Pat O'Brien - Rotten Tomatoes

Pat O'Brien

Highest Rated:   100% Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
Birthday:  
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).

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
40% John Doe: Vigilante
  • Constable Jack Calahan
2014
23% 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
$0.1M 2005
21% 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
42% Big Fat Liar
  • Himself
$47.9M 2002
No Score Yet Frank McKlusky, C.I.
  • Himself
2002
42% BASEketball
  • Himself
1998
90% Ragtime
  • Delmas
1981
0% Billy Jack Goes to Washington
  • Vice President
1977
No Score Yet The Over-the-Hill Gang
  • Captain Oren Hayes
1969
96% Some Like It Hot
  • Mulligan
1959
89% 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
75% 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 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
100% Angels with Dirty Faces
  • Rev. Jerry Connolly
1938
No Score Yet Bar 20 Justice
  • Frazier
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 Public Enemy's Wife
  • Lee Laird
1936
No Score Yet China Clipper
  • Actor
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 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
  • Sport Wardell
1931

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
86% The Mindy Project
2012
  • Himself
  • 2014
No Score Yet The Talk
2010
  • Guest
  • 2014
  • 2011
No Score Yet Epic Poker
2011-2012
  • Host
  • 2012
  • 2011
No Score Yet Jimmy Kimmel Live
2003
  • Guest
  • 2011
No Score Yet Dateline NBC
1992
  • Reporter
  • 2003
No Score Yet The Simpsons
1989
  • Voice
  • 1999

Quotes from Pat O'Brien's Characters