Remembered for his character roles in Montana Moon (1930), The Big Shakedown (1934), Wonder Bar (1934), and more than one hundred other films of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, he is also notable for his performance in the 1958 John Ford movie The Last Hurrah.
Before beginning his screen acting career, he worked in finance and participated in amateur boxing matches.
After ending his acting career, he worked as a Wall Street stockbroker.
Born Jacob Krantz, he grew up in New York City as a member of a Jewish family. After the death of his first wife, actress Alma Rubens, he married and divorced Christine Coniff Lee and subsequently married his third and final wife, Margaret Belle.
He co-starred with Harry Davenport in the 1936 movie The Case of the Black Cat.