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The Real Santa Claus

By Michele Johnson

Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn
Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn

Was Edmund Gwenn the real Santa Claus?

Edmund Gwenn was the actor who played Santa Claus for the 1947 movie, "Miracle on 34th Street".

Natalie Wood, actress, who played Susan Walker in the movie believed that Edmund was actually Santa Claus during the filming of the movie. At the conclusion of the filming, Natalie realized he was not from the North Pole when Edmund wore regular clothes to the wrap up party.

The cast and crew shared that Edmund was an exceptionally nice guy. He was always happy, smiling, and had a little twinkle in his eye. They felt by the time they were halfway through filming the movie, that Edmund really was Santa Claus.

Here is another interesting fact about Edmund Gwenn. He played Santa Claus in the actual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade held on November 28, 1946. He waved to the crowd and addressed the crowd from Macy's marquee after it was over. At the marquee, he was introduced as Santa Claus to the crowd by Philip Tonge, who played Mr. Shellhammer in the movie.

Later Edmund won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for "Miracle on 34th Street.” He also won the Golden Globe Award. When he accepted the Academy Award, he said, “Now I know there's a Santa Claus."


Movies and stories from the 40’s and 50’s have definitely influence Pipka’s work. You never know were inspiration will come from.


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