' unfinished film, The Other Side of the Wind (2018). He married and divorced actresses Nancy Kelly and Olga San Juan, the latter being the mother of his three children, including actors Maria O'Brien and Brendan O'Brien. He died in May of 1985 in Inglewood, California, of Alzheimer's Disease and was interred in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Spouse (2) Olga San Juan (26 September 1948 - 1976) ( divorced) ( 3 children) Nancy Kelly (19 February 1941 - 2 February 1942) ( divorced) Trade Mark (2) Deep, rich voice Inquisitive demeanor, was often cast as writers and/or reporters Father, with Olga San Juan, of actress Maria O'Brien, TV producer Bridget O'Brien Adelman and Brendan O'Brien. His production company, Tiger Productions, came from his childhood nickname, 'Tiger'. At the age of 10 he learned conjuring tricks from his neighbor, Harry Houdini. Interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, CA. Specific Interment Location: F, T54, 50. Younger brother of Liam O'Brien. Recited works of William Shakespeare with Keith Moon at Sam Peckinpah's surprise birthday party. A German Shepherd aficionado. Father-in-law of Ingrid K. Behrens (wife of son Brendan O'Brien). Was cast in Black Christmas (1974) as Lt. Kenneth Fuller, but the part was recast with John Saxon because of O'Brien's poor health. He was rumored to be suffering from Alzheimers. O'Brien was originally cast as the photo-journalist Jackson Bentley (based on Lowell Thomas) in Lawrence of Arabia (1962). After O'Brien filmed several scenes, he suffered a heart attack and had to drop out of the picture. He was replaced by Arthur Kennedy. In an interview, director Don Siegel recalled that during the production of China Venture (1953), he noticed that O'Brien was spending more and more time in his trailer before a scene, and was beginning to arrive late for shooting, which he had never done before. Suspecting that O'Brien might be secretly drinking before he went on camera--an experience Siegel had undergone with several well-known actors he had worked with--the director peeked through the windows of O'Brien's trailer one day and was surprised to see a young man reading O'Brien's lines to him. It turned out that O'Brien's eyesight and memory were beginning to fail him, he didn't want the studio to find out and fire him, so he had his assistant read him his lines and stage directions immediately before he was to shoot a scene so he wouldn't forget them on-camera. Ex-father-in-law of Michael Anderson Jr.. Appeared older than his actual age, often being cast as "old coots" when he was only in his 40s. Often played characters with drinking problems and may have been an alcoholic in real life. Served with the US Army Air Force in World War II. He appeared in two films that depicted the Normandy landings on 6/6/44: D-Day the Sixth of June (1956) and The Longest Day (1962). D-Day veteran Richard Todd also appeared in both films. Appeared in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), Julius Caesar (1953) and The Longest Day (1962). Only the first of these won.
Show & Tell His Story
Share your memories, stories, and photos so that Edmond is always remembered.
Update biography

Edmond's biography

This collaborative biography is for you to show & tell Edmond's life so that he is always remembered. What's this?

Biography
Edmond O'Brien
Most commonly known as
Edmond O'brien
Full name
Did Edmond go by other names?
Other names or aliases
Unknown. Did Edmond move a lot? Where was his last known location?
Last known residence
Male
Gender
Edmond O'Brien was born on in Kings County, New York United States
Birth
Edmond O'Brien died on in Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California United States
Death
Birth
Death
There is no cause of death listed for Edmond.
Cause of death
Holy Cross Mortuary 5835 W. Slauson Ave, in Culver City, Los Angeles County, California United States 90230
Burial / Funeral
Heritage

Ethnicity & Lineage

Irish American.

Nationality & Locations

Amarican
Childhood

Education

Fordham University.

Religion

Catholic.

