Image of Joe Sawyer

Joe Sawyer

Joe Sawyer's familiar mug appeared everywhere during the 1930s and 1940s, particularly as a stock player for Warner Bros. in its more standard college musicals, comedies and crime yarns. He could play both sides of the fence, street cops and mob gunmen, with equal ease. He was born Joseph Sauers in Guelph, Canada, on August 29, 1906, and eventually moved to California to pursue a film career. Trained at the Pasadena Playhouse, he had a perfect "tough guy" look: sturdy build, jutting chin and beady eyes, made more distinctive by his shock of light hair and a slightly high-pitched voice. Sawyer made his film debut in 1931 under his real name, which, contrary to popular opinion, was German and not Irish, though he made a career out of playing Irishmen, and appeared mostly in strongarm bit parts in his early career until hitting his stride playing a variety of coaches, cops and sidekicks with imposing names like "Spud," "Slug" and "Whitey." He appeared in hundreds of films, in just about every genre, over a four-decade-long career, among them College Humor (1933), College Rhythm (1934), The Westerner (1934), The Informer (1935), in which his portrayal of an IRA gunman got him noticed by the public and critics alike, Pride of the Marines (1936), Black Legion (1937), The Petrified Forest (1936) (another "tough-guy" role that got him good reviews), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), They Died with Their Boots On (1941), Sergeant York (1941), Tarzan's Desert Mystery (1943), Gilda (1946), It Came from Outer Space (1953), North to Alaska (1960) and How the West Was Won (1962). He also guest-starred on many TV series and was a regular on "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" (1954) as Sgt. Aloysius "Biff" O'Hara. His first wife was actress Jeane Wood, the daughter of Gone with the Wind (1939) uncredited director Sam Wood. His second wife, June, died in 1960. Sawyer died in Ashland, Oregon, on April 21, 1982 of liver cancer at the age of 75.


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Born:
Aug 29, 1906
Movie/TV Credits:
151
First Appeared:
In the movie Huddle 1932-05-14
Latest Project:
Series Everglades 1961-10-09
Known For
Poster of As You Were
Poster of Operation Haylift
Poster of Yanks Ahoy
Poster of Tarzan's Revenge
Filmography
Series Everglades Unknown 1961-10-09
Series Harrigan and Son Unknown 1960-10-14
Series Surfside 6 Unknown 1960-10-06
Movie North to Alaska Land Commissioner 1960-11-07
Series Lock-Up Unknown 1959-09-28
Series Peter Gunn Unknown 1958-09-22
Series Sugarfoot Unknown 1957-09-17
Movie The Kettles In The Ozarks Bancroft Baines 1956-04-01
Movie The Killing Mike O'Reilly 1956-05-08
Movie Taza, Son of Cochise 1954-02-18
Series The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin 1954-10-15
Movie Riding Shotgun Tom Biggert 1954-04-01
Movie Johnny Dark Carl Svenson (as Joseph Sawyer) 1954-06-25
Movie It Came from Outer Space Frank Daylon 1953-05-26
Movie Indian Uprising Sgt. Maj. Phineas T. Keogh 1952-01-02
Movie Red Skies of Montana R. A. 'Pop' Miller 1952-01-23
Movie Mr. Walkie Talkie Sgt. Ames 1952-11-28
Movie Deadline - U.S.A. Whitey Franks 1952-03-14
