April 24, 2021
Whole Number 117
NED SPARKS (1883-1957), FAMOUS CANADIAN COMIC ACTOR
[Editor's Note: One of the most frequently asked questions about the Sparkses of America come from persons who remember a comic actor, Ned Sparks, who was noted for his wise-cracking put-dovvns for everyone and everything. "Who was Ned Sparks?" they ask. "To what branch of the SPARKS family did he belong?" Here is a partial answer abstracted from the January 1, 1982, edition of the Toronto (Canada) Globe and Mail.]
Ned Sparks was born EDWARD ARTHUR SPARKMAN at Guelph, Ontario, Canada, on November 19, 1883. At the age of 18, he left Canada to start a career that lasted 45 years on stage, screen, and radio. He made nearly 100 films and performed with most of the big stars of his era. Three movies in which he appeared were nomiriated for Academy Awards. He was noted for his frog-eyed, sour-puss appearance, strutting about with an eternal cigar clamped in his teeth, and braying in his foghorn, gravelly voice. Yet underneath his appearance of gruffness, he was able to portray a kind of vulnerability and even kindness. He maintained his Canadian citizenship to the end, although he was associated quite intimately with California. He spent his last days at Victorville, California, but visited relatives and friends in Canada as frequently as he could. He died in 1957 at Victorville.