Actors at the Pasadena Playhouse

Actors whose rise to fame includes experience at the Pasadena Playhouse.
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George Reeves
George Reeves was born George Keefer Brewer in Woolstock, Iowa, to Helen Roberta (Lescher) and Donald C. Brewer. He was of German, English, and Scottish descent. Reeves was raised in Pasadena, California, and educated at Pasadena Junior College. He was a skilled amateur boxer and musician. He interned as an actor at the famed Pasadena Playhouse...
“ Pasadena's own ” - quartertwain
“ John moves from Chicago to Pasadena, to study at the playhouse. There, he would meet his wife of 61 years. ” - quartertwain
Morris Ankrum
A graduate of the University of Southern California School of Law, Morris Ankrum was an attorney and an economics professor before switching careers and joining the theater. He was a veteran stage actor by the time he entered the film industry in the 1930s, where he spent much time in westerns, playing everything from Indian chiefs to crooked town bankers...
“ A long time teacher and director at the playhouse ” - quartertwain
Dana Andrews
American leading man of the 1940s and 1950s, Dana Andrews, was born Carver Dana Andrews on a farm by Collins, Covington County, Mississippi. He was the son of Annis (Speed) and Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister. He was one of thirteen children, including actor Steve Forrest. Andrews studied business administration at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Texas...
“ Trained at the playhouse ” - quartertwain
Eve Arden
Eve was born just north of San Francisco in Mill Valley and was interested in show business from an early age. At 16, she made her stage debut after quitting school to joined a stock company. After appearing in minor roles in two films under her real name, Eunice Quedens, she found that the stage offered her the same minor roles...
“ Better known as Our Miss Brooks. I haven't found the connection yet. ” - quartertwain
Angela Bassett
Captivating, gifted, and sensational, Angela Bassett's presence has been felt in theaters, stages, and television screens throughout the world. Angela Evelyn Bassett was born on August 16, 1958 in New York City, to Betty Jane (Gilbert), a social worker, and Daniel Benjamin Bassett, a preacher's son...
“ While the playhouse may not have contributed to her stardom, she made a notable run there in 2006. ” - quartertwain
Charles Bronson
The archetypal screen tough guy with weatherbeaten features--one film critic described his rugged looks as "a Clark Gable who had been left out in the sun too long"--Charles Bronson was born Charles Buchinsky, one of 15 children of struggling parents in Pennsylvania. His mother, Mary (Valinsky)...
“ I haven't found the connection yet. ” - quartertwain
Raymond Burr
Born Raymond William Stacy Burr on 21 May 1917 in New Westminster, British Columbia, Burr spent most of his early life traveling. As a youngster, his father moved his family to China, where the elder Burr worked as a trade agent. When the family returned to Canada, Raymond's parents separated. He and his mother moved to Vallejo...
“ Supporting role my favorite movie, Rear Window. Began his acting career at the Pasadena Playhouse. ” - quartertwain
Ruth Buzzi
Ruth Buzzi was Born July 24, 1936 in South County (Westerly), Rhode Island to Rena Pauline and Angelo Peter Buzzi, a nationally recognized stone sculptor. She Raised in Wequetequock, Connecticut, and attended Stonington High School. She Gained experience as a cheerleader performing before crowds at athletic events...
“ Enrolled at Pasadena Playhouse at 17 ” - quartertwain
Youssef Chahine
Director, September 11
Youssef Chahine (born in Alexandria, Egypt, 1926) started studying in a friars' school, and then turned to English College until the High School Certificate. After one year in the University of Alexandria, he moved to the U.S. and spent two years at the Pasadena Play House, taking courses on film and dramatic arts...
“ Egyptian director, credited with launching the career of Omar Sharif, moved to United States to study acting at the playhouse ” - quartertwain
Maxine Cooper
This svelte, sultry-eyed brunette made a mark in one significant (some consider "ultimate") film noir classic helmed by Robert Aldrich in the mid-1950s -- and then, within a short time, she vanished. Another in the long line of pretty and promising actresses who traded in their career for marriage to a well-established Hollywood industry member...
