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Origin:
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Decades:
1908-1951

Arthur "Dooley" Wilson (April 3, 1886? – May 30, 1953) was an American actor and singer. He was born in Tyler, Texas, and is remembered as piano-player "Sam" who sings "As Time Goes By" at the request of Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) in the 1942 film, Casablanca. Wilson's precise year of birth is unknown: it may have been anywhere between 1884 and 1887. It is thought that he sang and played the drums in black clubs in the Tyler area before he moved to Chicago. He worked in black theatre in Chicago and New York for most of the period from 1908 to the 1930s, although in the 1920s he played as a drummer in a band which toured Europe. From the 1930s to the 1950s he worked in motion pictures and Broadway musicals, and played Bill Jackson on the television situation comedy Beulah during its final 1952–1953 season.

He received the nickname "Dooley" while working in the Pekin Theatre in Chicago, circa 1908, because of his then-signature Irish song "Mr. Dooley," which he performed in whiteface.

His breakthrough Broadway appearance came in the role of Little Joe, a stereotypic lazy rascal in the musical Cabin in the Sky (1940–1941). This led to his signing for the Paramount studio in Hollywood, which lent him to Warner Bros. for his role as Sam in Casablanca. He played Pompey, an escaped slave, in the musical Bloomer Girl (1946–1948). His performance of the song "The Eagle and Me" in this show was selected by Dwight Blocker Bowers for inclusion in a Smithsonian recordings compilation, American Musical Theatre.

Dooley is buried in Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles. The cemetery is notable for the number of former Los Angeles mayors and other politicians who are buried there.

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