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Robert Williams (1894-1931)

  1. Matt Moore, Consolation Marriage, 1930.     The Colonel was hardly an important character in the Depression tale, yet it went through three actors… First choice Williams was injured in a fall. Playwright Hugh Herbert was considered, then silent comic Raymond McKee - before silent villain Moore was elected.   Christopher Plummer said in 2008 that Williams was one of the most realistic screen comedians. “He made Cary Grant look like he was overacting... ”
  2. Ben Lyon, Lady with a Past, 1931.       Williams was about to to breakthrough in Jean Harlow’s Platinum Blonde. So a special rôle was tailored for him opposite Constance Bennett when he suffered stomach pains. He was rushed into surgery. Too late. His appendix burst and he died of peritonitis just as Blonde was released. He was 34. RKO borrowed Warner’s Lyon - the man who changed Norma Jean Baker’s name into Marilyn Monnroe.   “To watch Robert Williams act,” said Christopher Plummer, “was like seeing a comic using the Method, long before the Method became famous with Marlon [Brando] and Monty [Clift].”

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