Baptism

Was Edmond baptized?
Adulthood

Professions

Hollywood Star. Actor. Edmond O'Brien Biography Born September 10, 1915 in New York City, New York, USA Died May 9, 1985 in Inglewood, California, USA (Alzheimer's disease) Birth Name Eamon Joseph O'Brien Nickname Eddy Height 5' 9" (1.75 m) Mini Bio (1) Oscar-winner Edmond O'Brien was one of the most-respected character actors in American cinema, from his heyday of the mid-1940s through the late 1960s. Born on September 10, 1915, in Brooklyn, O'Brien learned the craft of performance as a magician, reportedly tutored by neighbor Harry Houdini. He took part in student theatrics in high school and majored in drama at Fordham University, dropping out after six months. He made his Broadway debut at the age of 21 in 1936 and, later that year, played "The Gravedigger" in the great Shakespearean actor John Gielgud's legendary production of "Hamlet". Four years later, he would play "Mercutio" to the "Romeo" of another legendary Shakespearean, Laurence Olivier, in Olivier's 1940 Brodway production of "Romeo & Juliet". O'Brien worked with another magician, Orson Welles, in the Mercury Theater's production of "Julius Caesar", appearing as "Mark Antony". He would later play "Casca" in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's film of the play, Julius Caesar (1953). Although it has been stated that he made his debut as an uncredited extra in the 1938 film, Prison Break (1938), the truth is that his stage work impressed RKO boss Pandro S. Berman, who brought him to Hollywood to appear in the plum supporting part of "Gringoire" in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), which starred Charles Laughton in the title role. After returning from his wartime service with the Army Air Force, O'Brien built up a distinguished career as a supporting actor in A-list films, and as an occasional character lead, such as in D.O.A. (1949). O'Brien won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Barefoot Contessa (1954) and also received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as a drunken senator who ferrets out an attempted coup d'etat in Seven Days in May (1964). He also appeared as crusty old-timer "Freddy Sykes", who antagonizes Ben Johnson's character "Tector Gorch" in director Sam Peckinpah's classic Western, The Wild Bunch (1969). Increasingly, O'Brien appeared on television in the 1960s and '70s, but managed a turn in his old boss Welles' unfinished film, The Other Side of the Wind (2018). He married and divorced actresses Nancy Kelly and Olga San Juan, the latter being the mother of his three children, including actors Maria O'Brien and Brendan O'Brien. He died in May of 1985 in Inglewood, California, of Alzheimer's Disease and was interred in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. - IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood Spouse (2) Olga San Juan (26 September 1948 - 1976) ( divorced) ( 3 children) Nancy Kelly (19 February 1941 - 2 February 1942) ( divorced) Deep, rich voice. Inquisitive demeanor, was often cast as writers and/or reporters. Trivia (17) Father, with Olga San Juan, of actress Maria O'Brien, TV producer Bridget O'Brien Adelman and Brendan O'Brien. His production company, Tiger Productions, came from his childhood nickname, 'Tiger'. At the age of 10 he learned conjuring tricks from his neighbor, Harry Houdini. Interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, USA. Specific Interment Location: F, T54, 50. Younger brother of screenwriter Liam O'Brien. Recited works of William Shakespeare with Keith Moon at Sam Peckinpah's surprise birthday party. A German Shepherd aficionado. Father-in-law of Ingrid K. Behrens (wife of son Brendan O'Brien). Was cast in Black Christmas (1974) as Lt. Kenneth Fuller, but the part was recast with John Saxon because of O'Brien's poor health. He was rumored to be suffering from Alzheimers. O'Brien was originally cast as the photo-journalist Jackson Bentley (based on Lowell Thomas) in Lawrence of Arabia (1962). After O'Brien filmed several scenes, he suffered a heart attack and had to drop out of the picture. He was replaced by Arthur Kennedy. In an interview, director Don Siegel recalled that during the production of China Venture (1953), he noticed that O'Brien was spending more and more time in his trailer before a scene, and was beginning to arrive late for shooting, which he had never done before. Suspecting that O'Brien might be secretly drinking before he went on camera--an experience Siegel had undergone with several well-known actors he had worked with--the director peeked through the windows of O'Brien's trailer one day and was surprised to see a young man reading O'Brien's lines to him. It turned out that O'Brien's eyesight and memory were beginning to fail him, he didn't want the studio to find out and fire him, so he had his assistant read him his lines and stage directions immediately before he was to shoot a scene so he wouldn't forget them on-camera. Ex-father-in-law of Michael Anderson Jr.. Appeared older than his actual age, often being cast as "old coots" when he was only in his 40s. Often played characters with drinking problems and may have been an alcoholic in real life. Served with the US Army Air Force in World War II. He appeared in two films which depicted the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944: D-Day the Sixth of June (1956) and The Longest Day (1962). D-Day veteran Richard Todd also appeared in both films. Appeared in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), Julius Caesar (1953) and The Longest Day (1962). Only the first of these won. Personal Quotes (1) Versatility is a dangerous thing. It's very satisfying to portray many types of roles, but often your own identity gets lost. Seldom does a producer say, "This is an Eddie O'Brien part." On the other hand, while the rewards may be great in fame and financially for stars, the work becomes monotonous. No actor who plays himself is a happy person. Salary (1) A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob (1941) $11,500

