Porter Hall

Miracle On 34th Street

Full name: Clifford Porter Hall
DOB: 19th September, 1888
DOD: 6th October 1953
Where born: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

In Miracle on 34th Street 1947 Porter Hall plays psychiatrist Granville Sawyer who is a devious character who has Kris Kringle confined to a mental hospital.

As Sawyer, Porter was continuing with the kind of role on which he built his move career, that of the shady or comically incompetent character.

In real life Porter was nothing like his on-screen persona. He was a well liked outgoing person. And in another example of the movie character being completely different from actor he was a church deacon, despite being mostly remembered for his role as an avowed atheist in the 1944 film Going my Way.

Porter had already established himself as a stage actor before making his d├ębut in the movies. Two of his Broadway roles saw him playing in The Great Gatsby and Naked, both 1926 productions.

He made his move in to films in 1931 in Secrets of Secretary. Porter became so established in cinema that by the time he appeared in the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street he had already appeared in over 25 movies.

porter hall miracle on 34th street

Porter Hall in Miracle on 34th Street

Because Porter played largely unsympathetic characters it is perhaps hardly surprising the only Christmas movie he appeared in on the big screen was Miracle on 34th Street. Indeed, the two films for which this fine actor is mostly remembered for are the 1939 offering Mr Smith goes to Washington and Going my Way in 1944.

Porter was involved in acting right up to his death in 1953. His last movie was Vice Squad, alternatively entitled The Girl in Room 17 where he played the character Jack Hartrampf.

He also appeared in television drama, appearing in an episode of the Bigelow Theatre in 1950 and Four Star Playhouse two year's later. Porter's appearance in an episode of Fireside Theatre was aired in 1954, a year after his death.

Such was Porter Hall's renown as a player of dubious characters that director Russ Meyer named a sleazy financial advisor after him in the 1970 movie Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

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