The Rise of George Rosener

Brooklyn native George Rosener (1884-1945) was a veteran of vaudeville, medicine shows, stock theatre, and clown alley when he made it to Broadway in the 1923 and 1925 editions of the Artists and Models revue. From there he went into the Shubert musical My Maryland (1927), based on Clyde Fitch’s Barbara Frietchie. Also in 1927 he cowrote the play Speakeasy starring Leo G. Carroll, which was made into a 1929 film with Paul Page, Henry B. Walthall, and Lola Lane. His 1929 Broadway comedy She Got What She Wanted was made into a 1930 film starring Lee Tracy, Betty Compson, and Alan Hale.

Rosener wrote and/or directed four more Broadway shows through 1934, but his real focus became Hollywood, where he wrote or contributed to another dozen screenplays and acted in some 40 films. The photo above indicates one of his best remembered ones, as the sinister butler in Dr. X (1932). He was also in Union Depot (1932), The Circus Queen Murder (1933), several Frank Buck serials (which he also wrote), Sh! The Octopus (1937) with Hugh Herbert, Hitler: The Beast of Berlin (1939), Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) and much else. His last credits were in 1941.

For more on vaudeville and the variety arts, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous,