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Jeffrey Hunter Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (24) | Personal Quotes (1) | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 25 November 1926New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Date of Death 27 May 1969Los Angeles, California, USA  (stroke)
Birth NameHenry Herman McKinnies Jr.
Nickname Hank McKinnies
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Jeffrey Hunter (born in Louisiana as Henry Herman McKinnies Jr.) was an only child. His parents met at the University of Arkansas, and when he was almost four his family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In his teens he acted in productions of the North Shore Children's Theater, and from 1942 to 1944 performed in summer stock with the local Port Players, along with Eileen Heckart, Charlotte Rae and Morton DaCosta, and was a radio actor at WTMJ, getting his first professional paycheck in 1945 for the wartime series "Those Who Serve". After graduation from Whitefish Bay High School, where he was co-captain of the football team, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and underwent training at Great Lakes Naval Station, Illinois, in 1945-1946. On the eve of his transfer to duty in Japan, however, he took ill and received a medical discharge from the service. He attended Northwestern University in Illinois and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1949, where he acquired more stage experience in Sheridan's "The Rivals" and Ruth Gordon's "Years Ago". He also did summer stock with Northwestern students at Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, in 1948, worked on two Northwestern Radio Playshop broadcasts, was president of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, and was active in the campus film society with David Bradley, later acting in Bradley's production of Julius Caesar (1950) in 1949. Hunter went to graduate school at the University of Califiornia, Los Angeles, where he studied radio and drama. He was in the cast of a UCLA production of "All My Sons" in May 1950, and on opening night talent scouts for Paramount and 20th Century-Fox in the audience zeroed in on the tall, blue-eyed and impossibly good-looking Hunter. He made a screen test with Ed Begley in a scene from "All My Sons" at Paramount (where he met Barbara Rush, his future wife), but after an executive shake-up at that studio derailed his hiring, he was signed by 20th Century-Fox (where he remained under contract to 1959) and almost immediately sent on location in New York for Fourteen Hours (1951), all before the month was over. Hunter was kept fairly busy in pictures, working his way from featured roles to starring roles to first billing within two years in Sailor of the King (1953). His big break came with The Searchers (1956), where he played the young cowboy who accompanies John Wayne on his search for a child kidnapped by Comanches. Hunter got excellent reviews for his performance in this film and justifiably so, as he held his own well with the veteran Wayne. Starring roles in two more John Ford movies followed, and in 1960 Hunter had one of his best roles in Hell to Eternity (1960), the true story of World War II hero Guy Gabaldon. That same year Hunter landed the role for which he is probably best known (although it's far from his best work) when he played the Son of God in King of Kings (1961), which, due to Hunter's still youthful looks, was dubbed by some Hollywood wags "I Was a Teenage Jesus," although he was 33 when he was cast. After the cancellation of his television western series Temple Houston (1963) in 1964 and his decision not to continue in the lead role of the new series Star Trek (1966) in 1965, his career took a downturn, and Hunter eventually wound up in Europe working on cheap westerns, at the time a sure sign of a career in trouble. In 1969 Hunter suffered a stroke (after just recovering from an earlier stroke), took a bad fall and underwent emergency surgery, but died from complications of both the fall and the surgery.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

He made his Hollywood debut in Fourteen Hours (1950). Hunter and fellow actor Dale Robertson were partners in an organization called World Wide Adventures, Inc. The company specialized in documentary travel such as The Living Swamp filmed in Georgia. He died in 1969 after brain surgery following a stroke and accidental fall.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: www.mikeandvicki.com

Spouse (3)

Emily McLaughlin (4 February 1969 - 27 May 1969) (his death)
Joan Bartlett (7 July 1957 - 28 February 1967) (divorced) (2 children)
Barbara Rush (1 December 1950 - 29 March 1955) (divorced) (1 son)

Trivia (24)

