Played 'Pap' in the 1939 version of Huckleberry Finn and typically was cast as the brutish villain in adventure and western films. He appeared in I Shot Jesse James in 1949 and the following year appeared in The Flame and the Arrow.
Before joining the New England repertory company at age 18, he drove laundry trucks for his father's business; by his 30s he was on Broadway.
He turned to stage acting almost exclusively because of the McCarthy witch hunts, and in his '70s returned to screen as the grandfather on Mary Hartman.
He was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was married to Daisy Johnson from 1915 until her death in 1961.
An accident on set of John Wayne's 1942 Western, Reap the Wild Win, cost him the use of one of his eyes, but did nothing to diminish his acting career.