Ralf Harolde (born Ralph Harold Wigger, May 17, 1899 – November 11, 1974) was an American character actor who often played gangsters. Between 1920 and 1963, he appeared in 99 films, including Smart Money with Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney, Jimmy the Gent with James Cagney and Bette Davis, Night Nurse with Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Gable, I'm No Angel with Mae West, Baby Take a Bow with Shirley Temple, A Tale of Two Cities with Ronald Colman, Our Relations with Laurel and Hardy, and Murder, My Sweet with Dick Powell.
(1899-05-17)May 17, 1899
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|November 11, 1974(1974-11-11) (aged 75)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Harolde was born Ralph Wigger in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father, William Wigger, operated a tobacco store in Pittsburgh. When Harolde finished grade school, he began working at a bank in Pittsburgh and taking night classes at Allegheny High School. He later was secretary to the director of the Sarah Heinz House, but his real interest was acting. He became an extra in productions at the Empire Theatre in Pittsburgh, and his first speaking part came in the comedy Officer 666 in March 1917. He changed his name to Ralf Harolde for the program of that play.
Harolde enlisted in the U. S. Marines during World War I and spent seven months at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. His scheduled transfer to overseas duty was canceled after the armistice was settled four days before he was to leave. He returned to Pittsburgh and acted with The Pershing Players.
Haroled acted on stage before he worked in films. He had his own company in Lincoln, Nebraska, and performed with other stock companies there before he left in May 1928. He also acted on stage in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and Columbus, Ohio. While in Columbus, he married Catherine Cornell, who became his business manager.
In 1938, Harolde was arrested on charges of trying to kidnap a boy after he was found talking to the boy several blocks from the child's school. When Harolde was booked in Hollywood on suspicion of kidnapping and loitering on public school grounds, he said, "I had no ulterior motive. I only wanted to take the little boy to a store and buy him some ice cream."
Harolde died in Santa Monica, California at age 75.
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