He desperately lobbied to be cast as Mike Brady for the situation comedy The Brady Bunch (1969). Producer Sherwood Schwartz would not consider him, as he thought Hunter was "too good-looking to be an architect". Hunter died just months before the series premiered in 1969.
Wife Joan Bartlett was a former model. Two sons, Todd and Scott. Hunter adopted her son, Steele Hunter, from a previous marriage.
Cast as Christopher Pike, captain of the USS Enterprise, in the original Star Trek (1966) pilot in 1964. However, when an undecided NBC requested a second pilot in early 1965, Hunter declined, having decided to concentrate on his movie career, instead. Producer Gene Roddenberry, after hearing the news, wrote to Hunter, "I am told you have decided not to go ahead with Star Trek". This has to be your own decision, of course, and I must respect it", and then asked Hunter if he would come back for "one day or two of shooting an additional action opening which can result in a fast, tightly cut, exciting film release". But Hunter, who had a six-month exclusive contract for the series lead, also declined that request. Footage from the first pilot was later incorporated into a two-part episode titled "The Menagerie" in Star Trek's first season. (Roddenberry later tried to give the impression that it was he who decided not to rehire Hunter for the second pilot. But as executive producer Herbert F. Solow pointed out, major casting decisions for the series were made by Desilu and NBC executives, not the producer). It wasn't until 1988 that it was screened intact as a filler episode entitled "The Cage" on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) due to a writer's strike.
Had starred in the unsold, unshown NBC series pilot "Journey Into Fear" in 1966. Based on the same Eric Ambler novel as the 1942 movie with Orson Welles.
While playing Jesus in King of Kings (1961), his armpits were shaved for the crucifixion scenes
While in Spain to film the Chicago Mafia story ¡Viva América! (1969), Hunter was injured in an on-set explosion, suffering facial lacerations from broken glass and powder burns. Later an old friend, a former British commando, accidentally hit him on the chin with a karate chop when Hunter, who knew judo, failed to defend himself in time, banging the back of his head against a door. Then, while on the plane with his wife returning to the United States, Hunter's right arm suddenly became semi-paralyzed and he lost the power of speech, two signs of a stroke. He was taken directly off the plane upon landing, to a hospital in Los Angeles. He recovered and was released after a couple of weeks. Shortly after signing to co-star with Vince Edwards in The Desperados (1969), Hunter suffered another cerebral hemorrhage while on a short flight of steps in his living room, and collapsed, injuring his head in the fall. It was not known how long he had been unconscious when he was finally found. He died, without regaining consciousness, the following day after surgery to repair the skull fracture, at age 42.
Son with Barbara Rush, Christopher (born 29 August 1952).
(June 1, 1950) 20th Century-Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck signed him to a contract and changed his name to Jeffrey Hunter.
(August 26, 1949) Attended and graduated from Northwestern University. He majored in speech and radio and minored in psychology and English.
Was working toward his Master's degree in radio at UCLA when he was discovered.
Although in studio publicity Hunter claimed to be a descendant of Zachary Taylor, 12th President of the United States, he was not a direct descendant, although he may have been a collateral descendant, through his father's maternal grandmother, from the Taylors of Virginia.
Following in the footsteps of fellow heartthrob turned hit crooner Tab Hunter, he recorded a never-released album of love songs for Parade Records in 1957, some of which he wrote, including "Dusty", dedicated to his new wife.
Served in the United States Navy, under the service number 960 39 80, from May 28, 1945 to May 25, 1946. Received a Medical Discharge as a Seaman First Class and was awarded the World War II Victory Medal.
Under contract to Warner Bros. Pictures, 1963-1965.
Proposed marriage to Mai Tai Sing (1966), Sally Ann Howes (1967), ex-wife Joan Bartlett (1968), and Emily McLaughlin (1969).
Father, with Joan Bartlett, of sons Todd Hunter and Scott Hunter.
In a radio interview in Palm Springs on November 7, 2005, Laurel Goodwin, his co-star in the Star Trek (1966) pilot, revealed his wife at the time, Joan Bartlett, demanded he get more money to continue performing in the lead role when the series was picked up as a regular series. After long negotiations, the producers, feeling great pressure, decided to simply recast Hunter for a new actor and captain, James Tiberius Kirk, played by William Shatner. The crew was also recast to bring different ethnic backgrounds to the cast to show how they co-existed peacefully in the future.
While at Northwestern University, he studied under Alvina Krauss, who also taught such Hollywood luminaries as Charlton Heston, Tony Randall, Cloris Leachman, Claude Akins, Jerry Orbach, Ann-Margret and Warren Beatty. Many years after he graduated, Ms. Krauss stated that Hank McKinnies, as she knew him, was the most talented student she ever had.
He worked as a model for several Chicago commercial photographers while a student at Northwestern University.
Was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity while at Northwestern University.
He was the first friend actor Roger Moore made in Hollywood. In his autobiography, Moore says he named his son Geoffrey Moore in his honor.
During his marriage to Emily McLaughlin in 1969, he expressed an interest in appearing on her daytime soap opera, General Hospital (1963). The series' producer didn't believe him, but his interest was sincere.
Friends and business partners with William Hayes.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6918 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.

Personal Quotes (1)

I was told I had arrived when, during the shooting of The Searchers (1956), they gave me almost as much ammunition as they gave John Wayne.

Salary (1)

Temple Houston (1963) $5,000 /episode

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