Francis Sayles (November 22, 1891 – March 19, 1944) was an American character actor at the beginning of the sound film era. In the short dozen years of his career he appeared in over 100 films, most of them features. While he was normally cast in small uncredited parts, he was occasionally cast in featured roles, as in the role of Dickman in the 1934 film, One in a Million, starring Dorothy Wilson and Charles Starrett.
Life and career
Sayles was born on November 22, 1891 in Buffalo, New York. His film debut occurred in a small role of a detective in Strangers of the Evening (1932), starring ZaSu Pitts. Other notable films in which Sayles appears include: the featured role of Charlie Blaine in 1932's Blonde Venus, starring Marlene Dietrich and Cary Grant; a small role in The Gay Deception (1935), starring Francis Lederer and Frances Dee; a bit part as a waiter in the 1936 romantic comedy More Than a Secretary, starring Jean Arthur, George Brent, and Lionel Stander; the featured role of Charlie in Archie Mayo's 1937 drama Black Legion, starring Humphrey Bogart; as Detective William Jones in the 1938 western The Purple Vigilantes, starring Robert Livingston, Ray Corrigan, and Max Terhune; an uncredited role in Michael Curtiz' 1939 western, Dodge City, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland; as a politician in Orson Welles' 1941 classic, Citizen Kane; as a taxi driver in the 1943 Howard Hawks' romantic comedy, Ball of Fire (1942), starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck; again as a cab driver in the 1943 biopic, The Pride of the Yankees, starring Gary Cooper and Teresa Wright; and the 1944 biography The Adventures of Mark Twain, starring Fredric March and Alexis Smith. Sayles had a small role of an elevator operator in the 1944 film, Casanova Brown, again starring Cooper and Wright. It was his final film, he died on March 19, 1944, while the film was still in production. It was released later that year in August.