“ Famous for Kiss me Deadly, she finished her dramatic studies at the playhouse. ” - quartertwain
Frances Dee
Brunette Frances Dee was born in Los Angeles, where her Army officer father was stationed, and grew up in Chicago after her father was transferred there. In 1929, he was re-assigned to L.A., and, as a lark, Dee began working in motion pictures as an extra. Her debut was in Words and Music with Lois Moran...
“ Early talkie star, I haven't found the connection yet. ” - quartertwain
Don DeFore
Actor, Hazel
Don Defore played Mr. Thornberry ("Thorny") on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, a role that came came easy for him as in real life he was pretty much like his "Thorny" character. He married his wife Marion in 1942 and they lived in a farmhouse in the Mandeville Canyon area outside Los Angeles, which was then farm country...
“ The mean old-guy from Seinfeld? He completed his acting degree at the playhouse. ” - quartertwain
“ Discovered for his role in The Blackboard Jungle while studying at the playhouse ” - quartertwain
Dabbs Greer
Dabbs Greer was a very familiar face in films and especially on TV. He was a sort of "everyman" in his roles and played merchants, preachers, businessmen, and other "pillars of the community" types as well as assorted villains. With his plain looking face, wavy hair and mellow, distinctive voice he was a solid supporting actor...
“ Moved to Pasadena in 1943, passed away at Huntington Hospital in 2009 ” - quartertwain
Gene Hackman
Actor, Unforgiven
Eugene Allen Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Anna Lyda Elizabeth (Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman, who operated a newspaper printing press. He is of Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry, partly by way of Canada, where his mother was born. After several moves...
“ Joined the playhouse in 1956 ” - quartertwain
“ Child actor and, mostly, B-movie star ” - quartertwain
Samuel S. Hinds
Samuel S. Hinds, a Harvard graduate, was a lawyer in Hollywood until the stock market crash of 1929, in which he lost most of his money. Hinds, who had an interest in theater acting, decided to embark on a career in acting, albeit it age 54. The tall, dignified-looking Hinds appeared in over 200 films...
“ Died in Pasadena, 1948 ” - quartertwain
Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Lee Hoffman was born in Los Angeles, California, to Lillian (Gold) and Harry Hoffman, who was a furniture salesman and prop supervisor for Columbia Pictures. He was raised in a Jewish family (from Ukraine, Russia-Poland, and Romania). Hoffman graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1955, and went to Santa Monica City College...
“ Amazing that Hoffman and Hackman began their careers at the same time in the same place. Number of versions of Straw Dogs the world needs, 0. ” - quartertwain
Earl Holliman
Louisiana-born actor Earl Holliman, after a stint in the Navy, studied at UCLA and the Pasadena Playhouse before earning his break in the Martin/Lewis comedy Scared Stiff. He gained clout after portraying a variety of young, manly characters in rugged westerns and war drama, ranging from dim and/or good-natured to overly impulsive and/or threatening...
“ Left the Navy for the Playhouse ” - quartertwain
Carolyn Jones
Carolyn Jones was born April 28, 1930, in Amarillo, Texas. Her mother was Jeannette and her sister was Bette (Moriarty). She was an imaginative child, much like her mother. In 1934, her father abandoned the family and her mother moved them in with her parents, also in Amarillo. As a child Carolyn suffered from severe asthma...
“ Morticia moved to California to study acting at the playhouse ” - quartertwain
Victor Jory
Actor, Papillon
Victor Jory was the boxing and wrestling champion of the Coast Guard during his military hitch, and never lost his big, burly physique. His sinister looks and distinctive voice typed him as a heavy, at which he excelled, but he did occasionally play sympathetic leads, one of which was, oddly enough, the sci-fi cult classic Cat-Women of the Moon.
“ Graduated from Playhouse in 1961 ” - quartertwain
Born in Japan, Mako was living there with his grandparents while his parents studied art in the United States, when Japan and the U.S. went to war in 1941. His parents remained in the U.S., working for the Office of War Information, and, at the cessation of the conflict, were granted U.S. residency by Congress...