Personal Life

Share highlights of Edmond's life. Experiences, organizations, & how he spent his time.

Military Service

Served with the US Army Air Force in World War II. He appeared in two films which depicted the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944: D-Day the Sixth of June (1956) and The Longest Day (1962). D-Day veteran Richard Todd also appeared in both films.
Obituary

Average Age

Life Expectancy

Advertisement
Advertisement

Family Tree

Edmond's immediate relatives including parents, siblings, partnerships and children in the O'Brien family tree.

Edmond's Family Tree

Parent
Parent
Edmond O'Brien Edmond O'Brien
Partner
Child
Partner
Child
Sibling

Relationships

+ Add

Olga San Juan

&

Edmond O'Brien

Marriage: Date unknown
Status: Together
Edmond O'Brien Edmond O'Brien
Child

Friends

Friends can be as close as family. Add Edmond's family friends, and his friends from childhood through adulthood.

Add bio

Comments

Leave a comment to ask questions, share information, or simply to show that you care about Edmond.

Cancel

Obituary

Share Edmond's obituary or write your own to preserve his legacy.

Edmond O'Brien died on May 9, 1985 in Inglewood, California United States at age 69. he was buried in Holy Cross Mortuary, Culver City, California United States. He was born on September 10, 1915 in New York United States. According to his family tree, he married Olga San Juan.
ADVERTISEMENT BY ANCESTRY.COM
Advertisement

1915 - 1985 World Events

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Edmond's lifetime.

In 1915, in the year that Edmond O'Brien was born, the Germans first used poison gas as a weapon at the second Battle of Ypres during World War I. While noxious gases had been used since ancient times, this was the first use of poisonous gas - in this case, lethal chlorine gas - in modern war. Subsequently, the French and British - as well as the United States when they entered World War 1 - developed and used lethal gas in war.

In 1932, he was 17 years old when on February 27th, actress Elizabeth Taylor was born in London. Her parents were Americans living in London and when she was 7, the family moved to Los Angeles. Her first small part in a movie was in There's One Born Every Minute in 1942 but her first starring role was in National Velvet in 1944. She became as famous for her 8 marriages (to 7 people) as she was for her beauty and films.

In 1952, when he was 37 years old, on February 6th, George VI of England died from a coronary thrombosis and complications due to lung cancer. His eldest daughter, age 25, immediately ascended the throne as Elizabeth II and her coronation was on June 2 1953.

In 1965, at the age of 50 years old, Edmond was alive when on March 8th, the first US combat troops arrived in Vietnam. The 3500 Marines joined 23,000 "advisors" already in South Vietnam. By the end of the year, 190,000 American soldiers were in the country.

In 1985, in the year of Edmond O'Brien's passing, in May, a paper published in Nature by three British scientists reported that a huge hole was discovered in the ozone layer over the Antarctic. It was much larger than expected and is due to the use of manmade chemicals.

Back to Top