Family & Companions
A veteran of the stage, TV and film, Atterbury was one of the most respected character actors in Hollywood from the early 1950s through the 80s. His height and gaunt features made him a natural for Westerns in his younger days, but he served just as well in thrillers, film noirs, horror quickies and cop movies. In his later years, his feisty yet friendly manner made Atterbury a favorite choice for colorful grandfather roles. He appeared in more than 75 features and 300 TV episodes in the course of his career. One of Atterbury's best-remembered appearances was in "North by Northwest," where he plays the weathered-looking, taciturn man who dryly observes to Cary Grant that "That plane's dusting crops where there ain't no crops," setting the stage for one of Hitchcock's most celebrated set pieces.
Prior to going to Hollywood in 1953, Atterbury's major contribution to the entertainment field was as a theater owner and operator. He and his wife Ellen ran two professional theaters: the Tamarack Playhouse, a summer stock theater in Lake Pleasant NY; and the Playhouse in Albany NY. The latter was the only Equity winter stock company in the country. In Albany, the Atterburys provided opportunities for the young talents of Grace Kelly, Kirk Douglas, Karl Malden, Cliff Robertson, Barbara Cook and Tom Bosley.
Cast (Feature Film)
Film Production - Main (Feature Film)
Decorated by the War Department for entertaining the troops
With his wife, Ellen, owned and operated the Playhouse in Albany NY, the only Equity winter stock company in the country
Co-hosted, with his wife, a TV show entitled "Backstage with the Atterburys"
Moved to Beverly Hills and began career as a Hollywood character actor
Appeared on Broadway in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
Appeared at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in "Who's Happy Now"
Worked as an ABC-TV series regular as the moribund but feisty patriarch, Jonas Paine, on the short-lived comedy, "Thicker Than Water"
Retired from acting