George E. Stone

George E. Stone

Birthday: May 18, 1903
Born Place: Lódz, Poland, Russian Empire [now Lódz, Lódzkie, Poland]
Birth Name: Gerschon Lichtenstein
Height: 5' 3½" (1.61 m)


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A minor prototype of the “Runyon-esque” character for more than three decades, Polish-born actor George E. Stone (né George Stein) was in actuality a close friend of writer Damon Runyon and would play a host of colorful “dees, dem and dos” cronies throughout the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. With great names such as Johnnie the Shiek, Boots Burnett, Ice Box Hamilton, Wires Kagel, Ropes McGonigle, Society Max, and Toothpick Charlie, Stone delighted audiences in scores of crimers for decades. A vaudeville and Broadway hoofer in the interim, the runt-sized Stone (5′ 3″) finally scored in his first “grownup” part as the Sewer Rat in the silent drama 7th Heaven (1927) starring the once-popular romantic pair Charles Farrell and (Academy Award winner) Janet Gaynor. As “Georgie” sounded too child-like, he began billing himself as “George E. Stone.” From there he was featured in a number of “tough guy” potboilers, particularly for Warner Bros. So typed was he as a henchman or thug, that he found few films outside the genre. His gunsels often possessed a yellow streak and could be both broadly comic or threatening in nature, with more than a few of them ending up on a morgue slab before film’s end, including his Earl Williams on The Front Page (1931) and Otero in the classic gangster flick Little Caesar (1931). Stone’s most popular role of the 1940s was as The Runt in the Boston Blackie film series which ran from 1941 to 1948 and starred Chester Morris. Suffering from failing eyesight in later years, he was virtually blind by the late 1950s but, thanks to friends, managed to secure sporadic film and TV work. From 1958 on, Stone could be glimpsed in a recurring role on the popular courtroom series Perry Mason (1957) as a court clerk. Married to second wife Marjorie Ramey in 1946, he died following a stroke in 1967 in Woodland Hills, California, and was survived by two sisters.

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