Oscar-winner Edmond O'Brien was one of the most respected character actors in American cinema from his heyday of the mid-1940s through the late 1960s. Born on September 10, 1915, in the New York City borough of The Bronx, O'Brien learned the craft of performance as a magician, reportedly tutored by neighbor Harry Houdini. He took part in student theatrics in high school and majored in drama at Columbia University. He made his Broadway debut at the age of 21 in 1936 and later that year played The Gravedigger in the great Shakespearean actor John Gielgud's legendary production of "Hamlet." Four years later he would play Mercutio to the Romeo of another legendary Shakespearean, Laurence Olivier, in Olivier's 1940 Brodway production of "Romeo & Juliet."
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