Howard Wendell - Rotten Tomatoes

Howard Wendell

Highest Rated:   100% The Big Heat (1953)
Lowest Rated:   67% How to Murder Your Wife (1965)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Stoutly proportioned yet dignified character actor Howard Wendell was known for his skill and reliability in a screen career lasting three decades -- according to his grandson, he was referred to by those who knew his work as "one-take Wendell." Born Howard David Wendell in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1908, though he considered Elyria, Ohio, where he was raised, to be his home. His acting career began with work in a minstrel show, and he later appeared on a radio show broadcast out of Cleveland, Ohio. Wendell worked with the Elyria Playmakers, and was later an apprentice at the Cleveland Playhouse. Later, while traveling across the midwest as an actor, he also began directing plays and acting in summer stock, and subsequently moved on to road show productions in the northeast. By the end of the 1940s, he'd amassed some Broadway credits as well, and made his small-screen debut on Colgate Theatre. By 1952, he was in Hollywood and working in feature films, most notably Fritz Lang's The Big Heat (1953). Wendell proved adept at older character parts, including politicians, doctors, business executives, judges, and other authority figures -- in Lang's film, he was memorable as an incompetent and crooked police chief, who is seen harassing the honest members of his force and kowtowing to his city's worst gang elements. Perhaps Wendell's strangest appearance was in Edward L. Cahn's The Fourt Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1958), in which he portrayed a medical doctor whose skill at saving lives gets him killed -- his character appears, decidedly postmortem, in the guise of a severed head in the vault of the villain. Wendell could also do comedy, and appeared in his share of sitcoms, including The Dick Van Dyke Show. Although he officially retired in 1963, Wendell went on to do appearances in episodes of I Dream of Jeannie Batman in the later 1960s, and he gave his final screen performance on an episode of Adam-12 in 1971.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
85% The Cincinnati Kid
  • Howard, Poker Player
1965
67% How to Murder Your Wife
  • Actor
1965
No Score Yet Where Love Has Gone
  • Mr. Carruthers
1964
No Score Yet My Blood Runs Cold
  • Mayor
1964
No Score Yet King of the Roaring Twenties
  • Mr. Simmons
1961
No Score Yet The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake
  • Dr. Bradford
1959
No Score Yet Storm Center
  • Sen. Bascomb
1956
No Score Yet A Day of Fury
  • Vanryzin
1956
No Score Yet Never Say Goodbye
  • Harry
1956
No Score Yet Athena
  • Mr. Grenville
1954
No Score Yet Prince Valiant
  • Morgan Todd
1954
No Score Yet The Black Dakotas
  • Judge Baker
1954
98% Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • Watson
1953
No Score Yet By the Light of the Silvery Moon
  • Mr. Harris
1953
100% The Big Heat
  • Commissioner Higgins
1953
No Score Yet Affair in Trinidad
  • Anderson
1952

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Batman
1966-1968
  • Bowman
  • 1967

Quotes from Howard Wendell's Characters

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