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Biography
The mashed nose, dog-ugly countenance and brutish manners of Louis Wolheim suggested that he'd spent most of his life as a prizefighter, stevedore, or mob henchman. In fact, the well-educated Wolheim spent six years as a mathematics instructor at Cornell University before ever setting foot on a stage (his broken nose was the result of a Cornell football game). Wolheim found the going rough in silent films, where his unpretty features confined him to standard -- and sometimes fleeting -- bad guy roles. He fared better on Broadway, originating the roles of Captain Flagg in What Price Glory and the title character in The Hairy Ape. When talkies arrived, Wolheim found himself much in demand for roles requiring tough talk and a golden heart; he also enjoyed an off camera reputation as one of the sweetest guys in Hollywood. His most famous film assignment was as the father figure Sergeant Katczinsky in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). Shortly after this triumph, he functioned as both star and director of The Sin Ship (1931). Louis Wolheim died of cancer in 1931, just before he was to begin filming The Front Page (1931).

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