Frank Morgan

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Francis Phillip Wuppermann
New York, Green-wood Cemetery

Francis Phillip Wuppermann (June 1, 1890 – September 18, 1949), known by his stage name of Frank Morgan, was an American character actor. He is best known as a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract player, including the title character, inThe Wizard of Oz (1939).

Early life

Morgan was born Francis Phillip Wuppermann in New York City, the youngest of eleven children (six boys and five girls) born to Josephine Wright (née Hancox) and George Diogracia Wuppermann. His father was born in Venezuela, of German and Spanish descent, and was raised in Hamburg, Germany. His mother was born in the U.S. of English descent. The family earned its wealth distributing Angostura bitters, allowing Wuppermann to attend Cornell Universitywhere he joined Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. He then followed his older brother Ralph Morgan into show business, first on the Broadway stage and then into motion pictures.


His first film was The Suspect in 1916. In 1917, he provided support to his friend John Barrymore in Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman, an independent film produced in and about New York City. Morgan's career expanded when talkies began, his most stereotypical role being that of a befuddled but good hearted middle-aged man.

By the mid-1930s, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had been so impressed by Morgan that they signed him to a lifetime contract. Morgan's best remembered film performance, playing five roles, is in The Wizard of Oz(1939), where he played the carnival huckster "Professor Marvel", the Gatekeeper at the Emerald City, the coachman of the carriage drawn by "The Horse of a Different Color", the Guard who initially refuses to let Dorothy and her friends in to see the Wizard, and the Wizard himself. Morgan was cast in the role on September 22, 1938. W. C. Fields was originally chosen for the role of the Wizard, but the studio ran out of patience after protracted haggling over his fee. An actor with a wide range, he was equally effective playing comical, befuddled men such as Jesse Kiffmeyer in Saratoga (1937) and Mr. Ferris in Casanova Brown (1944), as he was with more serious, troubled characters like Hugo Matuschek in The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and Professor Roth in The Mortal Storm (1940). MGM's 1946 film The Great Morgan was written with the story centering around Frank Morgan.

In the 1940s, Morgan co-starred with Fanny Brice in one version (of several different series) of the radio program Maxwell House Coffee Time, aka The Frank Morgan-Fanny Brice Show. During the first half of the show Morgan would tell increasingly outlandish tall tales about his life adventures, much to the dismay of his fellow cast members. After the Morgan segment there was a song, followed by Brice as 'Baby Snooks' for the last half of the show. In 1947, Morgan starred as the title character in the radio series The Fabulous Dr. Tweedy. He also recorded a number of children's records, including the popular Gossamer Wump, released in 1949 by Capitol Records.

Like most character actors of the studio era, Morgan was sought out for numerous motion picture roles. One of his last roles was as Barney Wile in The Stratton Story (1949), a true story about a ballplayer (played by James Stewart) who makes a comeback after having his leg amputated due to a hunting accident.

His last film Key to the City (1950) was released posthumously. In it Morgan played Fire Chief Duggan. He was the third lead, after Clark Gable and Loretta Young. He was nominated twice for an Academy Award: for Best Actor for his role as the cuckolded Duke of Florence in The Affairs of Cellini (1934), and for Best Supporting Actor for Tortilla Flat (1942), in which he played a simple Hispanic man who takes care of dogs.

Personal life and death

Morgan married Alma Muller (1895–1970) in 1914; they had one son. Their marriage ended with his death in 1949. He was widely known to have had a drinking problem, according to several who worked with him, including actress Margaret Hamilton (theWicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz) and "Oz" historian Aljean Harmetz. Morgan sometimes carried a black briefcase to work fully equipped with a small mini bar. Morgan's niece, Claudia Morgan (née Wuppermann) was a stage and film actress, most notable for playing the role of Vera Claythorne in the first Broadway production ofAgatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

Morgan was also a brother of playwright Carlos Wupperman, who was killed in theRhineland in 1919 while on duty there with the Army of Occupation. Wupperman had only one play produced on Broadway.The Triumph of X opened at the Comedy Theater in New York City on August 24, 1921,[7] but ran only 30 performances. The production besides starring Morgan, the play's female lead was Helen Menken, and in his first Broadway outing, character actor Robert Keith, father of actor Brian Keith and one-time husband of Theater Guild actress Peg Entwistle, who committedsuicide by jumping from the Hollywood Sign in 1932.

Morgan died of a heart attack on September 18, 1949, while filming Annie Get Your Gun (replaced by Louis Calhern). His death came before the 1956 premiere televised broadcast on CBS of The Wizard of Oz, would make him the only major cast member from the film who would not live to see the film's revived popularity and become in the 1960s an annual holiday American television institution. He is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. His tombstone carries his real name, Wuppermann, as well as his stage name, Frank Morgan. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures at 1708 Vine Street and for radio at 6700 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.


