June 19

Charles Coburn

June 19, 1877 - Macon, Savannah

He was one of those classic character actors from the golden age of Hollywood but you probably didn’t know his name.

Actor Charles Coburn was born in Macon in 1877 and grew up in Savannah. At age 19, after working in local theater, he headed off to Broadway. When his first wife died in 1937, Coburn, at age 60, moved to Hollywood and spent the rest of his life as a character actor. He was nominated three times for an Oscar, winning for 1943’s The More the Merrier.

Coburn was known for portraying overbearing but lovable gentlemen, and his trademark monocle made him instantly recognizable. He wore it, he said, because there “was no point having two window panes where one will do.” Despite his classical training, Coburn turned in several comedic roles, most notably in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell.

The star of stage, screen, and radio was born in Macon on June 19, 1877, Today in Georgia History.