|The 'brains' and 'action' heavies who had meaty roles and lots of dialog ... and the players who were fathers, ranch owners, lawman, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc.|
(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)
William Leo Haade
1903 - 1966
William 'Bill' Haade was born March 2, 1903 in Manhattan, New York City to Bernhard and Annie / Anna Haade.
He became a steel worker in the New York City area and did some skyscraper construction in the "Big Apple". And he was a member of Local 40 of the International Association of Bridge Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers.
In late 1936, Broadway producer and production designer Norman Bel Geddes developed a play titled "Iron Men" which was about a group of guys building New York City skyscrapers. To add realism, several real iron men - including William Haade - were cast as the steel workers. And it was the right place at the right time for Haade who got the lead role as "foreman Andy". However, the play was short-lived, opening in October, 1936 at the Longacre Theater in New York ... and closing about two weeks later. While the reviews were negative on the play, comments on Haade's performance were positive.
Soon after "Iron Men" flopped, Haade got a call from Warner Bros. to portray a boxer in KID GALAHAD (Warners, 1937). He quickly discovered that Hollywood paid better than his old occupation, and packed up his family and moved to Los Angeles. His second career as a movie and television actor spanned 20+ years, from about 1937 - 1957.
He free lanced everywhere, doing credited and unbilled roles in A and B grade films. And you can spot him as a detective, police officer, member of the military, card player, gangster, truck driver, and punchy, slow-witted prize fighters. As mentioned, his first movie job was portraying heavyweight boxer "Chuck McGraw" who gets KO'd by bellhop Wayne Morris in KID GALAHAD (Warners, 1937).
Haade did some western and serials, sometimes playing the brains heavy or second in command. My remembrances of him include brutish, oafish and bully ... but definitely not as smart, slick and domineering as B western villains Roy Barcroft and Harry Woods. And when Haade appears in his first scene in a western, I pay particular attention, wondering if he'll play the part straight or add some comedy hijinks or offbeat mannerisms which may include a "I'm dumbfounded, totally confused" facial expression.
Haade's work for Republic Pictures consisted of about four dozen movies. Guessing that most B western fans recognize him from 1940s Republic oaters where he antagonized Don Barry, Roy Rogers, Allan Lane, Monte Hale, Bill Elliott and Rex Allen.
Highlights of William Haade in westerns:
- In the George O'Brien STAGE TO CHINO (RKO, 1940), Haade portrays a stagecoach driver in a story about crooks trying to take over the stage line run by heroine Virginia Vale.
- Haade had a good role as the leader of a gang of smugglers in the Don Barry starrer DESERT BANDIT (Republic, 1941).
- In Don Barry's KANSAS CYCLONE (Republic, 1941), Haade is the town sheriff who is forced to assist the bad guys in order to gain money to care for his ailing wife.
- He's one of Morris Ankrum's gang in the Hopalong Cassidy adventure, PIRATES ON HORSEBACK (Paramount, 1941).
- Henchie Haade shows his comedic baddie style in Roy Rogers' IN OLD CHEYENNE (Republic, 1941).
- He plays the disgruntled, ex ranch foreman causing problems for Gene Autry in HEART OF THE RIO GRANDE (Republic, 1942).
- It's Don Barry vs. political boss William Haade in DAYS OF OLD CHEYENNE (Republic, 1943).
- Haade was Roy Rogers sidekick "Buster" in YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS (Republic, 1944).
- In Monte Hale's OLD FRONTIER (Republic, 1950), Haade gets a few laughs portraying "Pills", a hypochondriac baddie.
- Gang member Haade shows off his comedy style again in Rex Allen's RED RIVER SHORE (Republic, 1953).
- Old Corral regular Ron McKnight reminded me of another good Haade performance - he was railroad track foreman "Dusky Clayton" in the A grade UNION PACIFIC (Paramount, 1939) which starred Joel McCrea.
Les Adams has Haade identified in about 200 films, and that number includes 57 westerns and six serials.
Haade was one of many who migrated to 1950s television work and appeared in episodes of THE LONE RANGER, RANGE RIDER, WILD BILL HICKOK, lots more.
He and wife Anna R. Sincere Haade (1903 - 1974) had two sons, William Joseph Haade (1925 - 1986) and Edward John Haade (1928 - 2004), and the family resided at 11754 Van Owen Street, North Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California.
Sixty-three year old William Leo Haade suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away on November 15, 1966 at UCLA Medical in Los Angeles. Wife Anna passed in 1974. They are interred next to each other at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills, California.
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on William Haade: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0351744/
The Family Search website (free) and Ancestry.com (subscription) have information on William 'Bill' Haade.
- Ancestry.com had the New York Birth Certificate Index for William Leo Haade. He was born March 2, 1903 in Manhattan, New York City to Bernhard and Annie Haade.