Movie Comin' Round the Mountain Kalem McCoy 1951-01-01
Series Racket Squad Unknown 1951-06-07
Movie As You Were Sgt. Ames 1951-10-05
Movie The Traveling Saleswoman Cactus Jack 1950-02-15
Movie Operation Haylift George Swallow 1950-05-05
Movie Blondie's Hero Sgt. Gateson 1950-03-09
Movie The Flying Missile Fuss Payne 1950-12-24
Movie Curtain Call at Cactus Creek 1950-05-24
Movie Tucson Tod Bryant 1949-04-27
Movie The Gay Amigo Sergeant McNulty 1949-05-13
Movie The Lucky Stiff Tony 1949-05-26
Movie Stagecoach Kid Thatcher 1949-06-02
Movie Deputy Marshal Eli Cressett 1949-10-28
Movie Half Past Midnight Det. Lt. Joe Nash 1948-03-01
Movie If You Knew Susie Zero Zantini 1948-02-07
Movie Here Comes Trouble Officer Ames 1948-03-15
Movie Fighting Father Dunne Steve Davis 1948-05-12
Movie The Untamed Breed Hoy Keegan 1948-10-20
Series Ford Theatre Unknown 1948-10-17
Movie Fighting Back Police Sergeant Scudder 1948-07-30
Movie Coroner Creek Frank Yordy 1948-07-01
Movie Christmas Eve Private Detective 1947-10-31
Movie Roses Are Red Police Lt. Rocky Wall 1947-11-10
Movie A Double Life Pete Bonner 1947-12-25
Movie Big Town After Dark Monk 1947-12-12
Movie Gilda Casey 1946-02-14
Movie Deadline at Dawn Babe Dooley 1946-04-03
Movie Inside Job Police Capt. Thomas 1946-06-14
Movie The Runaround Hutchins 1946-06-04
Movie High Powered Spike Kenny 1945-02-27
Movie The Naughty Nineties Bailey 1945-07-06
Movie Brewster's Millions Hacky Smith 1945-04-07
Movie Moon Over Las Vegas 1944-04-01
Movie Raiders of Ghost City Idaho Jones 1944-07-25
Movie Prairie Chickens Albertson 1943-05-21
Movie Buckskin Frontier Brannigan 1943-05-14
Movie Taxi, Mister Eddie Corbett 1943-04-16
Movie The Outlaw Charley Woodruff 1943-02-05
Movie Hit the Ice Buster - Silky's Henchman 1943-06-02
Movie Tornado Charlie Muscles 1943-08-09
Movie Alaska Highway Roughhouse 1943-06-24
Movie Let's Face It Sgt. Wiggins 1943-08-04
Movie Tarzan's Desert Mystery Karl Straeder 1943-12-26
Movie Yanks Ahoy Sgt. Ames 1943-06-29
Movie Brooklyn Orchid Eddie Corbett 1942-01-31
Movie Hay Foot Sergeant Ames 1942-01-02
Movie Sundown Jim Ben Moffitt (as Joseph Sawyer) 1942-03-27
Movie About Face Sgt. William Ames 1942-04-16
Movie Fall In Sgt. Ames 1942-11-20
Movie The McGuerins from Brooklyn Eddie Corbett (as Joseph Sawyer) 1942-12-31
Movie Belle Starr John Cole (as Joseph Sawyer) 1941-09-12
Movie Down in San Diego Dutch 1941-08-01
Movie The Lady from Cheyenne Sheriff 'Noisy' Burkett, Henchman 1941-04-11
Movie Tanks a Million Sgt. William Ames 1941-09-12
Movie Sergeant York Sergeant Early 1941-07-02
Movie You're in the Army Now Sergeant Madden 1941-12-25
Movie They Died with Their Boots On Sgt. Doolittle 1941-11-01
Movie Down Mexico Way Allen 1941-10-15
Movie Swamp Water Hardy Ragan (as Joseph Sawyer) 1941-10-23
Movie The Grapes of Wrath Bookkeeper 1940-03-15
Movie Women Without Names Principal Keeper Grimley 1940-03-14
Movie Honeymoon Deferred Detective James 1940-02-16
Movie King of the Lumberjacks Jigger 1940-04-12
Movie The House Across the Bay Charlie 1940-03-01
Movie Lucky Cisco Kid Bill Stevens 1940-06-28
Movie The Border Legion Jim Gulden (as Joseph Sawyer) 1940-12-05
Movie Santa Fe Trail Kitzmiller 1940-12-13
Movie Dark Command Bushropp 1940-04-15
