Pat O'Brien

Birthday: Nov 11, 1899
Birthplace: Not Available
American actor Pat O'Brien could never remember just why he wanted to go on stage; it just sort of happened naturally, just as his college football activities at Marquette University and his enlistment in the Navy for World War I. In the company of college chum Spencer Tracy, O'Brien moved to New York in the early twenties, where, while studying at Sargent's Academy, they were cast as robots in the theatrical production RUR. O'Brien spent several years with numerous stock companies, forming lasting friendships with such future Hollywood notables as Frank McHugh, James Gleason and Percy Kilbride. He also met his wife, actress Eloise Taylor, with whom he remained for the next five decades. In 1930, O'Brien was brought to Hollywood to play ace reporter Hildy Johnson in The Front Page (1931); this came about because the director mistakenly believed O'Brien had played the role on Broadway, when in fact he'd played managing editor Walter Burns in a Chicago stock-company version. This misunderstanding was forgotten when O'Brien scored a success in Front Page, which led to a long term contract with Warner Bros. Casual film fans who believe that O'Brien played nothing but priests and football coaches might be surprised at the range of roles during his first five years at Warners. Still, the performances for which Pat O'Brien is best remembered are Father Jerry in Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), in which he begs condemned killer Jimmy Cagney to "turn yellow" during the Last Walk so Cagney won't be a hero to the neighborhood kids, and, of course, the title role in Knute Rockne, All American (1940), wherein he exhorted his flagging team to "win just one for the Gipper." Too old to serve in World War II, O'Brien tirelessly did his bit with several hazardous USO tours in the thick of the action. Following the war, O'Brien continued to play leads in a good series of RKO films, but he'd put on weight and lost a few hairs in the years since his Warner Bros. heyday, thus was more effectively cast in character roles like Dean Stockwell's vaudeville dad in The Boy With Green Hair (1949). Then, inexplicably, the roles dried up. O'Brien always believed that he was the victim of a blacklist -- not for being a Communist, but for being such a right winger that he was frozen out by Hollywood's liberal contingent. The diminishing box office for his films and an overall slump in the movie industry may also have played a part in O'Brien's fall from grace, but the fact was he found the going rough in the '50s. Fortunately, he had an aggresive agent and several loyal friends -- notably Spencer Tracy, who refused to star in MGM's The People Against O'Hara unless the studio set aside a big part for O'Brien. Television and summer stock kept O'Brien busy throughout most of the 1950s, with a brief comeback to stardom via a good part in Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot (1959) and a weekly TV sitcom, "Harrigan and Son" (1960). O'Brien also worked up a well-received nightclub act, in which he described himself as "an Irish Myron Cohen" (Cohen was a popular Jewish dialect comedian of the era). Unlike his close friend James Cagney, O'Brien never stopped working, touring with his wife Eloise in straw hat productions of Never too Late and On Golden Pond. His performances proved that this was no pathetic oldster clinging desperately to the past, but a vibrant, up-to-date talent who could still deliver the goods. Nor was Pat O'Brien falsely modest. In answer to an interviewer's query if he felt that he'd been underrated by Hollywood, the seventy-plus O'Brien mustered all his Irish pugnacity and snapped "I'm damn good and I know it." As did everyone who saw Pat O'Brien's feisty final film performances in The End (1978) and Ragtime (1981).

