Otto Kruger was born September 6, 1885, in Toledo, Ohio. This prominent matinee idol of the 1920s theater never attained the same stature in Hollywood, but he certainly contributed many superb performances in movies of the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Kruger, a slightly built man with a smooth manner and cruel smile, specialized in urbane heavies playing crooked lawyers and businessmen with particular gusto, and even protraying Nazis in several films.
He made one silent, 1923's Under the Red Robe, but didn't take up movie work in earnest until 1933. In one of his first films, Ever in My Heart (1933), he co-starred with Barbara Stanwyck and was tagged a "comer," but he settled into character work shortly thereafter (although he was acceptable as the nominal hero of 1936's Dracula's Daughter opposite Gloria Holden). In noir films his role as thieving psychologist Jules Amthor to Dick Powell's Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet (1944) was particularly effective, as was his villian Charles Tobin, the title character of Saboteur (1942) for Alfred Hitchcock.
A series of minor strokes finally forced Kruger to retire in the mid 1960s, and he died on his 89th birthday. His other films include Turn Back the Clock (1933), Gallant Lady, Crime Doctor and Treasure Island (1934), Living Dangerously (1936), Another Thin Man (1939), Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940), Hitler's Children (1943), High Noon (as the judge who leaves town, 1952), Magnificent Obsession, Black Widow (1954), and The Young Philadelphians (1959).
--LEONARD MALTIN, from
Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia.
A selection of Otto Kruger films.
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A selection of Otto Kruger in books.
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