William Dennis Gargan
July 17, 1905
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||February 17, 1979 (aged 73)|
Flight between New York City and San Diego
|Resting place||Holy Cross Cemetery, San Diego, California|
William Dennis Gargan (July 17, 1905 – February 17, 1979) was an American film, television and radio actor. He was the 5th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 1967, and in 1941, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Joe in They Knew What They Wanted. He acted in decades of movies including parts in Follow the Leader, Rain, Night Flight, Three Sons, Isle of Destiny and many others. The role he was best known for was that of a private detective Martin Kane in the 1949–1952 radio-television series Martin Kane, Private Eye. In television, he was also in 39 episodes of The New Adventures of Martin Kane.
Gargan was born in Brooklyn, New York. He was the younger brother of actor Edward Gargan, whose birthday July 17 he shared. His father was a detective, and his mother was a teacher. He graduated from St. James School in Brooklyn.
On leaving school, Gargan became a salesman of bootleg whiskey to New York speakeasies and then joined a detective agency.
While visiting his brother on a musical comedy stage, he was offered a stage job which he accepted. He began his stage career in Aloma of the South Seas. He also appeared on stage in Animal Kingdom.
Gargan's first film was Rain. Later, he played in Misleading Lady and had character roles in many Hollywood productions, including starring in three films as detective Ellery Queen.
He was cast in a number of stereotypical Irish parts in films playing policemen, priests, reporters, and blustering adventurers. In 1945, he played Joe Gallagher in The Bells of St. Mary's, starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman.
In 1935, Gargan went to England and made several films.
In 1940, Gargan was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Joe, the foreman, in They Knew What They Wanted.
Gargan's first regular radio role was Captain Flagg on Captain Flagg and Sergeant Quirt, beginning in February 1942. He portrayed private detective Martin Kane in the 1949–1952 radio-television series Martin Kane, Private Eye,: 219 sponsored by U.S. Tobacco. He also appeared in the title role as a private detective in the NBC radio show Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator, which ran from 1951 to 1955. He also portrayed Ross Dolan in I Deal in Crime,: 159 , and Inspector Burke in Murder Will Out,: 214-242 and was host of G. I. Laffs
On television, Gargan starred in 39 episodes of Martin Kane, Private Eye, which ran on NBC from 1949 to 1954 and was syndicated in 1957-1958 and on The New Adventures of Martin Kane, which ran on NBC in 1953-54.: 751
Gargan's acting career came to an end in 1958 when he developed throat cancer, and doctors were forced to remove his larynx in 1960. Speaking through an artificial voice box, Gargan became an activist and spokesman for the American Cancer Society, often warning about the dangers of smoking. In 1965, Mutual of Omaha presented its annual Criss Award to Gargan for "his inspirational self-rehabilitation efforts and his outstanding contributions to established rehabilitation programs."
No longer able to act, he formed William Gargan Productions, making traditional films and television films in Hollywood.
Gargan and his wife, Mary, had two sons, Leslie and Barrie.
He died of a heart attack aged 73 on February 17, 1979 on a flight between New York City and San Diego. He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in San Diego, California.
|1943||Philip Morris Playhouse||Roberta|
Gargan's autobiography Why Me? was published by Doubleday in 1969. A reviewer described the book as "a compelling story of the life, faith and courage of a man who as an actor was a notable success."