Frank Morgan (1890 - 1949)

A photo of Frank Morgan
Francis Philip Morgan
1890 - 1949
June 1, 1890
September 18, 1949) in New York City, New York
September 18, 1949
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California United States
Other Names
Francis Philip Wuppermann
Frank Morgan was born on June 1, 1890 at September 18, 1949), New York City, New York . According to his family tree, Francis was father to 1 child. Francis' partner was Alma Muller, and they had a child George F Morgan. He died on September 18, 1949 in Beverly Hills, California United States at 59 years old.
Updated: January 6, 2022
Frank Morgan Born June 1, 1890 in New York City, New York, USA Died September 18, 1949 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA (heart attack) Birth Name Francis Philip Wuppermann Height 5' 8" (1.73 m) Jovial, somewhat flamboyant Frank Morgan (born Francis Wuppermann) will forever be remembered as the title character in The Wizard of Oz (1939), but he was a veteran and respected actor long before he played that part, and turned in outstanding performances both before and after that film. One of 11 children of a wealthy manufacturer, Morgan followed his older brother, Ralph Morgan (born Raphael Wuppermann) into the acting profession, making his Broadway debut in 1914 and his film debut two years later. Morgan specialized in playing courtly, sometimes eccentric or befuddled but ultimately sympathetic characters, such as the alcoholic telegraph operator in The Human Comedy (1943) or the shop owner in The Shop Around the Corner (1940). He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for The Affairs of Cellini (1934). Frank Morgan died at age 59 of a heart attack on September 18, 1949, in Beverly Hills, California. Family (2) Spouse Alma Rose Muller (11 March 1914 - 18 September 1949) (his death) (1 child) Parents George Wuppermann Josephine Wuppermann Born, with his elder brother, the actor Ralph Morgan, into a well-to-do family that formerly distributed in the United States the universally-known condiment "Angostura Aromatic Bitters.". A character actor best remembered as Professor Marvel/The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Interred at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, USA, in section #168, plot #14447. Member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. Uncle of actress Claudia Morgan. Youngest of eleven children (six boys and five girls) of the co-founder of the Angostura-Wuppermann Corporation which marketed bitters used in drinks and cocktails. Hobby -- boat enthusiast who participated in yacht races. A boy soprano in church, some of his early pre-acting jobs included selling toothbrushes, soliciting advertisements, and bronco busting Son, George Morgan (1916 - 2003). W.C. Fields was originally considered for Morgan's role in The Wizard of Oz (1939). However, Fields haggled endlessly over salary, and the role was given to Morgan. Was a member of the famous "Irish mafia"--even though he wasn't Irish--which also included fellow Hollywood actors James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Frank McHugh and Pat O'Brien. Brother-in-law of Grace Arnold. Honorary pallbearers at his funeral included Clark Gable and Pat O'Brien. Irish tenor Dennis Day sang. Was cast in the role of Buffalo Bill Cody in the MGM film Annie Get Your Gun (1950) but died in his sleep of a heart attack after shooting only the opening scene. He was replaced by MGM contract player Louis Calhern. Morgan owned a 550-acre ranch in Hemet Valley, California, and raised cattle. He also owned yachts, one of them winning a race from Los Angeles to Honolulu in 1947. Was involved in a serious car accident in New Mexico in December, 1939. Frank and his son George Morgan were not hurt, his wife Alma re-injured an already bad knee that often left her incapacitated, but their chauffeur/house servant was killed. Was a deeply conservative Republican. Was a lifelong member of the Lambs Club, the theater's oldest professional club. Wife Alma Muller (1895-1970) was the daughter of a New York real estate magnate and a woman suffragette. They eloped in 1914. Of his ten brothers and sisters, he was closest to brother Carlos Domaso Siegert Wuppermann (aka Carlyle Morgan) (1887-1919) whose death while serving in the United States Army's Corps of Intelligence Police in Germany was initially deemed a suicide. It was later learned he was murdered by a fellow soldier. Carlyle was a writer, poet, playwright and actor. Frank appeared in his deceased brother's play "The Triumph of X" in 1921 on Broadway. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz (1939) said that whenever she saw the scene in the film where Frank Morgan as the Wizard is giving Dorothy's friends gifts from his "black bag" (a diploma for the Scarecrow, a ticking heart for the Tin Man, and a medal for the Cowardly Lion), she got teary-eyed, because "Frank Morgan was just like that in real life - very generous". He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1708 Vine Street and for Radio at 6700 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California. Morgan was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Tortilla Flat (1942). He did not live to see The Wizard of Oz (1939) become one of the most famous films ever made through its annual network telecasts. His father was born in Venezuela and was of Spanish and German descent. His mother was born in the United States and was of English descent. Was considered a heavy drinker but kept his imbibing in the dressing room and seldom let it interfere with his professionalism and jovial manner on the set. Was in four Oscar Best Picture nominees: Naughty Marietta (1935), The Wizard of Oz (1939), The Great Ziegfeld (1936), and The Human Comedy (1943), with The Great Ziegfeld winning in 1936. In her autobiography, Child Star, Shirley Temple remembered being warned that Frank Morgan was an inveterate 'scene-stealer' and was advised on ways to counteract the practice during her movie scenes with him. An alumnus of the AADA (American Academy of Dramatic Arts), Class of 1914.
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Frank Morgan
Most commonly known as
Francis Philip Morgan
Full name
Francis Philip Wuppermann
Other names or aliases
Unknown. Did Francis move a lot? Where was his last known location?
Last known residence
Francis Morgan was born on at September 18, 1949) in New York City, New York
Francis Morgan died on in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California United States
Heart attack
Cause of death
September 1949
The Green-Wood Cemetery 500 25th St, in Kings County, New York United States 11232
Burial / Funeral

