Robert Armstrong (Robert William Armstrong)

Robert   Armstrong

Born Robert William Armstrong in Saginaw, Michigan, lived in Bay City, Michigan until about 1902 and moved to Seattle, Washington. Armstrong studied to be a lawyer but gave it up to manage his uncle’s touring companies. He attended the University of Washington where he became a member of Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity. In his spare time he wrote plays, which eventually led to him appearing in one of them when it was produced. Armstrong served in the United States Army in World War I, and upon his return home after the war, Armstrong discovered his uncle had died while he was away. In 1926 he went to London and appeared for a season on the British stage. Armstrong’s silver screen career began in 1927 when he appeared in Path√©’s silent drama The Main Event.¬†Armstrong resembled King Kong producer and adventurer Merian C. Cooper, and Cooper used him in several films as more or less a version of himself (they coincidentally died sixteen hours apart). In 1937 Armstrong starred in With Words and Music (also referred to as The Girl Said No) released by Grand National Films Inc. He also worked throughout the 1930s and 1940s for many film studios. Prior to World War II, in the early 1940s, Universal Pictures released Enemy Agent, about a plot to thwart the Nazis. In the film, Armstrong co-starred with Helen Vinson, Richard Cromwell and Jack La Rue. Later, in 1942, he played again opposite Cromwell in Baby Face Morgan, a notable “B” effort for PRC (Producers Releasing Corporation). Later in that decade, Armstrong played another Carl Denham-like leading character role as “Max O’Hara” in 1949’s Mighty Joe Young. This film was yet another stop-motion animation giant gorilla fantasy, made by the same King Kong team of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack.¬†Armstrong died of cancer in Santa Monica, California. He and King Kong’s co-producer, Merian C. Cooper, died within sixteen hours of each other.

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  • November, 20, 1890
  • USA
  • Saginaw County, Michigan


  • April, 20, 1973
  • USA
  • Los Angeles County, California

Cause of Death

  • cancer


  • Westwood Memorial Park
  • Los Angeles County, California
  • USA

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