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Brett Halsey Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (4) | Trivia (6)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 20 June 1933Santa Ana, California, USA
Birth NameCharles Oliver Hand
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Internationally known actor Brett Halsey, one of Hollywood's busiest and handsomest actors of the mid-to-late 50s and early 60s, was born Charles Oliver Hand to a builder/contractor in Santa Ana, California on June 20, 1933. Interested in performing from childhood (he appeared in local community and church plays), the young man found a modest "in" when he was hired as a teenage page at CBS Television studios. A chance meeting with the legendary Jack Benny and wife Mary Livingstone who taped "The Jack Benny Show" at CBS led to his being accepted to study at Universal-International's training school that also included at the time future Universal stars Clint Eastwood and David Janssen. These intense studies eventually led to a contract offered by the studio.

Before deciding to pursue acting full time, the young teenager joined the Navy and enjoyed a brief stint as a deejay. Once signed with Universal, the studio decided to take advantage of Brett's esteemed ancestry (as the nephew of famed WWII Admiral William "Bull" Halsey) and changed the young nascent actor's stage name to the more marquee-friendly "Brett Halsey." He gained extensive experience apprenticing in a string of Universal bit parts, glimpsed in such standard filming as Walking My Baby Back Home (1953), The Man from the Alamo (1953), The Black Shield of Falworth (1954), Ma and Pa Kettle at Home (1954) (as one of the young Kettle brood), Revenge of the Creature (1955) (as a victim) and _The Girl He Left Behind (1956). Eventually Brett's camera-worthy dark-haired good looks, penetrating blue eyes and earnest 'matinee idol' demeanor found their way front-and-center on TV drama ("Brave Eagle," "Mackenzie's Raiders," "Gunsmoke," "Perry Mason," "Highway Patrol," Harbor Command" and "Sea Hunt").

In the late 1950s, Brett increased his cinematic visibility with the growing interest of lowbudget "juvenile delinquent" films. Several of Brett's features, such as _Hot Rod Rumble (1957) with 'Leigh Snowden', Roger Corman's cult classic The Cry Baby Killer (1958) with Jack Nicholson, High School Hellcats (1958) and _Speed Crazy (1959), the last two co-starring Yvonne Lime, have since attained camp and/or cult status. He ended that series of filming with The Girl in Lovers Lane (1960) with Joyce Meadows.

Keeping in step with the then-popular trend of showcasing cool, hunky "beefcake" talent in TV adventure series with interesting or exotic locales, such as when Edd Byrnes combed his way to teen idol status on "77 Sunset Strip," Van Williams and Troy Donahue checked into "Surfside Six" and Robert Conrad spruced up "Hawaiian Eye," Brett fell into a co-starring role with Barry Coe, Gary Lockwood and former child star Gigi Perreau in the one-season adventure series Follow the Sun (1961), as a free-lance magazine writer looking for action in Honolulu. For his work, he earned a Golden Globe Award for "New Star of the Year".

Following co-star/featured work in the war films To Hell and Back (1955), The Last Blitzkrieg (1958)_ and Jet Over the Atlantic (1959), the sci-fi thrillers Return of the Fly (1959) (with Vincent Price) and The Atomic Submarine (1959), the large-scale ensemble sudsers The Best of Everything (1959) and Return to Peyton Place (1961)_, the crime drama Desire in the Dust (1960) and the horror opus Twice-Told Tales (1963), the 28-year-old Brett decided to follow a number of other young vital and promising American actors who wished to take advantage of career opportunities opening up overseas in Italy. What was originally a one-time acting job in Italy led to a decade-long stay in films. Often billed as "Montgomery Ford," Brett starred as several sword-and-sandal type heroes in including the spectacles The Seventh Sword (1962) [The Seventh Sword], Il magnifico avventuriero (1963) [The Magnificent Adventurer] and The Avenger of Venice (1964) [The Avenger of Venice]. He also settled comfortably into the fashionable international spy, "spaghetti" western and giallo genres with a slew of work including Spy in Your Eye (1965) [Spy in Your Eye], Espionage in Lisbon (1965) [Espionage in Lisbon], L'heure de la vérité (1965) [The Hour of Truth], Uccidete Johnny Ringo (1966) [Johnny Ringo], Congress of Love (1966) [Congress of Love], Web of Violence (1966) [Web of Violence], Bang Bang (1967), Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die! (1968) [Today We Kill...Tomorrow We Die], Tutto sul rosso (1968) [All on the Red], Wrath of God (1968) [Wrath of God], Twenty Thousand Dollars for Seven (1969) [Twenty Thousand Dollars for Seven], Roy Colt and Winchester Jack (1970) and Four Times that Night (1971) [Four Times That Night].