  • The Suspect (1916)
  • The Daring of Diana (1916)
  • The Girl Philippa (1916)
  • A Modern Cinderella (1917)
  • A Child of the Wild (1917)
  • The Light in Darkness (1917)
  • Baby Mine (1917)
  • Who's Your Neighbor? (1917)
  • Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman (1917)
  • The Knife (1918)
  • At the Mercy of Men (1918)
  • The Gray Towers Mystery (1919)
  • The Golden Shower (1919)
  • Manhandled (1924)
  • Born Rich (1924)
  • The Crowded Hour (1925)
  • The Man Who Found Himself (1925)
  • Scarlet Saint (1925)
  • Love's Greatest Mistake (1927)
  • Belle of the Night (1930) (short subject)
  • Dangerous Nan McGrew (1930)
  • Queen High (1930)
  • Laughter (1930)
  • Fast and Loose (1930)
  • Secrets of the French Police (1932)
  • The Half Naked Truth (1932)
  • The Billion Dollar Scandal (1933)
  • Luxury Liner (1933)
  • Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (1933)
  • Reunion in Vienna (1933)
  • The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933)
  • The Nuisance (1933)
  • When Ladies Meet (1933)
  • Best of Enemies (1933)
  • Broadway to Hollywood (1933)
  • Bombshell (1933)
  • Broadway to Hollywood (1933)
  • The Cat and the Fiddle (1934)
  • Sisters Under the Skin (1934)
  • Success at Any Price (1934)
  • The Affairs of Cellini (1934)
  • A Lost Lady (1934)
  • There's Always Tomorrow (1934)
  • By Your Leave (1934)
  • The Mighty Barnum (1934)
  • The Good Fairy (1935)
  • Enchanted April (1935)
  • Naughty Marietta (1935)
  • Lazybones (1935)
  • Escapade (1935)
  • I Live My Life (1935)
  • The Imperfect Lady (1935)
  • The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
  • Dancing Pirate (1936)
  • Trouble for Two (1936)
  • Dimples (1936)
  • The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937)
  • The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937)
  • Saratoga (1937)
  • Sunday Night at the Trocadero (1937) (short subject)
  • Beg, Borrow or Steal (1937)
  • Rosalie (1937)
  • Paradise for Three (1938)
  • Port of Seven Seas (1938)
  • The Crowd Roars (1938)
  • Sweethearts (1938)
  • Broadway Serenade (1939)
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • Henry Goes Arizona (1939)
  • Balalaika (1939)
  • The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
  • Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)
  • The Ghost Comes Home (1940)
  • The Mortal Storm (1940)
  • Boom Town (1940)
  • Hullabaloo (1940)
  • Keeping Company (1940)
  • The Wild Man of Borneo (1941)
  • Washington Melodrama (1941)
  • Honky Tonk (1941)
  • The Vanishing Virginian (1942)
  • Tortilla Flat (1942)
  • White Cargo (1942)
  • The Human Comedy (1943)
  • A Stranger in Town (1943)
  • Thousands Cheer (1943)
  • The White Cliffs of Dover (1944)
  • Kismet (1944) (narrator)
  • Casanova Brown (1944)
  • Yolanda and the Thief (1945)
  • The Great Morgan (1946)
  • Courage of Lassie (1946)
  • The Cockeyed Miracle (1946)
  • Lady Luck (1946)
  • Green Dolphin Street (1947)
  • Summer Holiday (1948)
  • The Three Musketeers (1948)
  • The Stratton Story (1949)
  • The Great Sinner (1949)
  • Any Number Can Play (1949)
  • Key to the City (1950)

Source: wikipedia.org, mod.uk

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        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1Ralph MorganRalph MorganBrother06.07.188311.06.1956
        2Claudia MorganClaudia MorganNiece12.06.191117.09.1974
        3Walter HustonWalter HustonCoworker05.04.188307.04.1950
        4Robert Z. LeonardRobert Z. LeonardCoworker07.10.188927.08.1968
        5Buddy EbsenBuddy EbsenCoworker02.04.190806.06.2003
        6William PowellWilliam PowellCoworker29.07.189205.03.1984
        7W. S. Van DykeW. S. Van DykeCoworker21.03.188905.02.1943
        8Dennis O`KeefeDennis O`KeefeCoworker29.03.190831.08.1968
        9Victor  FlemingVictor FlemingCoworker23.02.188906.01.1949
        10Gene MarkeyGene MarkeyCoworker11.12.189501.05.1980
        11Myrna LoyMyrna LoyCoworker02.08.190514.12.1993
        12Olga BaklanovaOlga BaklanovaCoworker19.08.189606.09.1974
        13William J. TuttleWilliam J. TuttleCoworker13.04.191227.07.2007
        14Madge KennedyMadge KennedyCoworker19.04.189109.06.1987
        15Clarence BrownClarence BrownCoworker10.05.189017.08.1987
        16Donna ReedDonna ReedCoworker27.01.192114.01.1986
        17Harold RossonHarold RossonCoworker06.04.189506.09.1988
        18Tom MooreTom MooreCoworker01.05.188312.02.1955
        19Mervyn LeRoyMervyn LeRoyCoworker15.10.190013.09.1987
        20Nat PendletonNat PendletonCoworker09.08.189512.10.1967
        21Douglas ShearerDouglas ShearerCoworker17.11.189905.01.1971
        22Benita HumeBenita HumeCoworker14.10.190601.11.1967
        23Sam ZimbalistSam ZimbalistCoworker31.03.190404.11.1958
        24Constance BennettConstance BennettCoworker22.10.190424.07.1965
        25Clark  GableClark GableFamiliar01.02.190116.11.1960