Charles Ruggles sputtered his way through hundreds of character roles as a mild-mannered, kindly, bumbling milquetoast.
"It was my mastery of the sputter system of dialogue which was my chief asset as an actor," he told an interviewer toward the end of a 60-year career in radio, television, vaudeville and the stage.
In his later roles he was usually cast as a kindly oldster with twinkling eyes who, when frustrated, erupted into exasperated sputters. He started one of the longest careers in show business playing newsboys and ended up playing grandfathers.
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