Ned Sparks

Ned Sparks (November 19, 1883 - April 3, 1957) was a Canadian-born character actor. Sparks was well known for his deadpan expression and deep, gravelly voice. Born Edward Arthur Sparkman in Guelph, Ontario, Sparks left home at age 16 where he attempted to work as a gold prospector on the Klondike Gold Rush. After running out of money, he won a spot as a singer on a traveling musical company's tour. At age 19, he returned to Canada where he briefly attended a Toronto seminary. After leaving the seminary, he worked for the railroad and worked in theater in Toronto. In 1907, he left Toronto to try his hand in the Broadway theatre in New York City. While working on Broadway, Sparks developed his trademark deadpan expression while portraying the role of a desk clerk in the play Little Miss Brown. His success on the stage soon caught the attention of MGM's Louis B. Mayer who signed Sparks to a six picture deal. Sparks began appearing in numerous silent films before finally making his "talkie" debut in the 1928 film The Big Noise. In the 1930s, Sparks became known for portraying dour-faced, sarcastic, cigar-chomping characters.

Actor

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