Edmond O’Brien (Edmond O'Brien)

Edmond O’Brien

Edmond O’Brien was born in Brooklyn, New York, of English and Irish stock. After attending Columbia University for one year, he went to Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre on a scholarship. Edmond O’Brien made his first Broadway appearance at age 21 in Daughters of Atreus. Edmond O’Brien made his film debut in 1938, and gradually built a career as a highly regarded supporting actor. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces and appeared in the Air Forces’ Broadway play and film Winged Victory. Edmond O’Brien won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a harried publicity agent in The Barefoot Contessa (1954) and was also nominated for his role as an alcoholic U.S. senator in Seven Days in May (1964). Prior to that, Edmond O’Brien had an acclaimed role in 1950’s film noir drama D.O.A. as a poisoned man who sets out to find his own murderer before he dies. His other notable films include The Killers (1946), An Act of Murder (1948), White Heat (1949), Backfire (1950),The Girl Can’t Help It (1956), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Longest Day (1962), Fantastic Voyage (1966), and The Wild Bunch (1969). From 1950 to 1952, O’Brien starred in the radio drama Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. His other work in radio included Philip Morris Playhouse on Broadway. He appeared extensively in television, including the 1957 live 90-minute broadcast on Playhouse 90 of The Comedian, a drama written by Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer in which Mickey Rooney portrayed a television comedian while Edmond O’Brien played a writer driven to the brink of insanity. From 1959-60 O’Brien portrayed the title role in the syndicated crime drama Johnny Midnight, the story of a New York City actor-turned-private detective. Edmond O’Brien had roles on many television series, including an appearance on Target: The Corruptors!, The Eleventh Hour, Breaking Point and Mission: Impossible.

In the mid-’60s Edmond O’Brien co-starred with Roger Mobley and Harvey Korman in the “Gallegher” episodes of NBC’s Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. From 1963-65 Edmond O’Brien co-starred in the NBC legal drama Sam Benedict. In 1957 Edmond O’Brien recorded a spoken-word album of The Red Badge of Courage (Caedmon TC 1040). Billboard said, “Edmond O’Brien brings intensity in the narrative portions and successfully impersonates the varied characters in dialog.” Edmond O’Brien was divorced from actresses Nancy Kelly 1941-1942 and Olga San Juan. San Juan was the mother of his three children, including television producer Bridget O’Brien and actors Maria O’Brien and Brendan O’Brien. Edmond O’Brien died May 9, 1985, at St. Erne’s Sanitorium in Inglewood, California, of Alzheimer’s disease. He was survived by his wife and three children.

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  • September, 10, 1915
  • USA
  • New York, New York


  • September, 10, 1915
  • USA
  • Inglewood, California

Cause of Death

  • Alzheimer's disease


  • Holy Cross Cemetery
  • Culver City, California
  • USA

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