Moroni Olsen: Mormon Actor
Moroni Olsen was an actor of both stage and screen. He was born on June 27, 1889, in Ogden, Utah, and his parents named him after Moroni from the Book of Mormon. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Olsen studied at Weber Stake Academy (now Weber State University) and the University of Utah, where one of his teachers was Maud May Babcock. He organized a group of actors called “Moroni Olsen Players” and they performed locally at the Ogden Orpheum Theatre as well as in theaters throughout the West. He also appeared on Broadway as John Knox in Mary of Scotland.
He made his film debut as Porthos in the 1935 adaptation of The Three Musketeers. He also played the Bailiff in the 1939 comedy version of The Three Musketeers. He appeared in such films as Annie Oakley, Code of the Secret Service, Santa Fe Trail, Three Sons o’ Guns, The Glass Key, Ship Ahoy, Notorious, Life with Father, Call Northside 777, Father of the Bride, and Father’s Little Dividend, to name only a few. He voiced the character of the heavenly Joseph in It’s a Wonderful Life and was the voice of the Magic Mirror in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
He died on November 22, 1954.