Image of Ned Sparks

Ned Sparks

Ned Sparks proved himself a top character support whose style would be imitated for decades to come. Although less remembered now, he was an inimitable cinematic player back in 1930s Hollywood. The nasal-toned, deadpan comedian Sparks was born Edward A. Sparkman in Guelph, Canada, and was raised for a time in St. Thomas, Ontario. He attended the University of Toronto and, after a period of soul-searching, decided upon acting. He began, believe it or not, as a honky-tonk balladeer in Dawson Creek, Alaska. In 1907, he went to New York and developed his stone-faced reputation in comic outings. His first film in 1915 did not lead to other offers, particularly during a black-balling incident as a one of the founding members of Actors Equity. In 1922, his movie career headed full steam, but it was the advent of sound with Ned's cynical tones, raspy whines and sour disposition that sparked a comfortable film niche, making close to 100 films in all. Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Going Hollywood (1933), the Caterpillar in the all-star Alice in Wonderland (1933), the Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers version of Imitation of Life (1934) were just a few of his more noticeable roles. His cigar-chomping puss became so well-known at Warner Bros., in fact, that Walt Disney's short animated film Broken Toys (1935) had a Jack-in-the-Box character based exclusively on Ned's image. A few years later, when Disney made Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1938), Ned's caricature played The Jester. In 1939, Tex Avery portrayed him as a hermit crab in Fresh Fish (1939). A radio favorite over the years, he performed alongside Bing Crosby quite frequently. His last disagreeable Hollywood role would be alongside James Stewart in Magic Town (1947). In 1957, he died of an intestinal blockage.

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Nov 19, 1883 In Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Good References 1920-01-01
Latest Project:
Movie Magic Town 1947-10-07
Known For
Poster of This Way Please
Poster of Marie Galante
Poster of Faint Perfume
Movie Magic Town Ike 1947-10-07
Movie Stage Door Canteen Ned Sparks 1943-06-24
Movie The Star Maker 'Speed' King 1939-08-25
Movie Hawaii Calls Strings 1938-03-12
Movie Wake Up and Live Steve Cluskey 1937-08-23
Movie One in a Million Danny Simpson 1937-01-01
Movie This Way Please Inky Wells 1937-10-15
Movie The Bride Walks Out Paul Dodson 1936-07-10
Movie Sweet Music 'Ten Percent' Nelson 1935-02-23
Movie George White's 1935 Scandals Elmer 1935-03-29
Movie Sing and Like it Toots McGuire 1934-04-20
Movie Hi, Nellie! Shammy 1934-01-20
Movie Down to Their Last Yacht Captain 'Sunny Jim' Roberts 1934-08-31
Movie Imitation of Life Elmer Smith 1934-11-23
Movie Servants' Entrance 1934-09-25
Movie Sweet Adeline Dan Herzig 1934-12-29
Movie Marie Galante Plosser 1934-10-25
Movie Secrets Sunshine 1933-03-16
Movie Gold Diggers of 1933 Barney Hopkins 1933-05-27
Movie Too Much Harmony Lem Spawn 1933-09-23
Movie Lady for a Day Happy McGuire 1933-09-13
Movie Going Hollywood Conroy 1933-12-22
Movie The Miracle Man Harry Evans 1932-04-01
Movie Big Dame Hunting 1932-01-15
Movie Big City Blues Mr. 'Stacky' Stackhouse 1932-09-18
Movie Blessed Event George Moxley 1932-09-10
Movie The Crusader Eddie Crane 1932-10-04
Movie Kept Husbands Hughie Hanready 1931-02-22
Movie Iron Man Riley 1931-04-29
Movie The Secret Call Bert Benedict 1931-07-24
Movie Corsair Slim 1931-11-28
Movie Double Cross Roads Happy Max 1930-04-20
Movie The Devil's Holiday Charlie Thorne 1930-05-09
Movie Love Comes Along Happy 1930-01-05
Movie The Fall Guy Danny Walsh 1930-06-15
Movie Leathernecking Sparks 1930-09-12
Movie Conspiracy Winthrop 'Little Nemo' Clavering 1930-08-10
Movie The Canary Murder Case Tony Skeel 1929-02-16
Movie Street Girl Happy Winter 1929-08-21
Movie Nothing But the Truth Clarence van Dyke 1929-04-20
Movie Alias the Lone Wolf Phinuit 1927-08-22
Movie The Small Bachelor J. Hamilton Beamish 1927-11-06
Movie Twinkletoes 1926-11-28
Movie The Hidden Way Mulligan 1926-07-26
Movie His Supreme Moment Adrian 1925-04-12
Movie The Only Thing Gibson 1925-11-22
Movie Faint Perfume 1925-06-08
Movie Good References Peter Stearns 1920-01-01
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