William Frawley

Actor, Vaudevillian
Former vaudevillian William Frawley is known worldwide as Fred Mertz, the skinflint landlord and friend of the Ricardos, on the perpetually repeated classic TV sitcom "I Love Lucy" (CBS, 1951-1956). This was but one in ... Read more »
Born: 02/25/1887 in Burlington, Iowa, USA

Filmography

Actor (65)

My Three Sons 1960 - 1972 (TV Show)

Actor

Safe at Home 1962 (Movie)

Bill Turner (Actor)

The Desilu Revue 1959 - 1960 (TV Show)

Actor

I Love Lucy 1951 - 1957 (TV Show)

Actor

Rancho Notorious 1952 (Movie)

Baldy Gunder (Actor)

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye 1950 (Movie)

Byers (Actor)

The Lemon Drop Kid 1950 (Movie)

(Actor)

Miracle on 34th Street 1947 (Movie)

Charles Halloran (Actor)

The Virginian 1946 (Movie)

(Actor)

Flame of the Barbary Coast 1945 (Movie)

(Actor)

Going My Way 1944 (Movie)

Max Dolan (Actor)

The Fighting Seabees 1944 (Movie)

Eddie Powers (Actor)

Rhythm on the River 1939 (Movie)

(Actor)

Mad About Music 1937 (Movie)

(Actor)

Something to Sing About 1936 (Movie)

(Actor)

Desire 1935 (Movie)

Mr Gibson (Actor)

The General Died at Dawn 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (Movie)

Detective Roberts (Actor)

Alibi Ike (Movie)

Cap (Actor)

Blondie in Society (Movie)

Aldo Pincus (Actor)

Chicken Every Sunday (Movie)

George Kirby (Actor)

Cracked Nuts (Movie)

Mitchell (Actor)

Dancing on a Dime (Movie)

Mac (Actor)

Double or Nothing (Movie)

John Peterson (Actor)

Down to Earth (Movie)

Police Lieutenant (Actor)

F-Man (Movie)

Hogan (Actor)

Footsteps in the Dark (Movie)

Hopkins (Actor)

Gentleman Jim (Movie)

Billy Delaney (Actor)

Golden Gloves (Movie)

Emory Balzar (Actor)

Good Sam (Movie)

Tom (Actor)

Grand Jury Secrets (Movie)

Bright Eyes (Actor)

Harmony Lane (Movie)

Christy (Actor)

Here Is My Heart (Movie)

James Smith (Actor)

High, Wide and Handsome (Movie)

Mac (Actor)

Hit Parade of 1947 (Movie)

Harry Holmes (Actor)

Hold 'em Yale (Movie)

Sunshine Joe (Actor)

I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now (Movie)

Jim Mason (Actor)

It Happened in Flatbush (Movie)

Sam Sloan (Actor)

Kill the Umpire (Movie)

Jimmy O'Brien (Actor)

Lady on a Train (Movie)

Sgt. Christie (Actor)

Minstrel Man (Movie)

(Actor)

Miss Fane's Baby Is Stolen (Movie)

Capt. Murphy (Actor)

Moonlight and Pretzels (Movie)

Mack (Actor)

Mother Wore Tights (Movie)

Mr. Schneider (Actor)

My Wild Irish Rose (Movie)

William Scanlan (Actor)

One Night in the Tropics (Movie)

Roscoe (Actor)

Opened by Mistake (Movie)

Matt Kingsley (Actor)

Red Light (Movie)

(Actor)

Rose Bowl (Movie)

Coach Soapy Moreland (Actor)

Rose of Washington Square (Movie)

Harry Long (Actor)

Roxie Hart (Movie)

O'Malley (Actor)

Ship Cafe (Movie)

Briney O'Brien (Actor)

Strike Me Pink (Movie)

Copple (Actor)

Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven (Movie)

The Agent (Actor)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Movie)

The Duke (Actor)

The Babe Ruth Story (Movie)

Jack Dunn (Actor)

The Crime Doctor (Movie)

Fraser (Actor)

The Farmer's Daughter (Movie)

Scoop Trimble (Actor)

The Lone Wolf and His Lady (Movie)

Inspector Crane (Actor)

The Princess Comes Across (Movie)

Benton (Actor)

The Quarterback (Movie)

Coach (Actor)

The Witching Hour (TV Show)

Actor

Treat 'em Rough (Movie)

'Hotfoot' (Actor)

Whistling in Brooklyn (Movie)

Detective Ramsey (Actor)

Ziegfeld Follies (Movie)

Mr. Martin (Actor)

Biography

Former vaudevillian William Frawley is known worldwide as Fred Mertz, the skinflint landlord and friend of the Ricardos, on the perpetually repeated classic TV sitcom "I Love Lucy" (CBS, 1951-1956). This was but one in a long line of gruff character roles, many of whom displayed a hidden soft side, that he played in more than 150 Hollywood films from 1931-1962.

Relationships

Patricia Barry Actor

Companion
born in 1930

Louise Frawley

Wife
married in 1914 divorced in December 1926, breaking up their vaudeville act

Milestones

1965

Made last appearance with Lucille Ball on episode of "The Lucy Show"

1962

Made final feature film, "Safe at Home"

1950

First TV series as regular, "The First Hundred Years"

1947

Had memorable role in "Miracle on 34th Street"

1939

Played The Duke in remake of "Huckleberry Finn"

1931

Arrived in Hollywood, appeared in "Surrender"

1916

Appeared in isolated silent film, "Lord Loveland Discovers America"

Appeared in what is probably his best-known role, the skinflint landlord Fred Mertz on "I Love Lucy" and the follow-up series "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour"

Credited with having originated the song "Melancholy Baby" during his days as a vaudevillian.

Portrayed 'Bub', the father-in-law of widower Steve Douglas (Fred MacMurray) and unofficial housekeeper to the clan on the sitcom "My Three Sons" (CBS)

Bonus Trivia

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Frawley is said to have put himself in contention for the role of Fred Mertz on "I Love Lucy" by telephoning Lucille Ball and saying "Red. I hear you gotta TV series coming on. You got a part for me?"

.

A rabid New York Yankees baseball fan, Frawley had written into his "I Love Lucy" contract that he did not have work during The World Series if the Yankees were playing. Considering the 1950s New York Yankees were in eight of the 10 series during the decade, this did cause Desilu a few problems and Frawley does not appear in two "I Love Lucy" episodes due to this clause.

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Some say it was because of his drinking, but Frawley did not drive. Luckily, he lived in the El Royale apartments on Rossmore, in walking distance of all three locations where "I Love Lucy" was filmed during its run. Frawley's favorite watering hole was Nickodell's restaurant and bar, which was only a few yards away from the Paramount main gate.

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Frawley was always happiest when he could sing on an "I Love Lucy" episode. Although Vivian Vance had also been a singer in musical comedy, Frawley insisted she could not carry a tune. It was one of the off-stage elements of friction between Mr. and Mrs. Fred Mertz.

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