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Percy Kilbride

from the trailer for George Washington Slept Here (1942)
Born Percy W. Kilbride
July 16, 1888(1888-07-16)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Died December 11, 1964 (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1928–1955

Percy W. Kilbride (July 16, 1888 – December 11, 1964) was an American character actor.

The son of Irish immigrants, he made a career of playing country hicks, most memorably as Pa Kettle in the Ma and Pa Kettle series of feature films. Kilbride began working in the theater at the age of 12 and eventually left his young son and young daughter to become an actor on Broadway. He first played an 18th-century French dandy in A Tale of Two Cities. His film debut was as "Jakey" in the Pre-Code Carole Lombard film, White Woman (1933). He left Broadway for good in 1942. In 1945 he appeared in The Southerner.

In 1947, he and Marjorie Main played the supporting parts of Ma and Pa Kettle in The Egg and I, starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert. Those were followed by the popular Ma and Pa Kettle series with Kilbride and Main playing the main characters, during which time he also played in other movies.

Kilbride retired after filming Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki in 1955 due to an automobile accident.[1]


Kilbride died several days after he and Ralf Belmont, a friend and acting colleague, were struck by a car while walking near his home, at the corner of Yucca and Cherokee Streets, in Hollywood. Belmont died instantly. Kilbride died several days later from head injuries. He was 76 years old.

He was buried near his hometown of San Francisco, at Golden Gate Nation Veteran's Cemetery, in San Bruno, California. Kilbride left his estate to four nephews and a sister-in-law.


  1. ^ Fitzgerald, Michael G. (1977), Universal Pictures: A Panoramic History in Words, Pictures, and Filmographies, New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House Publishers, p. 69, ISBN 0-87000-366-6  

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