Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Frawleys in:
 • San Fernando Mission Cemetery
 • Mission Hills
 • Los Angeles County
 • California
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
William Clement Frawley
Birth: Feb. 26, 1887
Burlington
Des Moines County
Iowa, USA
Death: Mar. 3, 1966
Hollywood
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Lucille Ball's gruff landlord ‘Fred Mertz' on the groundbreaking 1950s television situation comedy "I Love Lucy." By the time he came to "I Love Lucy" he was a veteran of vaudeville, the theatre and over 100 Hollywood motion pictures. Born in Burlington, Iowa, in his youth he sang in the St. Paul's Catholic Church choir, played at the Burlington Opera House, and also appeared in amateur shows at the Garrick Theater. His first "real" job was as a stenographer for the Union Pacific Railroad. But his true love was show business, which he pursued in a vaudeville act with his brother Paul, and later joined pianist Franz Rath in an act they took to San Francisco, "A Man, a Piano, and a Nut." After four years, in 1914 he formed a light comedy act with his new wife Edna Louise Broedt, "Frawley and Louise," touring the Orpheum and Keith vaudeville circuits until they divorced in 1927. Then he moved to Broadway and appeared in such shows as "Here's Howe!" "Bye, Bye Bonnie," "The Gingham Girl," "Sons o' Guns," and "She's My Baby" (with Bea Lillie, Clifton Webb, and Irene Dunne). His first dramatic role was that of press agent ‘Ward O'Malley' in a 1932 production of "Twentieth Century" at the Broadhurst Theater. Then in 1932, it was off to Hollywood for a seven-year contract with Paramount. When Frawley approached Lucille Ball about a part in "I Love Lucy" in 1951, she was surprised to hear from a man she knew only barely from the forties. Lucy responded, "Bill Frawley, how are you?" and promised to discuss the matter with Desi Arnaz. Arnaz agreed that Frawley would be wonderful for the ‘Fred Mertz' role, but shared the network's concern over his reputation for instability and drinking problems. Arnaz immediately leveled with Frawley about CBS's reservations. He denied it, but Desi warned him that if he was late to work, or unable to perform except because of legitimate illness more than once, he'd be written out of the show. So began the saga that continued until 1957 when "Lucy" went off of prime time after 179 episodes. In 1960, Frawley accepted an offer to do a show with ABC, "My Three Sons," portraying ‘Michael Francis "Bub" O'Casey,' a character not unlike ‘Fred Mertz.' He continued with "My Three Sons" for five years, until failing health forced him to retire. On the evening of March 3, 1966 while strolling down Hollywood Blvd. after seeing a movie, Frawley suffered a heart attack and collapsed. He was rushed to nearby Hollywood Receiving Hospital where he was pronounced dead, a week after his seventy-ninth birthday. (bio by: Edward Parsons) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Michael A. Frawley (1857 - 1907)
 
 Spouse:
  Edna Louise Broedt Frawley (1893 - 1992)*
 
*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Heart Attack
 
Burial:
San Fernando Mission Cemetery
Mission Hills
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Section 4, Lot 66, Grave C
GPS (lat/lon): 34.27482, -118.46652
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 365
William Clement Frawley
Added by: Nancy Brossart
 
William Clement Frawley
Added by: Jim Tipton
 
William Clement Frawley
Added by: Jim Tipton
 
There is 1 more photo not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

Thank you to Lucy, Desi, Vivian and William for all of the laughs. You will live forever.
-Anonymous
 Added: Nov. 22, 2014

- Barbara in California
 Added: Nov. 11, 2014

- Nancy in Michigan
 Added: Nov. 9, 2014
There are 2,035 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.6 after 686 votes)
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service