Billy Gilbert (Billy Gilbert)

Billy Gilbert

Actor, Comedian. Born William Gilbert Barron in Louisville, Kentucky, he made his vaudeville debut at 12 and began appearing regularly in films in 1929. The son of opera singers, he inherited a massive voice which he used to develop a suspense-filled sneezing routine. Walt Disney created the character Sneezy in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937) around Gilbert’s unique talent. “People remember me as the comedian with the funny sneeze”, he once said. “Funny thing is I didn’t use it in more than five or six of the films I made, but the way it sticks in people’s memories you’d think that was all I ever did”. Gilbert’s overall credits are indeed considerable. Under contract to Hal Roach in the 1930s, he co-starred with Ben Blue in the “Taxi Boys” series and played in many films with Laurel & Hardy, unforgettably as the apoplectic, piano-hating Professor Theodore von Schwarzenhoffen in the Oscar-winning “The Music Box” (1932). Among his 200 other films are “Flying Down to Rio” (1933), “Rosalie” (1937), “Blockheads” (1938), “Destry Rides Again” (1939), “The Great Dictator” (as Herring, a parody of Field Marshall Goering, 1940), “His Girl Friday” (1940), “Arabian Nights” (1942), and “Anchors Aweigh” (1945). On Broadway Gilbert starred in Joshua Logan’s “Fanny” (1954) and wrote the book for a short-lived musical, “Buttrio Square” (1952). He retired after suffering a stroke in 1963. In his last years Gilbert was a frequent and popular guest at meetings of the Laurel & Hardy fan club, The Sons of the Desert. (bio by: Bobb Edwards)


  • September, 12, 1894
  • USA


  • September, 09, 1971
  • USA


  • Los Angeles Odd Fellows Cemetery
  • California
  • USA

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