Movie The Long Voyage Home Davis 1940-11-11
Movie Melody Ranch Jasper Wildhack 1940-09-15
Movie Confessions of a Nazi Spy Werner Renz 1939-05-06
Movie Frontier Marshal Curley Bill 1939-07-28
Movie The Lady and the Mob Blinky Mack 1939-04-03
Movie Union Pacific Shamus (uncredited) 1939-05-05
Movie I Stole a Million Plainclothes cop seeking 'Harris' 1939-08-01
Movie Rio Prison Guard (uncredited) 1939-12-29
Movie The Roaring Twenties The Sergeant 1939-10-23
Movie Sabotage Gardner 1939-10-13
Movie Stolen Heaven Bako 1938-05-11
Movie Tarzan's Revenge Olaf Punch 1938-01-07
Movie Passport Husband Duke Selton 1938-07-15
Movie Always in Trouble Buster Mussendorfer 1938-10-28
Movie Gambling Ship Tony Garzoni (as Joseph Sawyer) 1938-12-16
Movie Heart of the North Red Crocker 1938-12-10
Movie They Gave Him a Gun Doyle - Gangster (uncredited) 1937-05-07
Movie Black Legion Cliff Moore 1937-01-30
Movie San Quentin 'Sailor Boy' Hansen 1937-05-24
Movie Navy Blues 'Chips' (as Joseph Sawyer) 1937-03-29
Movie Reported Missing 'Brad' Martin 1937-08-15
Movie Midnight Madonna Wolfe 1937-07-01
Movie The Lady Fights Back Swede Jannsen 1937-10-01
Movie Behind the Criminal Red Manders 1937-10-30
Movie A Dangerous Adventure Dutch 1937-07-21
Movie The Walking Dead Trigger Smith (as Joseph Sawyer) 1936-03-14
Movie Big Brown Eyes Jack Sully 1936-04-03
Movie The Country Doctor Joe - Logger Lifting Log 1936-03-12
Movie High Tension Terry Madden 1936-05-06
Movie Freshman Love Coach Kendall 1936-01-18
Movie The Petrified Forest Jackie 1936-02-08
Movie Great Guy Joe Burton 1936-12-01
Movie Special Investigator Jim 'Jimmy' Plummer (as Joseph Sawyer) 1936-05-08
Movie Two in a Crowd Bonelli's Henchman 1936-10-03
Movie The Accusing Finger Father Reed - the priest (as Joseph Sawyer) 1936-11-17
Movie Murder with Pictures Inspector Tom Bacon 1936-09-24
Movie And Sudden Death Police Sgt. Sanborn 1936-06-16
Movie The Informer Bartly Mulholland 1935-05-09
Movie Car 99 Whitey, burly henchman 1935-03-02
Movie Sequoia Forest Ranger 1935-01-16
Movie The Arizonian Henchman Keeler 1935-06-27
Movie The Whole Town's Talking Mannion's Thug 1935-02-22
Movie Little Big Shot Doré's henchman (as Joseph Sauers) 1935-09-07
Movie Frisco Kid Slugs Crippen (as Joseph Sawyer) 1935-11-29
Movie Man of Iron Crawford 1935-12-21
Movie Broadway Gondolier 'Red' 1935-07-27
Movie Moonlight on the Prairie Luke Thomas 1935-11-02
Movie Special Agent Rich - Chief Henchman 1935-09-14
Movie Looking for Trouble Max Stanley 1934-03-28
Movie Sing and Like it Gunner - Hood 1934-04-20
Movie Jimmy the Gent Mike 1934-03-17
Movie The Bands Plays On Mr. Thomas 1934-12-21
Movie Death on the Diamond Spencer 1934-09-14
Movie Gridiron Flash Coach Eversmith 1934-10-06
Movie The Case of the Howling Dog Carl Trask (uncredited) 1934-09-22
Movie Three-Cornered Moon Head Lifeguard 1933-08-08
Movie College Humor Tex Roust 1933-07-05
Movie Golden Harvest Farmhand 1933-09-21
Movie The Stranger's Return Thresher 1933-07-28
Movie Ace of Aces Capt. Daly 1933-10-20
Movie Son of a Sailor Slug 1933-11-29
Movie Saturday's Millions Coach 1933-09-30
Movie Eskimo Sergeant Hunt 1933-11-14
Movie College Coach Holcomb 1933-11-13
Movie Huddle Slater 1932-05-14