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Robert Cummings Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (5) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (40) | Personal Quotes (22)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 9 June 1910Joplin, Missouri, USA
Date of Death 2 December 1990Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (kidney failure)
Birth NameCharles Clarence Robert Orville Cummings
Nickname Bob
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Effective light comedian of '30s and '40s films and '50s and '60s TV series, Robert Cummings was renowned for his eternally youthful looks (which he attributed to a strict vitamin and health-food diet). He was educated at Carnegie Tech and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Deciding that Broadway producers would be more interested in an upper-crust Englishman than a kid from Joplin, Missouri, Cummings passed himself off as Blade Stanhope Conway, British actor. The ploy was successful. Cummings decided that if it worked on Broadway, it would work in Hollywood, so he journeyed west and assumed the identity of a rich Texan named Bruce Hutchens. The plan worked once more, and he began securing small parts in films. He soon reverted to his real name and became a popular leading man in light comedies, usually playing well-meaning, pleasant but somewhat bumbling young men. He achieved much more success, however, in his own television series in the '50s, The Bob Cummings Show (1955) and My Living Doll (1964).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Spouse (5)

Martha "Jane" Burzynski (1989 - 2 December 1990) (his death)
Regina Fong (27 March 1971 - 1987) (divorced) (2 children)
Mary Elliott (3 March 1945 - 15 January 1970) (divorced) (5 children)
Vivi Janiss (27 February 1935 - 1943) (divorced)
Emma Myers (1931 - 1933) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

A couple of his sitcoms focused on his real-life abilities in World War II

Trivia (40)

In dramatic films he was billed in the credits as Robert Cummings; in lighter fare, often as Bob Cummings.
Graduated from Joplin High School
Was a US Army Air Force pilot during World War II. He was stationed for a while at Oxnard, California.
Interred at Forest Lawn (Glendale), Glendale, California, USA, in the Great Mausoleum, Columbarium of Sanctity.
Godson of Orville Wright, an old family friend, who also taught him to fly. He piloted his own plane most of his life.
Not only was he a health food fanatic, but he often carried a small suitcase with him full of vitamin pills.
According to an article in "Flying Magazine", when the government began licensing flight instructors, he received flight instructor certificate #1--the first instructor to receive a license.
Chosen by producer John Wayne as his co-star in The High and the Mighty (1954), though director William A. Wellman replaced him with Robert Stack.
Was accused by his estranged wife, Mary Elliott, of using the drug methedrine or "speed" and carrying on an adulterous affair with his former secretary, and future wife, Regina Fong [29 October 1969].
Was also suffering from Parkinson's Disease at the time of his death.
His The Bob Cummings Show (1955) co-star, Dwayne Hickman, was a huge fan of Cummings' movies as a child in the 1940s.
His second series The Bob Cummings Show (1961) was canceled because it was too expensive.
His father wanted to name him Robert Orville Cummings, after his godfather, Orville Wright. His mother was against it. She wanted him to be named Charles Clarence Cummings Jr., after his father. They finally agreed on Charles Clarence Robert Orville Cummings.
He was an Air Force officer while he was a senior in high school.
His father, Dr. Charles Clarence Cummings Sr., was a surgeon. Hr was part of the original staff of St. John's Hospital in Joplin, Missouri. He was the founder of the Jasper County Tuberculosis Hospital in Webb City, Missouri. His mother, Ruth Annabelle Kraft, was an ordained minister of the Science of Mind.
Best remembered by the public for his starring role as photographer Bob Collins on The Bob Cummings Show (1955).
Was good friends with Ann B. Davis and Dwayne Hickman, during and after The Bob Cummings Show (1955).
Moved to Los Angeles in 1935, and broke into films by faking a Southern drawl and presenting himself as Brice Hutchens, a Texan.
On Broadway, he obtained roles by faking a British accent and introducing himself as Blade Stanhope Conway, an Englishman.
On The Bob Cummings Show (1955), he played a bachelor / studio photographer who photographed and dated the world's most beautiful models. In real life, he had been married and divorced several times.
Had his 80th birthday party just six months before his death.
Just before his death, he joined Art Linkletter and former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, at the 35th anniversary celebration of Disneyland, all reprising their appearances at the grand opening of the amusement park.
He had 7 hobbies: flying, partying, golfing, photography, jogging, swimming and spending time with his family.
Studied briefly at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, but his love of flying caused him to transfer to the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied aeronautical engineering for a year before being forced to drop out for financial reasons, his family having lost heavily in the 1929 stock market crash.
Met his second wife, Vivi Janiss, in the Broadway play "The Ziegfeld Follies".
Had appeared on a successful radio serial, "Those We Love", from 1938 to 1945, opposite Richard Cromwell, Francis X. Bushman and Nan Grey.
Was among the first guests at Disneyland's grand opening in 1955.
In 1942 he joined the United States Army Air Force and was made a flight instructor. He had worked in that capacity for many years prior to enlisting.
Began his contract career for Paramount in 1935.
His The Bob Cummings Show (1955) co-star, Dwayne Hickman attended a parade and benefit show with Bob in Cummings' hometown of Joplin, Missouri.
Beginning in 1946, he served as executive producer of United World Productions.
Owned a hobby hardware store in Beverly Hills, California.
Son Tony Cummings is a former soap actor. He was best known for playing Rick Halloway on Another World (1964) in 1981.
Was a lifelong staunch conservative Republican and anti-communist.
Was a Boy Scout.
His second ex-wife, Vivi Janiss, died in 1988.
After guest-starring on The Love Boat (1977), he retired from acting at age 69.
Acting mentor and friend of Dwayne Hickman.
His mother married his father 12 days after his birth.

