Biography

Yale graduate Paul Douglas played professional football with the Philadelphia Yellow Jackets before turning to regional theatre. He parlayed his love of athletics into a prosperous career as a sports announcer in the 1930s; in the next decade he became a radio actor and master of ceremonies (he was the announcer for bandleader Glenn Miller's final program in 1944). A frequent visitor to the Broadway stages, Douglas became a star in the tailor-made role of vulgar junk tycoon Harry Brock in Garson Kanin's play Born Yesterday, in which he was co-starred with Judy Holliday. After 1,024 appearances as Harry Brock, Douglas made his first film, 1949's A Letter to Three Wives. An unlikely prospect for movie stardom with his burly build and longshoreman's voice, Douglas nonetheless remained popular throughout the 1950s. He is best remembered for his brace of baseball pictures, It Happens Every Spring (1949) and Angels in the Outfield (1951), and for his reteaming with Judy Holliday in 1956's The Solid Gold Cadillac. Among Douglas' five wives were actresses Virginia Field and Jan Sterling. Though the newspaper obituaries insisted that Paul Douglas had not been ill before his fatal heart attack in 1959, he looked so drawn and haggard in his last appearance on the TV series The Twilight Zone that the episode ("The Mighty Casey") had to be reshot with Jack Warden in Douglas' part. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi