Born 1899, Pat along with his school friend Spencer Tracy attended Marquette Academy, a Catholic Secondary School. Both of them enlisted in the Navy at the start of World War II, but neither saw action. Both moved to New York City, shared an apartment and auditioned for shows. James Cagney became friends with the two and performed together in a stock company.
A humble man with a great talent, his performances of the 30's and 40's established him as one of the best. By the fifties his career faltered, being blacklisted along with several greats.
The Irishman married Eloise Taylor in 1931, Eloise would bear him a son and the couple then would adopt 3 more children.
In 1973, the Catholic Actors Guild named him their man of the year (he was also an honorary vice president of the organization). The tribute said, "He is the only actor in motion pictures to portray five great Americans," listing Knute Rockne, Father Duffy, Father Dunne (in "Fighting Father Dunne"), Mr. Cavanaugh (in "The Iron Major"), and Colonel Patty Ryan (in "Bombardier").