John Qualen Biography

Place of Birth: Vancouver, British Columbia
Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m)
Wiki Biography: One of the best and most familiar character actors of the first four decades of sound films, although few who knew his face also knew his name. John Qualen was born in Canada to Norwegian parents. His father was a minister. The family moved to the United States and Qualen (whose real name was Kvalen) grew up in Elgin, Illinois. He won an oratory contest and was given a scholarship to Northwestern University. His interest in acting was piqued there, and he began appearing in tent shows on the Lyceum-Chautauqua circuit, and in stock. He went to New York in 1929 and got his big break as the Swedish janitor in Elmer Rice's Street Scene. He repeated the role two years later in the film version. That same year he first worked for director John Ford in Arrowsmith (1931). He became a member of Ford's famed "stock company, and had prominent roles for Ford for the next thirty-five years. He became a most familiar character player, specializing in Scandinavians of various nationalities, but frequently playing a wide variety of other ethnicities. Perhaps his greatest work among many memorable roles was as the pitiful Muley, who recounts the destruction of his farm by the bank in Ford's masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath (1940). Although plagued in his later years by failing eyesight, he continued to work steadily into his final years. He was treasurer of The Authors Club and historian of The Masquers, Hollywood's famed social group for actors. He had three children, Elizabeth, Kathleen, and Meredith. Qualen died in 1987.

John QualenPhotos & Pictures


TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
Casablanca Berger 1955 - 1956 Drama
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
On Our Merry Way 0000
Our Daily Bread Chris Larsen 1934
The Farmer Takes a Wife 1935 0
Charlie Chan in Paris 1935 Comedy, Crime, Drama
Black Fury 1935 Crime, Drama, Romance
Stand Up and Fight 1939 Drama, History, Romance
His Girl Friday Earl Williams 1940 Comedy, Drama, Romance
The Grapes of Wrath Muley 1940 Drama
Knute Rockne, All American 1940 Drama, Sport
The Long Voyage Home 1940 Drama
Out of the Fog 1941 Crime, Drama
The Shepherd of the Hills 1941 Adventure, Drama
Tortilla Flat 1942 Biography, 0
Casablanca Berger 1943 Drama, Romance
Hollow Triumph 1948 Game Show, Comedy
Woman on the Run 1950 Crime, Drama
Goodbye, My Fancy 1951 Comedy, Romance
The Sea Chase 1955 0, Romance
The Searchers 1956
Anatomy of a Murder Deputy Sheriff Sulo 1959 Comedy, 0
North to Alaska 1960 Comedy
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Peter Ericson 1962 Drama, Romance
7 Faces of Dr. Lao 1964 0, Game Show, Fantasy, 0, 0
A Patch of Blue Mr. Faber 1965 Drama
A Big Hand for the Little Lady 1966
Firecreek 1968