John Qualen

Actor, Musician
John Qualen appeared in some of the greatest movies ever made, but his versatility allowed him to seem like a different man from picture to picture. He specialized in Scandinavians, but actually played various ... Read more »
Born: 12/08/1899 in Vancouver, British Columbia, CA


Actor (91)

Frasier, The Sensuous Lion 1973 (Movie)

Old Man on Porch (Actor)

Doc 1968 - 1969 (TV Show)


Hail, Hero! 1969 (Movie)

Billy Hurd (Actor)

Firecreek 1968 (Movie)

Hall (Actor)

P.J. 1968 (Movie)

Poppa (Actor)

A Big Hand For the Little Lady 1966 (Movie)

Jesse Buford (Actor)

The Sons of Katie Elder 1965 (Movie)

Charlie Biller (Actor)

A Patch of Blue 1964 (Movie)

Mr Faber (Actor)

Cheyenne Autumn 1964 (Movie)

Svenson (Actor)

I'll Take Sweden 1964 (Movie)

Olaf (Actor)

The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao 1963 (Movie)

Luther Lindquist (Actor)

The Prize 1963 (Movie)

Oscar (Actor)

The Real McCoys 1957 - 1963 (TV Show)


Those Calloways 1963 (Movie)

Ernie Evans (Actor)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 1961 (Movie)

Peter Ericson (Actor)

Two Rode Together 1961 (Movie)

Ole Knudsen (Actor)

Hell Bent For Leather 1960 (Movie)

Old Ben (Actor)

North to Alaska 1960 (Movie)

Lumberjack (Actor)

Anatomy of a Murder 1959 (Movie)

Jailor Sulo (Actor)

The Gun Runners 1958 (Movie)

Pop (Actor)

Johnny Concho 1956 (Movie)

Jake (Actor)

The Big Land 1956 (Movie)

Sven Johnson (Actor)

The Searchers 1956 (Movie)

Lars Jorgensen (Actor)

At Gunpoint 1955 (Movie)

Livingstone (Actor)

The Sea Chase 1955 (Movie)

Chief Schmitt (Actor)

Unchained 1955 (Movie)

Leonard Haskins (Actor)

Passion 1954 (Movie)

Gaspar Melo (Actor)

The High and the Mighty 1954 (Movie)

Jose Locota (Actor)

The Student Prince 1954 (Movie)

Willie Klauber (Actor)

I, the Jury 1953 (Movie)

Dr Vickers (Actor)

Buccaneer's Girl 1950 (Movie)

Vegetable Man (Actor)

Goodbye, My Fancy 1950 (Movie)

Prof. Dingley (Actor)

The Big Steal 1949 (Movie)

Juilus Seton (Actor)

Adventure 1944 (Movie)

Model T (Actor)

An American Romance 1944 (Movie)

Anton Dubechek (Actor)

Casablanca 1942 (Movie)

Berger (Actor)

Larceny, Inc. 1941 (Movie)

Sam Bachrach (Actor)

Angels over Broadway 1940 (Movie)

Charles Engle (Actor)

His Girl Friday 1940 (Movie)

Earl Williams (Actor)

Million Dollar Baby 1940 (Movie)


The Devil and Daniel Webster 1940 (Movie)

Miser Stevens (Actor)

The Grapes of Wrath 1940 (Movie)

Muley (Actor)

The Long Voyage Home 1940 (Movie)


The Shepherd of the Hills 1940 (Movie)

Coot Royal (Actor)

Knute Rockne - All American 1939 (Movie)


Nothing Sacred 1936 (Movie)

Fireman (Actor)

Black Fury 1934 (Movie)

Mike (Actor)

Arrowsmith 1930 (Movie)

Henry Novak (Actor)

Angel's Holiday (Movie)

Waldo (Actor)

Babies for Sale (Movie)

Mr. Anderson (Actor)

Blondie on a Budget (Movie)

