Oscar Actors: Morgan, Frank

Frank Morgan (born Francis Wuppermann) is best remembered for playing the titular role in the 1939 enchanting fable, The Wizard of Oz.

He was a veteran and respected actor long before he played that part, and turned in many impressive performances both before and after that film.

One of 11 children of a wealthy manufacturer, Morgan followed his older brother, Ralph Morgan (born Raphael Wuppermann) into the acting profession, making his Broadway debut in 1914 and his film debut two years later.

Morgan specialized in playing eccentric, flamboyant but ultimately sympathetic characters, such as the alcoholic telegraph operator in The Human Comedy (1943), or the shop owner in The Shop Around the Corner, directed by Lubitsch in 1940.

He was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar in 1934 for The Affairs of Cellini, though many considered his role to be a supporting one.  The winner, however, was Clark Gable for It Happened One Night.

In 1942, Morgan was nominated for a supporting Oscar, playing a dog-loving old beggar, in Tortilla Flat, but the winner was Van Hefflin for Johnny Eager.

Morgan is a member of a select group of actors nominated for both the Best Actor and Supporting Oscars.

Frank Morgan died at age 59 of a heart attack on September 18, 1949 in Beverly Hills, California.

Oscar Alert: 2 Nominations

1934: Best Actor: The Affairs of Cellini

1942: Supporting Actor: Tortilla Flat