John Grant Mitchell, Jr.
June 17, 1874
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||May 1, 1957 (aged 82)|
John Grant Mitchell Jr. (June 17, 1874 – May 1, 1957) was an American actor. He appeared on Broadway from 1902 to 1939 and appeared in more than 125 films between 1930 and 1948.
Mitchell was born John Grant Mitchell Jr. on June 17, 1874, in Columbus, Ohio, the only son of American Civil War general John G. Mitchell. His paternal grandmother, Fanny Arabella Hayes, was the sister of President Rutherford B. Hayes. He attended Yale University, where he served as feature editor of campus humor magazine The Yale Record.
Like his father, he became an attorney, graduating from the Harvard Law School. However, by his mid-to-late 20s, he tired of his legal practice and turned a long term dream into a reality by becoming an actor on Broadway. He played lead roles in plays such as It Pays to Advertise, The Whole Town's Talking, The Champion, and The Baby Cyclone.
Mitchell was a brother of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Phi chapter).
Mitchell's Broadway credits include Tide Rising (1936), All the King's Men (1928), One of the Family (1925), Spooks (1925), The Habitual Husband (1924), The Whole Town's Talking (1923), The School for Scandal (1923), Kempy (1921), The Hero (1920), The Champion (1920), and A Tailor-Made Man (1917).
In film, Mitchell initially made an appearance in 1916 and one or two other silents amidst his theater work, but Mitchell's screen career really took off with the advent of sound. His first starring role was in the film Man to Man (1930) from director Allan Dwan. Grant Michell often played the father of the heroine, businessmen, bank clerks or school principals. He usually played supporting characters, but also had a rare lead role in the B film comedy Father Is a Prince (1940).
He made many notable appearances in high-profile films such as Dinner At Eight (1933 David O. Selznick film), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935, as Egeus), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939, as a Washington senator), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942, as the Stanley family's father), and Arsenic and Old Lace (1944, as Cary Grant's father-in-law Reverend Harper). He was also notable as Georges Clemenceau in the Oscar-winning film biography The Life of Emile Zola (1937). In John Ford's film classic The Grapes of Wrath (1940), based on John Steinbeck's book, Mitchell played the friendly caretaker of a migrant campground.
Grant Mitchell retired from the film business in 1948 and died a bachelor on May 1, 1957. He was buried next to his father, mother, and stepmother at Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.