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Dennis O'Keefe (born Edward Vance Flanagan) was an actor from the 1930s to the 1960s. He was about as far from an overnight success as you could be! He was born in 1908 in Iowa to vaudevillian parents, and he tried to break into films in the late 1920s under his birth name combined with his nickname, "Bud" Flanagan. Starting in 1930, he appeared in dozens of movies each year as an uncredited extra (usually as a tough guy). In 1937, he met Clark Gable while an extra on "Saratoga", and Gable liked what he saw and put in a good word for O'Keefe, and MGM signed him to a contract, at which point they renamed him "Dennis O'Keefe". But he didn't get many good roles at MGM, and when his contract expired in 1940, he became a freelancer and had three memorable roles in the 1940s, "Topper Returns" in 1941, "The Leopard Man" in 1943, and "T-Men" in 1947 (which O'Keefe was the co-screenwriter on). He also worked on radio starting in the mid 1940s. A longtime smoker, he passed away from lung cancer in 1968, at the age of 60.
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