Actor Frankie Burke

Frankie Burke (June 6, 1915 – April 7, 1983) was a Hollywood actor, best known for his appearance as a member of The East Side Kids.

Early life

Burke was born Frankie Vaselle and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. His name was changed when he began working in films. Burke went to P.S. 25 on Lafayette and Throop streets before going on to Alexander Hamilton (vocation) High School, now known as Paul Robeson HS, at 150 Albany Avenue.[citation needed] He grew up watching James Cagney on film in local theaters and, having been told many times how much he resembled him, figured if Cagney could become famous, so could he. Burke sold newspapers on the street corners before deciding to hitchhike to Hollywood in 1937 to meet Cagney, but when the first attempt failed, he went back to Brooklyn.

In 1937, Burke worked as a bellhop at a hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Life in Hollywood

He was discovered by a Warner Brothers talent scout, out searching for young men who resembled Cagney for a role in 1938’s Angels with Dirty Faces. Apparently, the resemblance was so astounding that Burke was hired on the spot.[citation needed] He went on to do eighteen more films, several of which were uncredited, before his last role in 1941’s Shadow of the Thin Man.

After Hollywood

After a divorce in the 1940s, Burke returned to Nevada to work and then on to the east coast to stay with family. In the early 1960s, he opted to become a hobo[citation needed] and travel across the United States in freight trains.[citation needed]


Burke died of lung cancer in 1983. He was survived by one son.


Year Film Role Notes
1938 Angels with Dirty Faces Young Rocky
1939 Off the Record Reform school inmate Uncredited
1939 Nancy Drew… Reporter Bellboy Uncredited
1939 The Adventures of Jane Arden Western Union messenger Uncredited
1939 You Can’t Get Away with Murder Billard player Uncredited
1939 Women in the Wind Johnnie
1939 Sweepstakes Winner Chalky Williams
1939 Hell’s Kitchen Soap
1939 Everybody’s Hobby C.C.C. Youth Uncredited
1939 You Can’t Get Away with Murder Billiard Player Uncredited
1939 Angels Wash Their Faces Reform School Boy Making Knife Uncredited
1939 Pride of the Blue Grass Willie Hobson
1940 East Side Kids Skinny
1940 Boys of the City Skinny
1940 Fugitive from a Prison Camp Sobby Taylor
1940 The Quarterback ‘Slats’ Finney
1941 Ride, Kelly, Ride Skeeziks O’Day
1941 Model Wife Messenger boy Uncredited
1941 Shadow of the Thin Man Bobby Burns Uncredited, final film role

External Links

Actor Frankie Burke – Wikipedia

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *