Irving Pichel

Irving Pichel

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Irving Pichel

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Irving Pichel (June 24, 1891 – July 13, 1954) was an American actor and film director. He married Violette Wilson, daughter of Jackson Stitt Wilson, a Methodist minister and Socialist mayor of Berkeley, California. Her sister was actress Viola Barry. The Pichels had three sons, Pichel Wilson, Julian Irving, and Marlowe Agnew.


Pichel's first work in musical theatre was as a technical director for the Bohemian Club's summer pageants at the Bohemian Grove. He was soon loaned out to Wallace Rice as the main narrator in Rice's Primavera, the Masque of Santa Barbara in 1920. Pichel achieved significant notoriety as the title character in the landmark Pasadena Playhouse production of Eugene O'Neill's play "Lazarus Laughed" in 1927.

Among his most notable screen roles were the servant Sandor in Dracula's Daughter, and Fagin in the 1933 adaptation of Oliver Twist. He directed several films, including The Miracle of the Bells, Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid, and Destination Moon. His voice was heard as narrator in How Green Was My Valley, and as the voice of Jesus in the film The Great Commandment.

By the mid 1940s, Pichel played small parts in several of the films that he directed, performed on radio, and was the narrator of John Ford's She Wore a Yellow Ribbon in 1949. His last films as a director were sectarian church-basement favorites Martin Luther in 1953, and Day of......
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