Ethnicity & Lineage

Spanish and German and British.

Nationality & Locations

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Personal Life

Famous, Celebrity, Actor Morgan married Alma Muller in 1914; they had one son, George. They were married until Frank's death in 1949. Morgan was widely known to be an alcoholic, according to several people who worked with him, including Margaret Hamilton and Aljean Harmetz. Morgan sometimes carried a black briefcase to work, fully equipped with a small mini-bar. Morgan's niece Claudia Morgan (née Wuppermann) was a stage and film actress, and his brother was playwright Carlos Wuppermann. Morgan died of a heart attack on September 18, 1949, while filming Annie Get Your Gun. He was replaced in the part of Buffalo Bill by Louis Calhern. His death came before the 1956 premiere televised broadcast on CBS of The Wizard of Oz, which made him the only major cast member from the film who did not live to see the film's revived popularity and how it would become an annual American television institution. Morgan is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. His tombstone carries his real name, Wuppermann, as well as his stage name.

Military Service

Yes, he was a Veteran.

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Frank Morgan. Veteran Actor, Local Property Owner, Dies Frank Morgan, veteran film | and radio star, a winter resident of | Rancho Mirage where he owns a home, and a well-known figure in Palm Springs for many years, died in his sleep at his Beverly Hills home Sunday. He was 59 years of age. His wife of 35 years, Alma, also well known here and in Rancho Mirage woke up at noon and found the white-haired actor dead in hed. She said he apparently passed away quietly, ‘•He just never woke up,” she said. A DOCTOR CALLED to the home said death probably came from a heart attack. Morgan, a veteran of 38 years on screen, stage, and radio, and a well-known yachtsman, had been hale and hearty. Recently he took up swimming and bought a new 117-foot yacht, "The Chita.” Friends said he had planned to take a trip around the world. Morgan had just finished displaying his famous white mustache and laughter in a Loretta Young-Clark Gable picture. "Key to the City," and was due to resume his important role of Buffalo Bill in "Annie Get Your Gun.” Besides his wife, he is survived by a brother, Ralph. 61, also an actor, and his son, George, 32, of Hollywood. A VETERAN of 38 years in the theater. Morgan was the son of the late New York importer, George Wupperman. Although born of wealthy parents, Morgan at different times was a toothbrush salesman, cowboy, sea-going stocker, and dishwasher in his youth. After shifting around in a variety of jobs, Morgan learned that his brother Ralph had abandoned his law studies and was now an actor. That was good enough for Frank. He dropped the surname of Wupperman and adopted the one picked up by Ralph—Morgan. Besides his property in the Rancho Mirage district, he was also interested in Borrego Springs and was honorary mayor of that resort.

1890 - 1949 World Events

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In 1890, in the year that Frank Morgan was born, on June 1st, the U.S. Census Bureau started tabulating census returns with punch cards. Herman Hollerith's "tabulating machine" used punch cards to more quickly compute census information, taking the time to get census results from 8 years in 1880 to 6 years for the 1890 census. Hollerith's company eventually became IBM.

In 1907, at the age of 17 years old, Francis was alive when the second Hague peace conference was called by Russia in the Netherlands. While nothing was settled regarding the matter of peace among nations, many resolutions were passed (and accepted by many nations) about the conventions of war - especially the protection of noncombatants.

In 1925, by the time he was 35 years old, on November 28th, radio station WSM broadcast the Grand Ole Opry for the first time. Originally airing as “The WSM Barn Dance”, the Opry (a local term for "opera") was dedicated to honoring country music and in its history has featured the biggest stars and acts in country music.

In 1934, by the time he was 44 years old, on June 6th, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was formed as a response to the stock market crash of 1929 and the continuing Great Depression. Previously, the states regulated the offering and sales of stocks - called "blue sky" laws. They were largely ineffective. Roosevelt created a group (one member was Joseph Kennedy, father of the future President Kennedy) who knew Wall Street well and they defined the mission and operating mode for the SEC. The new organization had broad and stringent rules and oversight and restored public confidence in the stock market in the United States.

In 1949, in the year of Frank Morgan's passing, on April 4th, NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was established. Twelve nations originally signed the North Atlantic Treaty - the United States, Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Canada, and Portugal. Greece, Turkey, and West Germany later joined. Today, there are 26 nations in NATO.

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