Slim Summerville (George Joseph Somerville)
Photos with Slim Summerville
BiographyAlbuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1892, rustic-looking George "Slim" Summerville possessed one of those malleable mugs that made you laugh even before he opened his mouth. Young Slim ran away from home as a youth and lived a rather wanderlust life until a chance meeting with Mack Sennett through his comedian friend Edgar Kennedy changed everything. He broke into silent films at age nineteen as one of Sennett's pie-hurling Keystone Kops and became part of the stock company of players. Read more... mention his potato-like nose, mournful mug, and slim, curling upper lip, helped set him apart -- so much so that Summerville eventually branched out into his own short vehicles. Much more comfortable in rumpled clothes and overalls than a suit and tie, he later learned the ropes of directing and in the 1920s helmed a string of short films for both Fox and Universal studios. He refocused on acting come the advent of sound and made a rather easy transition, standing out in a number of commercial films, both comedic and dramatic, including the mammoth war epic All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), the landmark musical film King of Jazz (1930), Hecht-MacArthur's classic The Front Page (1931), the Shirley Temple vehicles Captain January (1936) and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938), and John Ford's Tobacco Road (1941). In addition he scored in a series of short comedies opposite Zasu Pitts, and a slew of supports in Hoot Gibson westerns. Usually playing much older than he was, the sleepy-eyed, slow-drawling Summerville played his last role in The Hoodlum Saint (1946), before dying of a stroke on January 5, 1946, at the not-so-old age of 53. He left a strong enough legacy, however, to be remembered as one of the screen's more reliable comedians. He was survived by his wife Eleanor and son Elliot.