Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Today happens to be the 132nd birthday of character actor Sydney Greenstreet.  Born in England, Greenstreet was a failed tea planter in Ceylon who turned to acting out of boredom.  From 1902 on he made his living on the stage, traveling back and forth across the Atlantic.  It wasn't until 1941, when he was 62, that Greenstreet finally agreed to make films.  His debut film couldn't have been better.

Another movie he did with Bogie is a classic:

And then there was this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And was there a more slimy villain than Count Fosco?

In 1948, Greenstreet retired from films, but in 1951 he returned as everyboody's favorite corpulent detective:

He died in 1954, but his spirit lives on.  He was in part the inspiration for Jabba the Hut and for the Marvel Comics villain The Kingpin.  The Nagasaki atomic bomb was nicknamed "The Fat Man", a nod to Greenstreet's Caspar Gutman character in The Maltese Falcon.

He's been immortalized in poetry:

And in theater:

And there has even been a sideways musical tribute to the man:

So, happy birthday, Sydney!  You made good movies even better.


For more Overlooked stuff this week, go to Sweet Freedom, where Todd will have all the links.


  1. I had no idea he started acting so late.

  2. "Today happens to be the 132nd birthday of character actor Sydney Greenstreet."
    So, born 18 May 1884.

    "It wasn't until 1941, when he was 62..."
    Born 1878 or 1879, then...