<ptext-align:>Edward Vincent "Eddie" Bracken (February 7, 1915 – November 14, 2002) was an American actor.
<h2text-align:>Life and career
<ptext-align:>Bracken was born in Astoria, Queens, New York, the son of Catherine and Joseph L. Bracken. Bracken performed in vaudeville at the age of nine and gained fame with the Broadway musical Too Many Girls
in a role he reprised for the 1940 film adaptation. He had performed in a short film series called The Kiddie Troupers
(one of many Our Gang
-like series) prior to that, but that film was his big break. In 1936, Bracken pursued success on Broadway with his starring run in the Joseph Viertel play So Proudly We Hail
. The military drama, co-starring Richard Cromwell, opened to much fanfare but closed after 14 performances at the 46th Street Theater.
<ptext-align:>In the 1940s, director Preston Sturges cast Bracken in two of his best-loved films, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek
, opposite Betty Hutton, and Hail the Conquering Hero
. Due to the popularity of these films, Eddie Bracken was a household name during World War II. He made numerous radiobroadcasts during this era, notably on The Eddie Bracken Show
<ptext-align:>In 1953, Bracken left Hollywood. He appeared on Broadway in Shinbone Alley
, Hello, Dolly!
, The Odd Couple
and Sugar Babies
. His last appearance on Broadway was in the musical Dreamtime
, directed by David Niles at the Ed Sullivan Theater at the age of 77.
<ptext-align:>Bracken's extensive television roles between 1952 and 2000 include an episode of The Golden Girls
as Rose Nylund's ex-childhood boyfriend from St. Olaf, as well as an episode of Tales from the Darkside
playing a stubborn old man who refuses to believe that he has died. After nearly 30 years out of feature films, he returned to perform character roles, including the sympathetic Walley World
theme park founder Roy Walley in National Lampoon's Vacation
, and Duncan's Toy Chest
toy store owner Mr. Duncan in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
. Bracken also had a long career with Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey, starring in dozens of productions in the 1980s–early 2000s. One high point was their production of Show Boat
in which he played Cap'n Andy Hawkes. This production was broadcast on PBS in 1990.
<ptext-align:>On November 14, 2002, Bracken died in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, of complications from an undisclosed surgery at the age of 87. His wife of 63 years, Connie, a former actress, died in August 2002, just three months before his death. Connie was his leading lady in the Broadway production of What a Life
in 1938. Together Eddie and Connie had five children: two sons (Michael and David) and three daughters (Judy, Carolyn and Susan).
<h3text-align:>Hollywood Walk of Fame
<ptext-align:>For his contribution to radio, Eddie Bracken has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1651 Vine Street and a second star at 6751 Hollywood Blvd. for his contribution to the television industry.