“ Trained at the Playhouse ” - quartertwain
Kerwin Mathews
Before there was a George Lucas and Harrison Ford running around creating special-effects excitement, there was a virile, boyishly handsome actor named Kerwin Mathews who was entertaining audiences battling a variety of creatures courtesy of pioneer special effects guru Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen's...
“ Met the head of casting for Columbia Pictures while acting at the playhouse ” - quartertwain
Victor Mature
American leading man Victor John Mature was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Clara P. (Ackley) and Marcellus George Mature, a cutler and knife sharpener. His father, born Marcello Gelindo Maturi in Pinzolo, Trentino, was Italian, and his mother was of Swiss-German and German descent. Mature worked as a teenager with his father as a salesman for butcher supplies...
“ Discovered at Pasadena Playhouse ” - quartertwain
“ Graduated from playhouse ” - quartertwain
Rue McClanahan
A veteran television actress and Broadway star of the 50s, Rue McClanahan was born Eddi-Rue McClanahan in Healdton, Oklahoma, to Dreda Rheua-Nell (Medaris), a beautician, and William Edwin McClanahan, a building contractor. She was noticed by television executive Norman Lear. Lear cast her in a number of television shows...
“ Earned a scholarship to playhouse, before travelling to New York to finish her education ” - quartertwain
Douglass Montgomery
Montgomery, on stage by his teens, was scouted by MGM. The studio changed his name to Kent Douglass and cast him in dashing or romantic roles opposite some of MGM's powerhouse actresses, such as Joan Crawford (in Paid ) and Katharine Hepburn (in Little Women, in which he played the role of Laurie)...
Wayne Morris
Wayne Morris, the last of the B-Western stars, was born Bert DeWayne Morris, Jr. on February 17, 1914 in Los Angeles, California. His 1953-54 movie series that began with Star of Texas and ended with Two Guns and a Badge was the last of the low-budget westerns that had been a staple of the film industry for half-a-century...
Lloyd Nolan
Actor, Julia
It would no doubt be a real shock to most people to discover that the rich baritone Bronx-like accent of great veteran character actor Lloyd Nolan was a product of the San Francisco streets--not the urban jungle of New York City. Nolan was born in the City by the Bay, and his father, James Nolan, was a successful shoe manufacturer of hard-working Irish stock...
Moroni Olsen
Actor, Notorious
Even his more courteous, somewhat friendlier types gave one pause for concern. The tall, beefy, balding, icy-eyed character actor Moroni Olsen was one of Hollywood's more popular and imposing performers of film during the late 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. The versatile player was born Moroni Olsen and raised in Utah to Mormon parents (Edward Arenholt Olsen and Marsha Holverholst)...
Eleanor Parker
Eleanor Jean Parker was born on June 26, 1922, in Cedarville, Ohio, the last of three children born to a mathematics teacher and his wife. Eleanor caught the acting bug early and began performing in school plays. She was was so serious about becoming a thespian, she attended the Rice Summer Theatre on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts beginning when she was 15 years old...
Tyrone Power
Tyrone Power was one of the great romantic swashbuckling stars of the mid-twentieth century, and the third Tyrone Power of four in a famed acting dynasty reaching back to the eighteenth century. His great-grandfather was the first Tyrone Power (1795-1841), a famed Irish comedian. His father, known to historians as Tyrone Power Sr....
Robert Preston
American leading man of vast charisma, Robert Preston was the son of a garment worker and a record store clerk and grew up in Los Angeles. He was a trained musician, playing several instruments, and in high school became interested in theatre. He joined the Pasadena Community Playhouse, taking classes and appearing in scores of plays alongside such soon-to-be-well-known actors as Dana Andrews...
“ One of the first actors I can remember, from his last movie The Last Starfighter ” - quartertwain
Barbara Rush
Actress, Peyton Place
The epitome of poise, charm, style and grace, beautiful brunette Barbara Rush was born in Denver, Colorado in 1927 and enrolled at the University of California before working with the University Players and taking acting classes at the Pasadena Playhouse. It didn't take long for talent scouts to spot her and...
“ To all those media conspiracy theorists out there, her daughter works at Fox News. ” - quartertwain
Onslow Stevens
Actor, Them!