In the early 1970s, Brett returned to the United States and planted himself squarely into TV work again, particularly in daytime drama. He appeared with regularity on General Hospital (1963), Search for Tomorrow (1951), Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1967), and, his last, a two-year stint (1980-82) on The Young and the Restless (1973). Halsey continued sporadically in films as well, such as the comedy Where Does It Hurt? (1972) starring Peter Sellers, Ratboy (1986), The Godfather: Part III (1990) and Beyond Justice (1992), while also finding steady work on the small screen - "Alias Smith and Jones," "Toma," "The Love Boat," "The Bionic Woman," "Charlie's Angels," "Fantasy Island," "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," "Columbo," "Matt Houston" and "Cagney & Lacey".

At age 80+, the stalwart character actor continues to be seen from time to time with recent roles in the films Hierarchy (2009), The Scarlet Worm (2011), Club Utopia (2013) (in which he held a leading role), and Risk Factor (2015). Also known at one time as a film acting teacher, Halsey also writes novels ("The Magnificent Strangers") and screenplays while making occasional guest appearances at film festivals. One biography: "Brett Halsey: Art or Instinct in the Movies," which chronicles the actor's prolific career, was published in 2008. At various times, he has lived out of the country in Costa Rica, Canada and Italy.

Brett is the father of five children. In 1954, he married imported Universal starlet Renate Hoy, an actress who won the "Miss Germany" beauty contest that same year. Together they had two children, the late Charles Oliver Hand, Jr. (a.k.a. punk rock performer "Rock Halsey" and/or "Rock Bottom") and Tracy Leigh. The couple divorced five years later. His second marriage (1960-1962) to exotic James Bond ("Thunderball") vixen Luciana Paluzzi, an Italian beauty, produced son Christian, who is a producer ("American Psycho"). Halsey and Paluzzi co-starred in Return to Peyton Place (1961) during their brief union. A third union (1964-1976) to German actress Heidi Brühl, best known here for her US role in the 1975 Clint Eastwood film "The Eiger Sanction," produced two more children: Clayton, a TV video editor ("Big Brother"), and Nicole. Halsey is presently wed to Victoria Korda, granddaughter of British filmmaker Alexander Korda.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Brett began his professional film acting career at Universal Studios as the teenage son of "Ma and Pa Kettle".

He spent two years in the Universal Studios New Talent Program, where in addition to a regular study program, he played supporting roles in thirteen films, including To Hell and Back (1955) with Audie Murphy, All I Desire (1953) and Revenge of the Creature (1955).

Later, he graduated into becoming one of Hollywood's handsome "Teenage Rebels", starring in films like, High School Hellcats (1958), Hot Rod Rumble (1957), The Cry Baby Killer (1958), Speed Crazy (1959), etc.

At about this time, he began some serious acting in "live" television, appearing on Playhouse 90, Studio One, Westinghouse Theatre and Matinee Theatre. He also began working in TV shows like: The Life of Riley (1949), Sea Hunt (1958), Highway Patrol (1955), Gunsmoke (1955), along with continuing roles in Mackenzie's Raiders (1958) and Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers (1956).

As his film career progressed, his roles widened to include westerns like Four Fast Guns (1960) - war films like Submarine Seahawk (1958) - adventure like Smoke Jumpers (1958)

  • science fiction films like


The Atomic Submarine (1959)
  • and dramas such as the classic


I Want to Live! (1958) with Susan Hayward.

At 20th Century Fox, Brett had a major career break-through with the title role in Return of the Fly (1959). Continuing at Fox, he starred in Blood and Steel (1959), Desire in the Dust (1960), The Best of Everything (1959), Return to Peyton Place (1961) and in the ABC-TV/20th Century Fox series, Follow the Sun (1961).

When the series ended, Brett went to Italy to star in The Seventh Sword (1962) (aka "Seven Swords for the King"). He continued in swashbuckling films like Il magnifico avventuriero (1963) (aka "The Magnificent Adventurer"), The Avenger of Venice (1964) (aka "The Avenger of Venice") and The Bridge of Sighs (1960). He also did his share of "Spaghetti Westerns" like: Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die! (1968) (aka "Today We Kill"), Tomorrow We Diet! (1951), Uccidete Johnny Ringo (1966) (aka "Kill Johnny Ringo", Roy Colt and Winchester Jack (1970), Kidnapping (1973), etc.

The success of "James Bond" films in the 60s inspired a series of films in Europe that he starred in like Spy in Your Eye (1965) (aka "Spy in Your Eye", Espionage in Lisbon (1965) (aka "Intrigue in Lisbon", Web of Violence (1966) (aka "Web of Violence", Murder by Music (1969) (aka "Trumpets of the Apocalypse") and Bang Bang (1967). Brett received a Best Actor nomination in France for L'heure de la vérité (1965) (aka "The Hour of Truth"). In Spain, he appeared in Un día después de agosto (1968) (aka "A Day After August"). In Italy, he appeared in Anyone Can Play (1968) (aka "Ladies, Ladies") and The Magnificent Cuckold (1964) (aka "The Magnificent Cuckold") and, in Germany, Congress of Love (1966) (aka "Lovers and Kings") and Jack und Jenny (1963).

