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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 13 January 1912Atmore, Alabama, USA
Date of Death 24 May 1969St. George, Grenada
Birth NamePaul Smith

Mini Bio (1)

Paul Birch, born Paul Smith in Atmore, Alabama, died on Saturday, May 24, 1969, in St. George, Grenada. Stocky, barrel-chested, and gifted with a resonant baritone speaking voice, Birch was a veteran of 39 movies, 50 stage dramas and an untold number of television shows including the Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951). He entered motion pictures via small roles in several westerns in the late 40s and early 50s. In the middle 1950s he became part of the repertory company of Roger Corman, where he achieved star billing, but which he left following a physical confrontation with Corman during the filming of one of his (Birch's) best-remembered films, Not of This Earth (1957), which had to be completed with the use of a double. In the late 1950s he starred, along with William Campbell, in the syndicated series Cannonball (1958), a half-hour drama/adventure show about over-the-road truckers. He was the original "Marlboro Man" in TV commercials and played both Union Gen. U.S. Grant and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in several historical playlets. He started out as the first of the original members of the Pasadena Playhouse and his stage work included "The Caine Mutiny". He was often called upon to play Grant due to the striking resemblance (when bearded) he bore to the former General and President. He enjoyed playing the roles of Lee and Grant and once remarked, "There were times when I was switching those two roles so fast I could have surrendered to myself."

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dan A. Currie <dancurr@frontiernet.net>

Spouse (3)

Margaret E. Farish (1932 - ?) (divorced) (1 child)
Betsy Ross (? - ?) (widow)
? (? - 24 May 1969) (his death) (3 children)

Trivia (2)

Grandfather of Ned Luke, who along with brother Steve Luke own The Varsity Room Restaurant in Danville, Illinois where a third brother, "B J", is the Danville High School athletic director.
Grandson Matthew Luke is Head of Media Management for Al Jazeera America.

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