American actor Charles Halton was forced to quit school at age 14 to help support his family. When his boss learned that young Halton was interested in the arts, he financed the boy's training at the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts. For the next three decades, Halton appeared in every aspect of "live" performing; in the '20s, he became a special favorite of playwright George S. Kaufman, who cast Halton in one of his most famous roles as movie mogul Herman Glogauer in Once in a Lifetime. Appearing in Dodsworth on Broadway with Walter Huston, Halton was brought to Hollywood to recreate his role in the film version. Though he'd occasionally return to the stage, Halton put down roots in Hollywood, where his rimless spectacles and snapping-turtle features enabled him to play innumerable "nemesis" roles. He could usually be seen as a grasping attorney, a rent-increasing landlord or a dictatorial office manager. While many of these characterizations were two-dimensional, Halton was capable of portraying believable human beings with the help of the right director; such a director was Ernst Lubitsch, who cast Halton as the long-suffered Polish stage manager in To Be or Not to Be (1942). Alfred Hitchcock likewise drew a flesh and blood portrayal from Halton, casting the actor as the small-town court clerk who reveals that Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard are not legally married in Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1942). Charles Halton retired from Hollywood after completing his work on Friendly Persuasion in 1956; he died three years later of hepatitis.