Thursday, July 17, 2014
July 17, 1905:Happy Birthday, William Gargan
William (Bill) Gargan was born July 17, 1905. He would become one of America's most prolific choices for playing the tough private detective. Whether it was on the screen or radio, Gargan made an impression of the tough Irishman. Gargan’s on stage and screen work, in a way, resembled his activities in true life. After he finished school, Gargan dealt with bootleg whiskey during the Prohibition years.
Later he got a job with a detective agency which may have added color to his years as a performer of law and crime. Truth of that fact played into one of his most popular portrayals, as Martin Kane, Private Eye. This ran from 1949-1951 on both radio and television. NBC radio brought gargan over to a similar radio detective from 1951-1955. This character was Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator. In the Craig persona he narrated much of the radio series, adding extra color to the program.
The names may have changed but his performances of the tough determined detectives definitely carried similar impact. Many people will remember his as the affable Joe Gallagher on the Bells of St. Mary’s with Bing Crosby. His irish background added considerable effect to his many characters. He continued to perform over the years until 1960 when he was diagnosed with throat cancer and his larynx was removed. He passed away on 1973 while on a flight across country.