Movie Tough Guy, Comedian Chick Chandler

Chick Chandler, the often-perplexed comedian or semi-tough guy in dozens of routine but entertaining films of the 1930s and ‘40s, has died in a Laguna Beach hospital.

He was 83 and died at South Coast Medical Center where his wife, former New York dancer and entertainer Jean Frontai, had been admitted earlier.

He died Friday after being admitted to the hospital after suffering a heart attack at the convalescent home where he had been living since his wife became ill. She died at the same medical center the following day of complications of cancer. She was 78.

Born in Kingston, N.Y., to a military family, Chandler began in vaudeville and the legitimate theater before moving to Hollywood for his first picture, “Red Love,” in 1925.


Working primarily at RKO Studios and later at 20th Century Fox, he was seen in “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Hollywood Cavalcade,” “Swanee River,” “The Magnificent Dope,” “Action in the North Atlantic,” “Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” and “The Girl Who Knew Too Much.”

On television he co-starred in “Soldiers of Fortune” (1955-56) as an adventurer for hire and also was seen in “One Happy Family,” a short-lived 1961 comedy that dealt with the problems of three generations of family living in one home.

Steffi O’Keefe, a longtime friend of the couple, said Chandler had been retired for more than 20 years and the childless couple had been living in Orange County.