Frank HAGNEY

HAGNEY, Frank

Service Number: 164
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Trooper
Last Unit: 1st Battalion, Australian Commonwealth Horse
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, 30 April 1884
Home Town: Darlinghurst, City of Sydney, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Boundary rider (later Boxer and Actor)
Died: Natural causes, Los Angeles, USA, 25 June 1973, aged 89 years
Cemetery: Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California
Memorials:
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Boer War Service

1 Oct 1899: Involvement Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Trooper, SN 164, 1st Battalion, Australian Commonwealth Horse

Frank Hagney

The Amazing Frank Hagney, Soldier, Sports Star and Hollywood Actor

From boy soldier in the Boer War to Hollywood tough guy, the life and times of Frank Hagney is a boys own adventure that is so far fetched that it couldn't be true. Except, that it is, all true.

Born in 1884, Frank grew up in Fairfield with the family later moving to Liverpool. With the end of the Boer war looming, an underage Frank enlisted in the 1st Battalion Australian Commonwealth Horse in January 1902.

On his return from South Africa, Frank decided to take up professional cycling. He made his reputation in many races across Sydney winning time prizes in the Goulburn to Liverpool race.

By 1911, Frank had taken up rowing. As a professional sculler, Frank raced in many one on one challenges and won races on a tour of New Zealand. In 1914, Frank sailed off to England to pursue his rowing career. The start of WW1 intervened however and in mysterious circumstances, Frank fell in with former world boxing champion Jack Johnson who employed him as his sparring partner.
Life's journey now took him to the United States where he toured with Johnson across the U.S.A.

In 1916 Frank was crowned South American Boxing Champion.
After returning to the USA, Frank's career took an incredible turn when he appeared in his first Hollywood movie The Battler in 1919. His impressive physique was ideal for early Hollywood silent movies. Appearing in hundreds of films over the next 50 years, 'the hardest working man in Hollywood' would appear alongside screen legends such as John Wayne and Gary Cooper.

During the Golden Years of Hollywood, Frank appeared in legendary movies such as It's a Wonderful Life, Gunfight at the OK Corral and The Ten Commandments.
In 1927 aged 44, Frank made an incredible comeback when he won the World Long Distance Rowing Championship.

With the advent of television, Frank appeared in programs such as The Lone Ranger and Gunsmoke. Long forgotten in his homeland, Frank died in 1973 and is buried in Los Angeles.

An extraordinary life for a local lad.

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Biography contributed by Glen op den Brouw

"Born in Sydney in 1884, Hagney appeared in more than 350 Hollywood films between 1919 and 1966. Most of his film roles were small and uncredited. Because of his tall and strong appearance, Hagney often played officers or henchmens. He is perhaps best-known as Mr. Potter's wordless wheelchair pusher in Frank Capra's classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946)..." - READ MORE LINK (en.wikipedia.org)