After 10 years abroad, Brett accepted a role in the soap opera, Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1967). He later guest-starred in episodes of Columbo (1971), Charlie's Angels (1976), Alias Smith and Jones (1971), The Bionic Woman (1976), Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979), The Love Boat (1977), Fantasy Island (1977), The Fall Guy (1981), Matt Houston (1982), The Dukes of Hazzard (1979), The New Mike Hammer (1984) and others. He returned to daytime TV and spent a year in the soap Search for Tomorrow (1951).

About this time, he appeared in the feature film Where Does It Hurt? (1972) with Peter Sellers. Not long after, he appeared in the soap opera General Hospital (1963) and later in The Young and the Restless (1973).

He returned to Europe and appeared in films like The Commander (1988), Cop Game (1988), Bet the Red (1980), Esmeralda Bay (1989), etc. Some of his romantic films include Three Versions of Love (1990), The Woman Who Loved Too Much (1990) and Il miele del diavolo (1986) (aka "The Devil's Honey"). And the Italian TV films include Quattro storie di donne: Rose (1989) and Mystery (1990).

In Italy, Brett starred in a series of "Spaghetti Horror Films" like When Alice Broke the Looking Glass (1988), Demonia (1990), The Black Cat (1990), Levana (1990) and Message from Death (1990).

He played Diane Keaton's husband in The Godfather: Part III (1990). After "Godfather", he went to Morocco to costar with Rutger Hauer, Omar Sharif, Elliott Gould and Carol Alt in the major Italo/American, three-part mini-series, The Prince and the Desert (1990).

In Canada, he starred in Search for Diana (1992), and played in the TV films, Back Stab (1990), To Catch a Killer (1992), Gregory K (1993), Goldengirl (1979) and Kissinger and Nixon (1995). He has appeared in the TV productions: E.N.G. (1989), Top Cops (1990), Street Legal (1987), Sweating Bullets (1991), Counterstrike (1990), Dog House (1990), Forever Knight (1992), Secret Service (1992), Matrix (1993), Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1993), The Associates (2001). Besides his acting work, Brett spent two years at Warner Bros. Television, writing and developing future projects - and working in association with the production staff of The Dukes of Hazzard (2005). During this time, he also began teaching at Warner Bros. and at his own actor's workshop at the Chamber Theater in Studio City, California.

He spent another year at Paramount Pictures as Vice President of Development, for the Jay Bernstein Company. (Jay Bernstein was the personal manager for Suzanne Somers and Farrah Fawcett, early in their careers).

Brett worked in London for the Sun Entertainment Group, writing and preparing the motion picture, Silverworld (1990).

He wrote and directed the documentary TV series, A Country on the March (2000), filmed in Costa Rica for Classic Films Int.

His best-selling novel, "The Magnificent Stranters", received the West Coast Review of Books, 1979 Silver Medal Award for "Best Contemporary Novel of the Year". His subsequent novel, "Yesterday's Children", was published in 1990. Brett wrote a motion picture screenplay, Safari (1991), for P.I.T. and R.A.I./Italia. It was directed by Roger Vadim and released in Europe in the Summer of 1990. From 1996 until 2004, Brett was working as a professor of Film Studies at the University of Costa Rica's School of Dramatic Arts. While in Costa Rica, he appeared in various TV series and feature films. In 2002, he taught at the International School of Film & Television, in Cuba. Brett is working on a new historical romantic novel. He continues to teach and work as an actor.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: CS

Spouse (4)

Heidi Brühl (28 December 1964 - 1976) (divorced) (2 children)
Luciana Paluzzi (24 January 1960 - 19 March 1962) (divorced) (1 child)
Renate Hoy (13 January 1954 - 23 January 1959) (divorced) (2 children)
Victoria Korda (? - present)

Trivia (6)

Nephew of Adm. William F. Halsey, aka "Bull" Halsey, commander of the Pacific Allied naval forces during WWII.
In July 2007, he was a guest at the Western Film Fair in Charlotte, North Carolina along with Betty Lynn, Jacqueline Scott, Lynn Borden, Lana Wood, Joyce Meadows, Rick Lenz and Robert Dix.
Served in the US Navy and was a disc jockey prior to pursuing an acting career.
Interviewed in Tom Weaver's book, "Eye on Science Fiction" (McFarland & Co., 2003).
Has son Christian Halsey Solomon (b. 1961, producer) with actress Luciana Paluzzi.

Has son Clayton Halsey (b. 1967, editor and actor) and daughter Nicole Brühl (b. 1970) with actress Heidi Brühl.
"Rock" Halsey, son of Brett Halsey with Renate Hoy, was murdered while serving time in the U.S. Penitentiary (Terre Haute, IN). Halsey had served about half his 24-year sentence out of California on convictions related to methamphetamine trafficking and weapons.

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