Highest Rated Movies



40% John Doe: Vigilante Constable Jack Calahan 2014
22% Need For Speed Producer $40.2M 2014
No Score Yet Broadway Actor 2013
No Score Yet Laughter In Hell Actor 2012
33% The Kid & I Himself 2005
22% Jiminy Glick in Lalawood Himself $26.2K 2005
22% Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed Himself $84.1M 2004
No Score Yet Tight on the Spiral Host 2003
No Score Yet Basketball Superstar - Hakeem Olajuwon: Dream Center Actor 2003
No Score Yet Basketball Superstar - Chuck Daly: Dream Team Coach Actor 2003
No Score Yet Basketball Superstar - Christian Laettner: Power in Motion, Power Forward Actor 2003
43% Big Fat Liar Himself $47.9M 2002
No Score Yet Frank McKlusky, C.I. Himself 2002
42% BASEketball Himself 1998
90% Ragtime Delmas 1981
No Score Yet James Cagney: That Yankee Doodle Dandy Actor 1981
62% The End Ben Lawson 1978
0% Billy Jack Goes to Washington Vice President 1977
No Score Yet Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol Sgt. Gill 1972
No Score Yet The Over-the-Hill Gang Captain Oren Hayes 1969
97% Some Like It Hot Mulligan 1959
90% The Last Hurrah John Gorman 1958
No Score Yet Inside Detroit Actor 1956
No Score Yet Ring of Fear Frank Wallace 1954
No Score Yet Jubilee Trail Ernest `Texas' Conway 1954
No Score Yet The People Against O'Hara Vincent Ricks 1951
No Score Yet The Fireball Father O'Hara 1950
No Score Yet Johnny One-Eye Martin Martin 1950
No Score Yet A Dangerous Profession Joe Farley 1949
No Score Yet Fighting Father Dunne Father Peter J. Dunne 1948
78% The Boy with Green Hair Gramp 1948
No Score Yet Riffraff Dan Hammer 1947
No Score Yet Crack-Up George Steele 1946
No Score Yet Man Alive Speed 1945
No Score Yet Having Wonderful Crime Michael J. Malone 1945
No Score Yet Marine Raiders Maj. Steven Lockhard 1944
No Score Yet His Butler's Sister Martin Murphy 1943
No Score Yet The Iron Major Francis William 'Frank' / 'Cav' Cavanaugh 1943
No Score Yet Bombardier Maj. Chick Davis 1943
No Score Yet The Navy Comes Through Mallory 1942
No Score Yet Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie Actor 1941
No Score Yet Doomed Caravan Jim Ferber 1941
No Score Yet Flowing Gold Hap O'Connor 1940
No Score Yet Torrid Zone Mr. Steve Case 1940
No Score Yet 'Til We Meet Again Steve Burke 1940
No Score Yet Castle on the Hudson Warden Walter Long 1940
No Score Yet The Fighting 69th Father Duffy 1940
No Score Yet Slightly Honorable John Webb 1940
83% Knute Rockne---All American Knute Rockne 1940
67% Boy Meets Girl J. Carlyle Benson 1938
No Score Yet Cowboy from Brooklyn Roy Chadwick 1938
No Score Yet Hawaiian Buckaroo Stephen Wainwright 1938
100% Angels with Dirty Faces Rev. Jerry Connolly 1938
No Score Yet Bar 20 Justice Frazier 1938
No Score Yet Women Are Like That Bill Landin 1938
No Score Yet Panamint's Bad Man Carl Adams 1938
No Score Yet Submarine D-1 Butch Rogers 1937
No Score Yet San Quentin Capt. Stephen Jameson 1937
No Score Yet Slim Red Blayd 1937
No Score Yet The Great O'Malley James Aloysius 'Jim' / 'Jimmy' O'Malley 1937
No Score Yet Ceiling Zero Jake L. Lee 1936
No Score Yet China Clipper Actor 1936
No Score Yet Public Enemy's Wife Lee Laird 1936
No Score Yet Page Miss Glory Daniel 'Click' / 'Dan' Wiley 1935
No Score Yet The Irish in Us Pat O'Hara 1935
No Score Yet In Caliente Lawrence 'Larry' MacArthur 1935
No Score Yet Devil Dogs of the Air Lieut 1935
100% Flirtation Walk Sgt. "Scrapper" Thornhhill 1934
No Score Yet Here Comes the Navy Biff Martin 1934
No Score Yet Gambling Lady Charlie Lang 1934
No Score Yet I've Got Your Number Terry Riley 1934
No Score Yet Twenty Million Sweethearts Russell Edward 'Rush' Blake 1934
No Score Yet College Coach (Football Coach ) Coach James Gore 1933
89% Bombshell (Blonde Bombshell) Brogan 1933
No Score Yet The World Gone Mad (The Public Be Hanged) (Public Be Damned) Andy Terrell 1933
No Score Yet Bureau of Missing Persons Detective Butch Saunders 1933
No Score Yet Air Mail Duke Talbot 1932
No Score Yet Virtue Jimmy Doyle 1932
No Score Yet American Madness Matt 1932
No Score Yet Hell's House Matt Kelly 1932
No Score Yet Final Edition Sam Bradshaw 1932
No Score Yet Consolation Marriage Steve Porter 1931
92% The Front Page Hildy Johnson 1931
No Score Yet Flying High: Quest for Everest Sport Wardell 1931


No Score Yet Long Haired Businessmen
Screenwriter Kyle
  • 2017
86% The Mindy Project
  • 2014
No Score Yet The Talk
  • 2014
  • 2011
No Score Yet Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • 2012
No Score Yet Epic Poker
Host Reporter
  • 2012
  • 2011
No Score Yet Dateline NBC
  • 2003
No Score Yet Arli$$
  • 2001
  • 2000
85% The Simpsons
  • 1999
No Score Yet Everybody Loves Raymond
Pat O'Brien
  • 1997
  • 1996
No Score Yet Picket Fences
Pat O'Brien
  • 1996
No Score Yet Murphy Brown
  • 1995
100% The Larry Sanders Show
  • 1995
No Score Yet Happy Days
Uncle Joe
  • 1982
  • 1980
No Score Yet WKRP in Cincinnati
  • 1981