J. M. Kerrigan
Joseph Michael Kerrigan, better known as J. M. Kerrigan, born in Dublin, Ireland, was an Irish character actor.
Kerrigan worked as a newspaper reporter until 1907 when he joined the famous Abbey Players. There he became a stalwart, appearing in plays by Lady Gregory, John Millington Synge, William Butler Yeats, and Sean O’Casey (for whom he played the role of Jimmy Farrell in The Playboy of the Western World.
His first screen appearance was in the silent film Food of Love in 1916. By the 1920s he was appearing on Broadway, often in plays by Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Sheridan.
He settled permanently in Hollywood in 1935, having been recruited along with several other Abbey performers, to appear in John Ford’s The Informer. In that film and in Ford’s The Long Voyage Home, he plays similar roles, that of a leech who attaches himself to men until they run out of money. Perhaps his best known role was in The General Died at Dawn, where he plays a character actually named Leach, in which he steals scenes from Gary Cooper, Madeleine Carroll, and William Frawley. In it he plays a sinister little petty thief who, holding a gun on Cooper, says, “I may be fat, but I’m agile.” Regrettably, in the forties and fifties he rarely got good parts and eventually became little more that a bit player.