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Howard Petrie
Born Howard Alexander Petrie
November 22, 1906(1906-11-22)
Beverly, Massachusetts
Died March 24, 1968 (aged 61)
Keene, New Hampshire
Occupation Actor
Years active 1929-1965
Spouse(s) Alice Wood

Howard Alexander Petrie (November 22, 1906 - March 24, 1968) was an American radio, television, and film actor.


Early life

Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, Petrie's family moved to Concord, Massachusetts when he was three years old. They later lived in Arlington, Massachusetts and then Somerville, Massachusetts, where Petrie received his secondary school education. A talented musician, he conducted his high school glee club and played with various instrumental groups. He was a member of the debating team, a captain in the School Regiment and Chairman of the Senior Night Committee.

Petrie appeared in school dramatic productions including a starring role as "Marquis de la Seigliere" in the senior class play, the Jules Sandeau three-act comedy, Mademoiselle de la Seigliere.

Radio career

After he graduated from Somerville High School in 1924, Petrie worked briefly as a bank clerk and a securities salesman. While on a sales call to a radio station, his sonorous bass voice landed him a job. He joined WBZ Radio in Boston in 1929 as a junior announcer. After ten months at the WBZ studios, Petrie left for New York City in June, 1930 where he joined the staff of NBC. Petrie soon became the head announcer for many of the network's shows. His first major network assignment was on Everything Goes, starring Garry Moore. He was the announcer for scores of shows including Abbie's Irish Rose, Big Sister, Camel Caravan, Blondie, The Ray Bolger Show, The Judy Canova Show, The Jimmy Durante Show, and The Garry Moore Show.

While at NBC he met his future wife, Alice Wood who was employed at NBC between 1931 and 1936. The Petries had one son.

In 1936, Petrie won the prestigious Batten, Barten and Durstine Award for Good Announcing. In 1942 he was the recipient of the H.P. Davis Memorial Announcers' Award for "personality, adaptability, diction, voice and versatility." Petrie moved to California in 1943 to become the announcer for The Judy Canova Show. As a "personality announcer," he became a character in the show.

Film and television career

In 1947, a movie producer who was looking for a tall man for a character role, saw Petrie on the radio stage and offered him the part. At 6 feet four and 240 pounds, Petrie played numerous "big man" roles. He worked as a character actor in over thirty feature films and forty television shows. He often appeared in Westerns in both mediums.

Later years and death

Howard Petrie had been living in semi-retirement at his home, Autumn Hill, in Walpole, New Hampshire, when he died in Keene, New Hampshire, on March 24, 1968.

Selected filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1947 The Fabulous Joe George Baxter
The Hal Roach Comedy Carnival George Baxter, in "Fabulous Joe"
1950 Fancy Pants Secret Service Man Uncredited
Walk Softly, Stranger Bowen
Rocky Mountain Cole Smith/California Beal
1951 Cattle Drive Cap
The Golden Horde Tugluk Alternative title: The Golden Horde of Genghis Khan
1952 Bend of the River Tom Hendricks Alternative title: Where the River Bends
Red Ball Express Major General Lee Gordon
Carbine Williams Sheriff
1953 Fair Wind to Java Reeder
The Veils of Bagdad Karsh
1954 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Pete Perkins
The Bounty Hunter Sheriff Brand
1955 Rage at Dawn Lattimore, Prosecuting Attorney Alternative title: Seven Bad Men
How to Be Very, Very Popular Desk Sergeant
1956 The Maverick Queen Butch Cassidy
A Kiss Before Dying Howard Chesser, Chief of Police
1957 The Tin Star Mayor Harvey King
Year Title Role Notes
1954 Waterfront Hugh Perry 1 episode
1955 The Ford Television Theatre Baker 1 episode
1956 Gunsmoke Abe Brant 1 episode
1957 Broken Arrow Sam Carson 1 episode
Letter to Loretta Scoutmaster 1 episode
Casey Jones George Newsome 1 episode
1958 The Californians Stryker 1 episode
Alcoa Theatre Lieutenant Gifford 1 episode
1959 Frontier Justice Kroll 1 episode
Bonanza Major Ormsby 1 episode
Lawman Hal Mead 1 episode
Maverick Mike Burke 1 episode
Colt .45 John Porter 1 episode
The DuPont Show with June Allyson Abbott 1 episode
1960 Shotgun Slade Major Kennedy 1 episode
M Squad Mr. Patrick - Head of heist team 1 episode
Have Gun – Will Travel Jack Foster 1 episode
Mr. Lucky John Dort 1 episode
Johnny Ringo Ed Blanchard 1 episode
Bat Masterson Hugh Blaine 4 episodes
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp Governor Gibbs 2 episodes
Bronco Rigby 1 episode
Hennesey Admiral Wright 1 episode
Peter Gunn Lockland 1 episode
1960-1962 Death Valley Days Joseph Hooker 2 episodes
1961 National Velvet Bjorensen 1 episode
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Col. McCurdy 1 episode
1964-1965 The Edge of Night Otto Zimerman Unknown episodes


  • Beverly (Mass.) City Directory and North Shore Map. Crowley and Lunt, 1907, 1908, 1909.
  • Birth record: 1906, Vol. 558, page 407. Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910. From original records held by the Massachusetts Archives. Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004.
  • Buxton, Frank, and Bill Owen. The Big Broadcast, 1920-1950. New York: Viking Press, 1976.
  • Dunning, John. Tune in Yesterday: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, 1925-1976. Englewood Cliffs. N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1976.
  • Frizzell, Martha McDanolds. A History of Walpole, New Hampshire. Walpole: Walpole Historical Society, 1963, page 263.
  • Jones, Ken D., Arthur F. McClure and Alfred E. Twomey. Character People, The Stalwarts of the Cinema. Secaucus, N.J.:, 1976, page 163.
  • "Howard Petrie, 61, A Radio Announcer and Actor, Is Dead." March 26, 1968, New York Times, page 46.
  • "Obituaries," March 27, 1968, Boston Globe, page 44.
  • Poindexter, Ray. Golden Throats and Silver Tongues: The Radio Announcers. Conway, Ark: River Road Press, 1978, page 68.
  • Somerville (Mass.) City Directory. Boston: W.A. Greenough Co., 1924, pages 122, 457.
  • The Radiator, 1924. Somerville (Mass.) High School Yearbook.
  • U.S. Census Records, 1910 and 1920, for Beverly and Arlington, Massachusetts.

External links



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