Andrew Vabre “Andy” Devine was an American character actor and comic cowboy sidekick known for his distinctive raspy voice.
Born in Flagstaff, Arizona on October 7, 1905, Andy Devine grew up in nearby Kingman, where his family moved when he was a year old. His father was Thomas Devine Jr., born in 1869 in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Andy’s grandfather, Thomas Devine Sr., was born in 1842 in County Tipperary, Ireland, and emigrated to the United States in 1852. Andy’s mother was Amy Ward, the granddaughter of Commander James H. Ward, the first officer of the United States Navy killed during the Civil War.
He attended St. Mary and St. Benedict’s College, Northern Arizona State Teacher’s College, and was a star football player at Santa Clara University. He also played semi-professional football under the pseudonym “Jeremiah Schwartz” — it was not his birth name as has been erroneously reported elsewhere. His football experience led to his first sizable film role, in the 1931 The Spirit of Notre Dame.
He had acting ambitions, so after college, he went to Hollywood, where he marked time working as a lifeguard at Venice Beach, within easy distance of the studios. It was in 1933 on a film, Doctor Bull, directed by John Ford at Universal Studios, that Andy met his wife-to-be, Dorothy House. They were married on October 28, 1933, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and remained united until his death on February 18, 1977.