Son of character actor Houseley Stevenson, brother of designer Edward Stevenson and actor Houseley Stevenson Jr., Onslow Stevens was highly active from mid-1920s at the Pasadena Community Playhouse, where his entire family worked frequently as performers, directors and teachers. he scored a major success on Broadway in "Stage Door" in 1936...
“ Entire family worked at playhouse ” - quartertwain
Sally Struthers
Cute as a button and with a petite, porcelain prettiness and vulnerability that endeared her to the American public, Sally Struthers nabbed a series role in the early 1970s and became a solid part of TV history as a member of a dysfunctional family quartet in the milestone sitcom, All in the Family. She was born Sally Ann Struthers on July 28...
Randolph Scott
Handsome leading man who developed into one of Hollywood's greatest and most popular western stars. Born to George and Lucy Crane Scott during a visit to Virginia, Scott was raised in Charlotte, North Carolina in a wealthy family. He attended Georgia Institute of Technology but, after being injured playing football...
“ Attended the playhouse on the advice on Cecile B. DeMille ” - quartertwain
“ Honored by playhouse with a lifetime achievement award ” - quartertwain
Harry Dean Stanton
Actor, Alien
Prolific character actor Harry Dean Stanton's drooping, weather-beaten appearance and superb acting talent have been his ticket to appearing in over 100 films, and 50 TV episodes. Stanton was born in West Irvine, Kentucky, to Ersel (Moberly), a cook, and Sheridan Harry Stanton, a barber and tobacco farmer...
“ Studied at playhouse ” - quartertwain
Gloria Stuart
Actress, Titanic
Gloria Stuart was born on a dining room table on 4th Street in Santa Monica, California on July 4, 1910. Her early roles as a performing artist were in plays she produced in her home as a young girl. She was the star of her senior class play at Santa Monica High School in 1927. Attending the University of California...
“ Jumped from the playhouse to Universal Studious in 1932. Played The Invisible Man's girlfriend in 1933. ” - quartertwain
Robert Taylor
Born Spangler Arlington Brugh, Robert Taylor began displaying a diversity of talents in his youth on the plains of Nebraska. At Beatrice High School, he was a standout track athlete, but also showed a talent for using his voice, winning several oratory awards. He was a musician and played the cello in the school orchestra...
George Tobias
Actor, Bewitched
Perhaps best remembered for his TV role in the hit series Bewitched as the Abner Kravitz who had to put up with his wife's ranting about what was going on at the neighbors. George Tobias was also a well loved character actor who was mostly cast as the amiable and lovable friend of the lead character...
“ Abner Kravitz from Bewitched ” - quartertwain
“ Attended playhouse ” - quartertwain
“ From the pilot episode of Star Trek ” - quartertwain
Jo Anne Worley
This tall (with piled-on jet-black hair), attractive, tunnel-mouthed comedienne is a one-of-a-kind commodity and certainly no shrinking violet when it comes to entertaining. Unapologetically, she adores the center stage...and vice versa -- the stage loves her. Like several of her Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In cohorts...
“ Studied at the playhouse ” - quartertwain
Gig Young
Affable, immensely likable American actor, usually in second leads. A native of Minnesota, his parents John and Emma Barr raised him in Washington, DC. He developed a passion for the theatre while appearing in high school plays. After some amateur experience, he applied for and received a scholarship to the acclaimed Pasadena Community Playhouse...
“ Studied at the playhouse ” - quartertwain
Robert Young
Quiet, soft-spoken Robert grew up in California and had some stage experience with the Pasadena Playhouse before entering films in 1931. His movie career consisted of playing characters who were charming, good-looking--and bland. In fact, his screen image was such that he usually never got the girl...
“ Studied at the playhouse ” - quartertwain
Robert Vaughn
Robert Francis Vaughn was born on November 22, 1932 at Charity Hospital in New York City. The son of show-business parents, his father, Walter, was a radio actor and his mother, Marcella, was a stage actress. Robert came to the public's attention first with his Oscar-nominated role in The Young Philadelphians...
“ Made several stage appearances later in his career ” - quartertwain