Oscar Actors: Greenstreet, Sydney as Fat Man Kasper Gutman in Maltese Falcon

the_maltese_falcon_2_bogartIn the 1941 version of “The Maltese Falcon,” the character of the sinister “Fat Man” Kasper Gutman was based on A. Maundy Gregory, an overweight British detective-turned-entrepreneur involved in all kinds of endeavors and capers, including a search for a long-lost treasure not unlike the jeweled Falcon.

Producer Hal Wallis suggested to director John Huston that he screen-test  for the part Sydney Greenstreet, a vet stage character actor who had never appeared on film before.

Greenstreet, who was then 61 and weighed between 280 and 350 pounds, impressed Huston with his sheer size, abrasive laugh, bulbous eyes, and delivery style.

Greenstreet was typecast in later films of the 1940s such as Casablanca (1942), The Mask of Dimitrios (1944), The Verdict (1946), and Three Strangers (1946).

Greenstreet’s character had such a strong cultural impact that the “Fat Man” atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in World War II was named after him.