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William Harrigan was the son of playwright/actor Edward Harrigan, one-half of the legendary Harrigan and Hart musical comedy team. Beginning his own acting career in the pre-WW I era, the younger Harrigan made his film debut in 1917. Most of his screen characters seemed destined for an early and unpleasant demise, as witness the duplicitous Dr. Kemp in The Invisible Man (1933) and retired gangster McKay in G-Men (1935). In 1947, Harrigan scored a personal triumph in the role of the irascible Captain in the original Broadway production of Mister Roberts; the play was co-written and staged by Joshua Logan, the husband of Harrigan's actress sister Nedda. William Harrigan's final screen assignments included the ghostly baseball great Red O'Malley in the risible Roogie's Bump (1954).

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