Eddie Bracken

Director, Performer, Producer

Also known as: Edward Bracken, Master Bracken

Male

Born: February 7, 1915
Astoria, New York

Died: November 14, 2002
Glen Ridge, New Jersey

Eddie Bracken, the sweet, owl-faced comic actor of film, TV and the stage, best known for the movies "Hail the Conquering Hero" and "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek," died Nov. 14, 2002, in New Jersey, his family announced. Eddie Bracken, the sweet, owl-faced comic actor of film, TV and the stage, best known for the movies "Hail the Conquering Hero" and "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek," died Nov. 14 in New Jersey, his family announced.

The Astoria, Queens native was known for recent stage roles as Capt. Andy in Paper Mill Playhouse's Show Boat, seen nationally on PBS, and as Dimitri Weismann in Paper Mill's Follies, but had many Broadway, touring and stock credits on his resume.

Born in 1915, though some sources indicate 1920, Edward Vincent (Eddie) Bracken was a child actor in Hal Roach's "Kiddie Troupers" films, and got his break when director George Abbott cast him in the national tour of Brother Rat and on Broadway in What a Life. During his national tour, he met and married leading lady Constance Nickerson (Bracken), his late wife of 62 years. They moved to Hollywood in 1939 and his career blossomed. Over the next few decades his "aw-shucks" style and quirky looks got him character roles, including the title role in Preston Sturges' "Hail the Conquering Hero," in which the armed-forces reject is passed off by a group of soldiers as a hero to his hometown. He was wide-eyed in Sturges' "Miracle of Morgan's Creek," in which Betty Hutton proved incredibly fertile (she was pregnant and didn't know who the father was in the classic movie farce).

He played rural Judy Garland's nerdy love interest in the movie musical, "Summer Stock," until Gene Kelly's urbane character swept her into showbiz.

On Broadway, Mr. Bracken appeared opposite Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly! in 1978; opposite Eartha Kitt in Shinbone Alley; opposite Ann Miller 1979-82. His Broadway credits include the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical, Too Many Girls, which gave the world "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," and appeared in its movie version. He was a replacement in the original runs of The Odd Couple and The Seven Year Itch.

He logged as many as 15,000 performances in his career, according to his family.

A new generation of filmgoers saw him as Mr. Wally in "National Lampoon's Vacation."

He is survived by five children, Judy, Carolyn, Michael, Susan and David, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

 

Roles

Playbill Cover - Sugar Babies Sugar Babies
Oct. 8, 1979 - Aug. 28, 1982
Eddie
May 31, 1982
Performer
(Replacement)
 
Playbill Cover - Hello, Dolly! Hello, Dolly!
Mar. 5, 1978 - Jul. 9, 1978
Horace Vandergelder Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Odd Couple The Odd Couple
Mar. 10, 1965 - Jul. 2, 1967
Felix Ungar
Oct. 25, 1965
Performer
(Replacement)
 
Playbill Cover - How to Make a Man How to Make a Man
Feb. 2, 1961 - Feb. 11, 1961
Director
(Original)
 
Beg, Borrow Or Steal
Feb. 10, 1960 - Feb. 13, 1960
Producer
(Original)
 
    Pistol Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Shinbone Alley Shinbone Alley
Apr. 13, 1957 - May 25, 1957
archy Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Seven Year Itch The Seven Year Itch
Nov. 20, 1952 - Aug. 13, 1955
Richard Sherman Performer
(Replacement)
 
Playbill Cover - Too Many Girls Too Many Girls
Oct. 18, 1939 - May 18, 1940
Jojo Jordan Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - What a Life What a Life
Apr. 13, 1938 - Jul. 8, 1939
Bill Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Iron Men Iron Men
Oct. 19, 1936 - Nov. 1, 1936
Plumber Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - So Proudly We Hail So Proudly We Hail
Sep. 22, 1936 - Oct. 1, 1936
Plebe Cadet Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Life's Too Short Life's Too Short
Sep. 20, 1935 - Sep. 1, 1935
Alfred Performer
(Original)
 
The Drunkard
Mar. 10, 1934 - Nov. 1, 1934
Boy Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Lady Refuses The Lady Refuses
Mar. 7, 1933 - Mar. 1, 1933
Hank Parkes Performer
(Original)
 
 

Awards


Tony Award

Year Category Production Winner/Nominee
1978 Actor in a Musical Hello, Dolly! Nominee
 
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