Frank McHugh

For the English cricketer, see Francis McHugh.
Frank McHugh

From the trailer for the film
Four Daughters (1938)
Born Francis Curray McHugh
(1898-05-23)May 23, 1898
Homestead, Allegheny County
Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died September 11, 1981(1981-09-11) (aged 83)
Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.
Occupation Actor of stage, film, and television
Years active 19251969
Spouse(s) Dorothy Spencer McHugh (married 1933–1981, his death), 3 children

Francis Curray McHugh, known as Frank McHugh (May 23, 1898 September 11, 1981), was an American film and television actor.

Life and career

Born in Homestead, Pennsylvania, McHugh came from a theatrical family. His parents ran a stock theatre company and as a young child he performed on stage. His brother Matt and sister Kitty performed an act with him by the time he was ten years old, but the family quit the stage about 1930. Another brother, Ed,[1] became a stage manager and agent in New York.[2]

McHugh debuted on Broadway in The Fall Guy, written by George Abbott and James Gleason in 1925. First National Pictures hired him as a contract player in January 1930.[3] McHugh played everything from lead actor to sidekick and would often provide comedy relief. He appeared in more than 150 films and television productions and worked with almost every star at Warner Bros. He was a close friend of James Cagney and appeared in more Cagney movies than any other actor. He appeared with Cagney in eleven films between 1932 and 1953. Their friendship lasted until McHugh's death.

Cast as Father Timothy O'Dowd in the 1944 Bing Crosby film, Going My Way, McHugh later played William Jennings Depew in the 1962 episode "Keep an Eye on Santa Claus" in the ABC television series, Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly, and loosely based on the earlier film.

From 1954-1956, he starred in the radio program Hotel For Pets.[4] By the 1950s, his film career had begun to decline, as evinced by his smaller role in the 1959 film, Career.

From 1964 to 1965, McHugh played the role of Willie Walters, a live-in handyman in the 27-episode ABC sitcom, The Bing Crosby Show, which reunited him once again on screen with Bing Crosby. The show also co-starred Beverly Garland. McHugh's last feature film role was as a comical "sea captain" in the 1967 Elvis Presley caper film Easy Come, Easy Go. McHugh's last television appearance was as Charlie Wingate in "The Fix-It Man", an episode of CBS's Lancer western series, which starred Andrew Duggan. McHugh played a handyman in that episode as he had in the Crosby series.

Personal life

McHugh was married to Dorothy Spencer. He had three children and two grandchildren. His brother Matt McHugh and sister Kitty McHugh were also actors who both appeared in many films.



Short Subjects:

  • An Intimate Dinner in Celebration of Warner Bros. Silver Jubilee (1930)
  • That's News to Me (1931)
  • The Hot Spot (1931)
  • The Great Junction Hotel (1931)
  • The Big Scoop (1931)
  • The Wide Open Spaces (1931)
  • Extra! Extra! (1932)
  • Hollywood Newsreel (1934)
  • A Dream Comes True (1935)
  • Screen Snapshots Series 15, No. 3 (1935)
  • Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 1 (1936)
  • A Day at Santa Anita (1937)
  • Sunday Night at the Trocadero (1937)
  • Breakdowns of 1938 (1938)


  1. Ed A. McHugh at the Internet Broadway Database
  2. The Unsung Joe
  3. "Warner and F.N. Players". Variety. June 25, 1930. p. 30. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  4. Cox, Jim, The A to Z of American Radio Soap Operas, p. 103
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