Vince Barnett
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Vince Barnett
Vince Barnett
Streamline Express lobby card.jpg
Lobby card for Streamline Express (1935) with Vince Barnett at center
Born (1902-07-04)July 4, 1902
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died August 10, 1977(1977-08-10) (aged 75)
Encino, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1930-1975
Genevieve Meier (1929-1955)
Kit Barnett (his death)

Vince Barnett (July 4, 1902 - August 10, 1977) was an American film actor. He appeared on stage originally before appearing in more than 400 films between 1930 and 1975.

Early years

Barnett was born July 4, 1902, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Luke Barnett, a well-known comedian who specialized in insulting and pulling practical jokes on his audiences.[1] (Luke's professional nickname was "Old Man Ribber" and "the King of Ribbing".)

Barnett graduated from Duquesne University Prep School and Carnegie Institute of Technology.[2] An avid amateur pilot, he flew mail planes for a couple of years.


"Barnett for years [was] known in Hollywood as the 'professional ribber' -- appearing at banquets and parties as a paid 'insulter.'"[3] He would insult the guests in a thick German accent, spill the soup and drop the trays--all to the great delight of hosts who enjoyed watching their friends squirm and mutter "Who hired that jerk?"

"Among the celebrated 'victims' of his practical jokes were President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Bernard Shaw, Henry Ford, and Charles Lindbergh."[4]


Barnett made his stage debut with 'Earl Carroll's Vanities' in 1926. The following year, he acted on Broadway in 'George White's Scandals'.


Barnett's initial involvement with Hollywood was as a screenwriter,[5] "writing screenplays for the two-reeler movies of the late 1920's."[2] He went on to appear in more than 400 films.[6]

The diminutive, chrome-domed Barnett also appeared in the 1926 edition of Earl Carroll's Vanities. He began appearing in films in 1930, playing hundreds of comedy bits and supporting parts until retiring in 1975. Among his more sizable screen roles was the moronic, illiterate gangster "secretary" in Scarface. From 1930 Barnett appeared, usually as comedy relief, in films and on television in a career spanning 45 years. Among his best-regarded early roles, apart from Scarface, were The Big Cage (1933), Thirty Day Princess (1934) and, in a perfectly suited Runyonesque part, Princess O'Hara (1935). In later years, Vince often relinquished his comedy image and was seen in innumerable small roles, often as careworn little men, undertakers, janitors, bartenders and drunks in pictures ranging from films noir (The Killers, 1946) to westerns (Springfield Rifle, 1952).

Later years

In one of his last public appearances, Vince showcased his unique brand of humour with a monologue, delivered at Madison Square Garden in the vaudeville revue The Big Show of 1936.[7]


Barnett died of heart disease August 10, 1977, at Encino Hospital Medical Center.[6] He was survived by his wife, Kit, a brother and a sister.[8]

Partial filmography


  1. ^ Aaker, Everett (2006). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6409-8. Pp. 32-34.
  2. ^ a b "Heinz Hosts Native Son". The Indiana Gazette. June 10, 1972. p. 31. Retrieved 2015 - via  open access publication - free to read
  3. ^ ""Scarface" Finally Passed by Censors". Cumberland Sunday Times. July 3, 1932. p. 7. Retrieved 2015 - via  open access publication - free to read
  4. ^ Katz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-50601-2. P. 81.
  5. ^ "Remember Vince Barnett?". The Lowell Sun. June 21, 1972. p. 11. Retrieved 2015 - via  open access publication - free to read
  6. ^ a b "Actor Vince Barnett dead". The Ottawa Journal. August 11, 1977. p. 5. Retrieved 2015 - via  open access publication - free to read
  7. ^ Johnson, Nels (August 8, 1972). "Familiar Names Still Bask In Limelight of Vaudeville". Daily Independent Journal. p. 12. Retrieved 2015 - via  open access publication - free to read
  8. ^ "Movie comic dies". Redlands Daily Facts. August 11, 1977. p. 12. Retrieved 2015 - via  open access publication - free to read

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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