He played Uncle Charley on the TV series, My Three Sons, and also played grouchy characters in over 100 films. His credits include Dangerous When Wet, Jupiter's Darling, and The Far Horizons.
He spent the early part of his career in vaudeville. He moved to Hollywood in 1926 and appeared in the Warner Brothers experiment sound film, The Jazz Singer, in 1927.
He earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his roles in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Devil and Miss Jones, and The Jolson Story. The latter earned him an Oscar nomination.
He, along with his two brothers, played roles in vaudeville as the Demarest Trio.
Fred MacMurray was his co-star on My Three Sons.