Roscoe Karns

Roscoe Karns

Karns with his wife Mary; still from Rocky King, Inside Detective (1954)
Born (1891-09-07)September 7, 1891
San Bernardino, California, U.S.
Died February 6, 1970(1970-02-06) (aged 78)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1915-1964
Spouse(s) Mary M. Fraso (1920-70) (his death) 2 children
Children Todd Karns

Roscoe Karns (September 7, 1891 February 6, 1970) was an American actor who appeared in nearly 150 films between 1915 and 1964. He specialized in cynical, wise-cracking (and often tipsy) characters, and his rapid-fire delivery enlivened many comedies and crime thrillers in the 1930s and 1940s.

Arguably his best-known film role was the annoying bus passenger Oscar Shapeley, who tries to pick up Claudette Colbert in the Oscar-winning comedy It Happened One Night (1934). From 1950 to 1954, Karns played the title role in the popular DuMont Television Network series Rocky King, Inside Detective. His son, character actor Todd Karns, also appeared in that series.

From 1959 to 1962, Karns was cast as Admiral Walter Shafer in seventy-three of the ninety-five episodes of the CBS military sitcom/drama series, Hennesey, starring Jackie Cooper in the title role of a United States Navy physician, and Abby Dalton as nurse Martha Hale.

Karns was born in San Bernardino, California, and died in Los Angeles.

Partial filmography

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