Personal Quotes (22)

[on his lifelong devotion to healthy eating] I'd love to tell all those critics how well I feel today because of my diet. But they're all dead.
The girls have it easy, everything they wear in pictures is suppled by the studio- their dress, stockings, shoes, underwear, jewelry, hair, even their falsies. They could arrive at the studio naked, if they cared to. But the actor has to pay for everything himself. He even has to bring his own toupee, if he wears one.
I had to have a sharp wardrobe and a fancy car and foot the bill at the night clubs. And my date, who was earning 10 times as much as I was, would brag about how she borrowed her dress and furs from the studio.
[complaining that none of the actor's wardrobe--theoretically a part of the tools of his job--is tax-deductible] Every year I used to take my clothes and still photos from my pictures to the Post Office building in Hollywood. I would explain to the income tax people how I used which suit in which picture. This year, they decided clothes weren't deductible, even though I have to dress well in my job.
[In 1949] I figure producers are paying me a lot of money and I ought to dress well.
[on his involvement in several business enterprises that he described as "practically catastrophic"] . . . an actor, when he's working, ceases to be a part of the world. He's on a sound stage from early morning [until] night. He loses track of what goes on outside. Elaborate practical matters, like having his car filled with gas, confuse him. Nothing exists but his own tight little corner. That's when he's working, I say. Of course, when he's not working, he's not an actor. He's a bum. So someone has to take care of the other part, and it has to be someone you can trust.
[Asked if he was upset by the cancellation of The Bob Cummings Show (1961)] No, we knew, by about the 15th show, that we had too much, that it was too expensive to do a full adventure show in a half-hour, and with airplanes.
[In 1962, about doing a play] The main thing is to stay active, even if you are very bad. After all, an actor is a commodity. The things that are really important for him are his health--he has to be able to deliver the body; a knowledge of the law--there are so many loopholes in contracts; and last, I'm afraid, ability.
[In 1964, about Julie Newmar, who played a robot in his series My Living Doll (1964)] This is probably the most difficult role ever played by an actress. The character--if that's what you call it--she plays has no thoughts, no emotions, no desires, no ethics, no social conscience. It is very difficult because she cannot instigate anything and she cannot feel anything. She must divorce herself completely from her ego, which is the hardest thing in the world to do.
[about his birth] Dad delivered me and mother christened me an hour later, but dad [named] me after a cousin of mine, Orville Wright . . . who was my godfather. Dad has cured him of diverticulitis, ptomaine and barber's itch in 1909, when my mother was carrying me. Must be why I like to fly. I'll have been flying 44 years next March.
[In 1970] I was born during the first month birth certificates were issued in Missouri and my dad wrote "Robert Orville Cummings" on the name line because that's what he'd decided to name me. Then mother looked at the birth certificate afterwards and said, "No, no, we talked about that, but we're going to name him after his father, Charles Clarence Cummings Jr.". So she took a pencil and scratched through the "Robert Orville" and added "Charles Clarence". She didn't leave any room for the surgical nurse so Sister Mary Alfonsas had to sign her name right under it . . . she was a food-nut nun my dad got started on health food and is over 100 years old today.
[on the breakup of his first marriage] I was accused of being a vitamin addict, of eating 40 or 50 tablets a day. I said, "That's a dastardly lie, I take 140!".
[In 1972] It was my dad's theory that nature usually knows best. It isn't so much what you eat as what you don't get when you eat.
You can accomplish anything you want, if you act as if it were already accomplished. Know what you want, where you are going. But don't tell anyone what you're constructing.
[on people who don't recognize him when they pass him on the street] I've signed everything anybody ever handed to me--wet paper napkins, beach balls . . . When you're the star of a show, you're on the go all day at TV programs, interviews, public appearances. We didn't get in from Orlando until 4 a.m. Thursday. The driver got lost and we spent two hours driving around. Then the storm and rain woke us up at 2 p.m. I haven't had time to eat breakfast yet and the show stars in a few hours.
Unwind! Unwind from that? If the play closed tomorrow, it wouldn't ruin Bob Cummings. These people who claim they have to unwind by going somewhere and having a few drinks and losing a lot of sleep are crazy. It's a job. The curtain closes and you walk off the stage.
[When asked if he didn't want to go back to Hollywood] No, I wouldn't go back to California. I'm too old for that. Besides, the air there would kill me.
[In 1978] I've been in this business 50 years and I'm a nervous wreck! I'm getting too old for all this excitement. I've already lost eight pounds from running around the stage. I'll just have to pray to St. Jude and I'm not even Catholic.
It's a hard life. Much harder than it looks. It can get to be lonely and frustrating. People have this idea of what luxury a star must have. Some towns are terrible.
I always take my family with me. I'd die without them!
[speaking of his wife "Gee-Gee"] I just love my wife! She's brilliant! Half my age and twice as smart.
If I have a problem I get expert counsel,then ask the opinion of a good psychic.

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