Slim Summerville

Slim Summerville

Slim Summerville (at right) in Little Accident (1930)
Born George Joseph Somerville
(1892-07-10)July 10, 1892
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
Died January 5, 1946(1946-01-05) (aged 53)
Laguna Beach, California, U.S.
Cause of death stroke
Occupation Actor & Director
Years active 1912–1946
Spouse(s) Gertrude Roell (m. 1927–36)
Eleanor Brown (m. 1937–46)

Slim Summerville (born George Joseph Somerville, July 10, 1892 January 5, 1946) was an American film actor, best known as a comedy performer.[1]


Born George Joseph Somerville in Albuquerque, New Mexico, his mother died when he was five.[2] Moving from New Mexico to Canada to Oklahoma, he had a nomadic upbringing.[2]

He married Gertrude Martha Roell on 19 November 1927.[3][4] In early 1932, the Summervilles adopted a four-week-old baby boy whom they christened Elliott George.[5] The couple divorced in September 1936,[4][6] and he then married Eleanor Brown (also a divorcee) who was his nurse who cared for him when he was sick and fell in love and married him in 1937 to keep him from getting sick again.[3][7]

Summerville died of a stroke on January 5, 1946 in Laguna Beach, California.[3][8][9] He is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery in South Los Angeles community of Inglewood, California. Twenty years after his death, his beach front house on Sleepy Hollow Lane in Laguna Beach was converted into the The Beach House restaurant,[10] now the Driftwood Kitchen.[11]


Summerville's first job was as a messenger for the Canadian Pacific Telegraphs in Chatham, Ontario where he lived with his English grandparents.[7]

He was working as a poolroom porter when found by Edgar Kennedy,[3] who took him to Mack Sennett where he started at $3.50 per day.[8] His first role was as a "Keystone Kop" in Hoffmeyer's Legacy (1912).

His tall, gangly appearance was well utilized in numerous short comedy films during the silent film era, and in addition to his many acting roles, he directed more than 50 short films.

Occasionally, he played in dramatic films, such as All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and Jesse James (1939). However, he was most successful in comedy films, including several with ZaSu Pitts. He also played in films with Shirley Temple, Captain January (1936) and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938).


For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Slim Summerville has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6409 Hollywood Blvd.[12]

Inducted into the New Mexico Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2012.

Partial filmography


  1. Stuart, Ray (1965). Immortals of the Screen. Sherbourne Press. p. 218.
  2. 1 2 Harrison, Paul (13 July 1936). "Sad-Looking Slim Summerville Never Hoped To Be Funny - Just Can't Help It". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Stroke Fatal to Movie Star - "Slim" Summerville Dies Suddenly". Warsaw Daily Union. 7 January 1946. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  4. 1 2 "SAD SLIM SUMMERVILLE LOSES WIFE AT COURT". The Spokesman-Review. 2 October 1936. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  5. "SLIM SUMMERVILLE OF MOVIES ADOPTS BABY". Associated Press. 6 February 1932. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  6. "Wife Divorces Film Comedian". The Pittsburgh Press. 2 October 1936. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  7. 1 2 "Lanky Screen Comic Gets Romantic 'Break'". The Montreal Gazette. 17 September 1941. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  8. 1 2 "Slim Summerville, Of The Movies, Dies". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 7 January 1946. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  9. Motion picture herald. Quigley Pub. Co. 1946. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. Puterbaugh, Parke; Bisbort, Alan (1988). Life is a beach: a vacationer's guide to the West Coast. McGraw-Hill. p. 74.
  11. "Driftwood Kitchen - Laguna Beach, CA". Yelp. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
  12. Slim Summerville. Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 2012-02-11
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