- Birth name:
- Robert Harriot Barrat
- Date of Birth:
- 7 January 1889 New York City, New York, USA
Robert Barrat pursued a stage career on Broadway from 1918 to 1932. He did sample a scant three silent movies starting in 1915, but returned to stage work. Barrat had a distinguished enough visage but also a well knit physique that would foretell a busy career in films with many featured character roles which he turned to in 1932. He therefore portrayed lawyers, business owners, and officials of all sorts, as well as, detectives, hardened sailors, and various desperate characters. Barrat had a deep guttural voice which he could roll around in his mouth to pitch out some unique variations. Such was his Wolverstone in Captain Blood (1935), and his Lord Morton with a brogue in Mary of Scotland (1936). Barrat was a dedicated physical fitness devotee and showed off a still manly form as Chingachgook in The Last of the Mohicans (1936).Barrat was probably grateful to slow down a bit after 1936, for up to then he was much in demand with an average of twenty films a year. As it was he continued with a usual ten films per year to 1940. He did several movies with James Cagney in the 1930s, and they became good friends. Cagney described his friend as having "a solid forearm the size of the average man's thigh." Barrat continued a rich and varied character role career through the 1940s and early 1950s. The roles were more of the dignified variety-fatherly figures, a few Indian chiefs and military men - and several generals. He had the non-speaking role of General Douglas MacArthur-his hawk of a nose needing little enhancement (he was shot from side angles and distance) - in They Were Expendable (1945). By 1954 he turned to TV playhouse roles off and on until 1964. He loved challenging himself with doing accents and certainly succeeded in this and in turning out memorable roles in over 150 films.