- Family Search also had a birth record: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W88-MHX
- 1910 census summary and census takers worksheet - living in Manhattan, New York City are 29 year old Anna Haade (born New York; widowed; occupation "Janitress"), 8 year old daughter Agnes (born New York), 7 year old son William (born New York) and 1 year old daughter Rose (born New York): https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M5ZF-JQX
- 1920 census summary and census takers worksheet, enumerated January 9, 1920 - Haade's mother Anna / Annie has re-married to a William Bittner, and the combined Haade / Bittner family is renting in Manhattan, New York City. Family members include 18 year old Agnes (born New York) and 16 year old William Haade (born New York; single; occupation "Apprentice - Machine Factory": https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJ1X-P7P
- 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - owning their home at 11754 Van Owen Street, Los Angeles, California are 36 year old William Hoadi [sic] (born New York), his 35 year old wife Anna (born Connecticut), 15 year old son William (born New York), and 12 year old son Edward J. (born New York). William's occupation is "Actor - Motion Picture Studio" and in 1939, he worked 14 weeks and earned $5000+. In 1935, the family resided in Bronx, New York City: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9HK-R5P
- Ancestry.com had the World War II draft registration dated February 14, 1942 for 38 year old William Leo Haade. He was born March 2, 1903 in New York City; lives at 11754 Van Owen Street, North Hollywood, California; occupation is "Free Lance Actor"; he's 6 feet, 1 1/2 inches tall and weighs 206 pounds; and his contact is Sam Armstrong, Music Corp of America, Beverly Hills, California.
- Ancestry.com had several voter registrations and city directory entries for Haade:
1944 Los Angeles County Voter registrations and William L. Haade (Motion Picture Actor) lives at 11754 Van Owen Street.
1962 Voter Registration has William Haade and wife Anna living at 11754 Vanowen.
1939 and 1940 Van Nuys, North Hollywood, San Fernando Valley City directories with William and Anna Haade, 11754 Vanowen.
- Interment record from Pierce Bros mortuary - 63 year old William L. Haade and wife Anna R. Haade lived at 11754 Van Owen Street, North Hollywood, California. His occupation was "Freelance Actor - Motion Pictures"; he was born March 2, 1903 in New York; and he passed away from a cardiac arrest at UCLA Medical, Los Angeles, on November 15, 1966. Graveside service and interment at San Fernando Cemetery: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:HKDV-WVPZ
- California Death Index for William L. Haade. He was born March 2, 1903 in New York and passed away on November 15, 1966 in the Los Angeles area: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VP4L-P35
Find A Grave has a photo of the marker for Haade (1903 - 1966) and his wife Anna R. Sincere Haade (1903 - 1974) who are interred next to each other at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills, Los Angeles County, California:
So how did William Haade wind up in Hollywood? Trade publications and newspapers had tidbits about New York City steel worker Haade ... and pure luck ... and being in the right place at the right time.
- October 21, 1936 Variety reported that the play "Iron Men" was opening October 29, 1936 at the Longacre Theater in New York City. Play is about steel workers in New York City: "... William Haade, who is or was a steel worker, credited with connecting big girders high in the air for a number of New York's tall buildings. (Norman Bel) Geddes has made an actor out of him, and an excellent one. Haade plays the lead, heading a gang of iron men who are tops in their field."
- November 4, 1936 Variety covered the "Iron Men" play which flopped after two weeks at the Longacre Theater in New York: "There were four structural steel workers in the cast, one, William Haade, giving a standout performance as the lead. He is a strapping lad but not exceptionally big. Comes from Irish stock and the original monicker was O'Haade."
- January 20, 1937 Film Daily: "WILLIAM HAADE, signed by Warner Bros. for a picture, left New York yesterday for Hollywood." (That was Haade's first movie role as a prize fighter in KID GALAHAD (Warners, 1937).)
- October, 1937 Hollywood magazine had an article about James Cagney, and Haade is mentioned: "... strolling on the girders of a skyscraper-to-be. That's where actor William Haade, a former steel worker, took Cagney during the making of Something to Sing About. Haade (of the stage Iron Men and screen Kid Galahad fame) and Jimmy strolled about on the naked girders atop the thirteenth story ..."
- Newspaper clippings from 1936 - 1937 on iron worker William Haade becoming an actor:
The Internet Broadway Database has William Haade in the short-lived play "Iron Men" which ran for 16 performances in October - November, 1936 at the Longacre Theatre in New York City: https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/william-haade-43599
Playbill website has a biography on steel worker Haade from the 1936 playbill for "Iron Men":
|(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Left to right are Morris Ankrum, Dennis Moore, William Haade - and sitting is George Sowards - in the Hopalong Cassidy PIRATES ON HORSEBACK (Paramount, 1941).
(From Old Corral collection)
L-to-R are William Haade, Bud Geary, Wild Bill Elliott (as Red Ryder), and on the far right is Kenne Duncan in SHERIFF OF LAS VEGAS (Republic, 1944).
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above are the quartet of no-goodniks from the Allan Lane serial DAREDEVILS OF THE WEST (Republic, 1943). From left to right are William Haade, Robert Frazer, Ted Adams and George J. Lewis. Frazer is the brains heavy and Adams is his crooked attorney. Haade and Lewis report to them.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
L-to-R are serial queen Kay Aldridge, Allan Lane and William Haade in the cliffhanger DAREDEVILS OF THE WEST (Republic, 1943).
(From Old Corral collection)
L-to-R are William Haade, Monte Hale, and Steve Darrell with the sixgun in this lobby card from Hale's UNDER COLORADO SKIES (Republic, 1947). In the background is Herman Hack (in blue shirt on the left), and Lew Morphy is in the center.