Edit
Victor Mature Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (5) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (20) | Personal Quotes (7) | Salary (8)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 29 January 1913Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Date of Death 4 August 1999Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA  (leukemia)
Birth NameVictor John Mature
Nicknames Beautiful Hunk of Man
The Hunk
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

American leading man. Born Victor John Mature (to knife sharpener Marcellus George Mature, born Marcello Gelindo Maturi in Pinzolo, Trentino, and a Swiss-American mother, Clara Ackley) in Louisville, Kentucky, Victor Mature worked as a teenager with his father as a salesman for butcher supplies. Hoping to become an actor, he studied at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. He auditioned for Gone with the Wind (1939) for the role ultimately played by his fellow Playhouse student, George Reeves. After achieving some acclaim in his first few films, he served in the Coast Guard in World War II. Mature became one of Hollywood's busiest and most popular actors after the war, though rarely was he given the critical respect he often deserved. His roles in John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946) and in Henry Hathaway's Kiss of Death (1947) were among his finest work, though he moved more and more frequently into more exotic roles in films like Samson and Delilah (1949) and The Egyptian (1954). Never an energetic actor nor one of great artistic pretensions, he nevertheless continued as a Hollywood stalwart both in programme and in more prominent films like The Robe (1953). More interested in golf than acting, his appearances diminished through the 1960s, but he made a stunning comeback of sorts in a hilarious romp as a very Victor Mature-like actor in Neil Simon's After the Fox (1966). Golf eventually took over his activities and, after a cameo as Samson's father in a TV remake of his own "Samson and Delilah" (Samson and Delilah (1984)), he retired for good. Rumors occasionally surfaced of another comeback, most notably in a never-realized remake of Red River (1948) with Sylvester Stallone, but none came to fruition. He died of cancer at his Rancho Santa Fe, California, home in 1999.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (5)

Loretta G. Sebena (22 February 1974 - 4 August 1999) (his death)
Adrienne Joy Urwick (27 September 1959 - 6 February 1969) (divorced)
Dorothy Stanford Berry (28 February 1948 - 8 November 1955) (divorced)
Martha Stephenson Kemp (17 June 1941 - 10 February 1943) (divorced)
Frances Charles (30 January 1938 - 1940) (annulled)

Trade Mark (2)

Before Charlton Heston, Victor Mature dominated the "biblical epic" genre, starring in Samson and Delilah (1949), The Robe (1953) , and Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)
Making use of his powerful physique, he became associated with "beefcake" scenes involving bondage and torture. In "Samson and Delilah" (1949) he was blinded and forced to turn a gristmill. In "The Robe" (1953) he suffered while stretched out on a torture-table inside a Roman dungeon. In "Zarak" (1957) he endured two separate floggings. In "Timbuktu" (1959) he found himself staked out, spreadeagle style, under a dangling tarantula.

Trivia (20)

Daughter, Victoria, born in 1975.
He was a petty officer in the Coast Guard during World War II. He served on the troop transport ship Admiral Mayo. His service carried him to the North Atlantic, including Normandy, the Mediterranean, Caribbean and many islands in the South Pacific. He was on Okinawa when the A-bomb was dropped on Japan.
Victor's father Marcello Gelindo Mature, a knife sharpener and cutler, was born in 1877 in the town of Pinzolo, in the Italian Tyrolean region of Trentino which was then under the rule of Austria-Hungary, and returned under Italian sovereignty in 1918 after WW I. His family emigrated to the US with his brothers in 1912, and settled in Louisville, Kentucky where he was born.
Applying for membership in the swank Los Angeles Country Club at the height of his fame, Mature was turned down and told that the golfing facility did not accept actors as members. His response: "I'm not an actor - and I've got 64 films to prove it!".
He attributed his success in Biblical spectacles to his ability to "make with the holy look."
Was color-blind.
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 389-390. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Attended the Kentucky Military Academy. One of his classmates was future fellow actor, Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo and Thurston Howell III in Gilligan's Island (1964)).
In Zarak (1956) he played perhaps the only title character in the movies to be flogged to death.
Although several sources suggest that Mature's family name was originally Maturi, United States and Austrian birth, immigration, census and other records, as well as Victor Mature himself, are quite clear that as of 1877, the family name was Mature.
In her autobiography, Esther Williams details a passionate affair she had with Mature during the filming of Million Dollar Mermaid (1952). According to Williams, her marriage was on the rocks, she needed love and Mature provided all she wanted.
He was a Republican.
Featured in "Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir" by Karen Burroughs Hannsberry (McFarland, 2003).
According to Mature, he had an ancestral mix of French, Swiss, German, Italian and Greek.
A false story has circulated that George Reeves auditioned for the role of Samson in Samson and Delilah (1949), but lost the role to Mature. Supposedly, he was given the role of "Wounded Messenger" at the recommendation of Mature, who was very loyal to his friends from his student days at the Pasadena Community Playhouse. The fact is that Reeves was never under consideration for the role of Samson. However, many of the smaller roles in the film were played by Mature's friends from Pasadena.
Was approached for the role of Sylvester Stallone's father in Oscar (1991), which eventually went to Kirk Douglas.
Was originally going to star with Robert Wagner and Debra Paget in The Proud Ones (1956).
Is buried in St. Michael Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.
Played "The Big Victor" in the Monkees' movie Head (1968); a poke at RCA Victor, who distributed Monkees records.
Despite his physique and his tough guy persona, Mature was a man of many fears and phobias. Not only did he refuse to wrestle a tame movie lion for Samson and Delilah (1949) but during the jawbone battle, the wind machine kicked up some particularly violent gusts, and the Mature fled the sound stage for his dressing room, hiding in terror. According to Cecil B. DeMille biographer Charles Higham, the director publicly humiliated him using his megaphone to ensure that cast and crew all heard him.

Personal Quotes (7)

I'm no actor, and I've got 64 pictures to prove it.
If you're so concerned about fucking privacy, don't become a fucking actor!
Actually, I am a golfer. That is my real occupation. I never was an actor. Ask anybody, particularly the critics.
[When asked if it bothered him to play Samson's father in a TV-movie remake (Samson and Delilah (1984)) of his early film, 35 years earlier, in 1949 (Samson and Delilah (1949)) in which he played Samson, he answered] If the money's right, I'd play his mother!
[about the movie Head (1968)] I don't understand it. All I know is it makes me laugh.
[on Samson and Delilah (1949)] Samson wasn't exactly bad for me. How can you go wrong in a picture that is going to pull in 17 million and maybe as high as 20? Why, I'm getting fan mail from places all over the world that I've never heard of before.
I'm an emotional actor. When I'm doing a scene, I really believe it. I live the part as long as I'm in the scene.

Salary (8)

The Housekeeper's Daughter (1939) $100 /week
One Million B.C. (1940) $250 /week
The Shanghai Gesture (1941) $450 /week
Song of the Islands (1942) $1,250 /week
My Gal Sal (1942) $1,250 /week
Three Little Girls in Blue (1946) $3,000 /week
Samson and Delilah (1949) $50,000
China Doll (1958) $125,000

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page