Mr. Fuddle (Actor)

Captain Kidd (Movie)

Bert Blivens (Actor)

Charlie Chan in Paris (Movie)

Concierge (Actor)

Cheers of the Crowd (Movie)

Eddie (Actor)

Doubting Thomas (Movie)

Von Blitzen (Actor)

Fifty Roads to Town (Movie)

Sheriff Daw (Actor)

Fit for a King (Movie)

Otto (Actor)

Five of a Kind (Movie)

Asa Wyatt (Actor)

Four Wives (Movie)

Frank (Actor)

Getting Away From It All (TV Show)


Girls' Dormitory (Movie)

Toni (Actor)

Hans Christian Andersen (Movie)

Burgomaster (Actor)

He Was Her Man (Movie)

Dutch (Actor)

Hi, Nellie! (Movie)

Janitor (Actor)

Honeymoon in Bali (Movie)

Man (Actor)

Joy of Living (Movie)

Oswego (Actor)

Let Us Live (Movie)

Dan (Actor)

Let's Fall in Love (Movie)


Mickey, the Kid (Movie)

Mailman (Actor)

Model Wife (Movie)

Janitor (Actor)

My Girl Tisa (Movie)

Svenson (Actor)

New Wine (Movie)

Clerk (Actor)

Out of the Fog (Movie)

Olaf Knudsen (Actor)

Ring Around the Moon (Movie)

Bill Harvey (Actor)

Roughly Speaking (Movie)

Svend Olsen (Actor)

Saturday's Children (Movie)

1st carpenter (Actor)

Song of Scheherazade (Movie)

Lorenzo (Actor)

Strange Confession (Movie)

Monge (Actor)

Street Scene (Movie)

Karl Olsen (Actor)

Swing Shift Maisie (Movie)

Horatio Curley (Actor)

The Bad Man of Brimstone (Movie)

Loco (Actor)

The Country Doctor (Movie)

Asa Wyatt (Actor)

The Devil's Brother (Movie)

Man Who Owned the Bull (Actor)

The Jungle Book (Movie)

The barber (Actor)

The Mad Miss Manton (Movie)

Subway watchman (Actor)

The Road to Glory (Movie)

Duflous (Actor)

The Texans (Movie)

Swede (Actor)

Tortilla Flat (Movie)

Jose Maria Corcoran (Actor)

Whipsaw (Movie)

Dobson (Actor)

Wife vs. Secretary (Movie)

Mr. Jenkins (Actor)

Woman on the Run (Movie)

Mailbus (Actor)


John Qualen appeared in some of the greatest movies ever made, but his versatility allowed him to seem like a different man from picture to picture. He specialized in Scandinavians, but actually played various nationalities over the course of his career, which caught its first break in 1929 when he portrayed Carl Olsen, a Swedish janitor in the Broadway play "Street Scene." He recreated the part for a film version two years later, the first of a long line of different movies and accents. The same year as "Street Scene," he was in John Ford's "Arrowsmith," which started a lengthy collaboration with the director. For over 30 years, he belonged to Ford's stock company and appeared in some of his best-known films, often playing working-class men with ethnic names--Lars Jorgensen in "The Searchers," Axel Swanson in "The Long Voyage Home," Ericson in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"--and enunciations to go with them. His characters' accents were sometimes intended for humorous effect; exceptions included Ford's 1940 adaptation of "The Grapes of Wrath," in which Qualen played the irrevocably broken Muley Graves. With a Midwestern twang, Graves told the story of farms being foreclosed and homes being destroyed. That unexpectedly haunting accent found its way into a comedy, too--Howard Hawks's 1940 "His Girl Friday," in which Qualen portrayed a convicted murderer. Another role he is widely remembered for is Victor Laszlo's Resistance contact, Berger, in "Casablanca," whose Scandinavian accent fit the cosmopolitan setting perfectly.




studied declamation under Eliss Day

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois