Pierre Watkin was one of a stable of tall, distinguished-looking and sophisticated character actors (such as Russell Hicks, Jonathan Hale, Selmer Jackson and Samuel S. Hinds) whom Hollywood kept steadily employed playing political leaders, army officers, lawyers, wealthy businessmen and the like. Unlike many of his colleagues in that category, however, Watkin is notable for his (relatively) soft voice and precisely articulated speech. He is probably best remembered by film enthusiasts as Mr. Skinner, the unctuous, self-important bank president, in the W.C. Fields comedy The Bank Dick (1940), in which he uttered the now-classic line, "Allow me to give you a hearty handclasp".
He was the third of four sons of C.H. and Elizabeth J. Watkin, who operated a lodging house for "theater people" in Sioux City, IA. After completing high school he entered the acting profession, and by the time he registered for the draft in WWI he was working with an acting troupe--headed by Sidney Toler--and mar