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Ned Sparks
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    (November 19, 1883-April 3, 1957)
    Born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada
    Birth name was Edward A. Sparkman
    Acted in '42nd Street,' 'Imitation of Life,' 'Lady for a Day,' 'Gold Diggers of 1933,' 'Alice in Wonderland,' 'Magic Town,' and 'Stage Door Canteen'
    Acted in Broadway productions of 'Little Miss Brown' (1912), 'The Show Shop' (1914-1915), 'Nothing But the Truth' (1916-1917), 'The Younger Son,' and 'Jim Jam Jems' (1920-1921)
    He refused to sign any long-term studio contracts.
    He claims to have never smiled again after his stern persona turned out to be a hit on-stage.
    He was typecast as grumpy, deadpan cigar-chewing business sharks.
    He is less remembered for any specific role than he is for his trademark, widely imitated, snarky persona (even if imitators can't name the guy who originated the schtick).
    He acted in the over-budgeted disaster which failed to rescue Paramount from bankruptcy, 'Alice in Wonderland.'
    He allegedly never smoked, although he was never without a cigar in his mouth on screen.
    He allegedly had a clause put into his contract obligating a crew member to light the cigar before putting it in his mouth, so he wouldn't have to inhale the smoke.
    His stern demeanor was so infamous that Lloyd's of London issued a $10,000 insurance policy (an astronomical amount during the Depression) against damage to his personal reputation should he ever be caught smiling.
    It was later revealed that the story was a publicity stunt, and that his face was only insured for $10,000, after photographers began competing to catch him smiling and be awarded the full amount.
    He inexplicably retired at the age of 65, even as studios still clamored to work with him; his only explanation being that people were supposed to retire at 65 and 'that's what I'm doing.'
    The Ritz Brothers allegedly tried and failed to make him laugh.
    He left home at 16 to find work as a Klondike prospector during the Gold Rush (he allegedly made $500 before deciding to return home).
    He adlibbed his trademark persona during the opening night performance of 'Little Miss Brown.'
    He was a devoted father who taught his daughter to read and write before the age of four.
    He was one of the founding members of the Actors Equity Association, along with fellow Canadian, Marie Dressler.
    He weathered the advent of talkies brilliantly, mainly because his gravelly voice was well-suited to his ornery persona.
    Buster Keaton claimed that if he had Sparks' gruff voice he would have remained a star into the sound-era.
    He acted in the milestone film 'Imitation of Life,' one of the first movies to tackle racial issues.
    He was frequently caricatured in Tex Avery and Walt Disney cartoons (and may have even inspired the Squidward character on Spongebob).
    His letters to Jimmy Stewart during his WWII deployment so comforted Stewart that he would later beg Sparks to make a rare appearance in his 1947 film, 'Magic Town.'
    At the end of shooting, Stewart came to Sparks with a cake reading 'to honor a great actor and a fine man.' Moved, Sparks allegedly choked up with tears.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

    For 2019, as of last week, Out of 81 Votes: 55.56% Annoying
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