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Warren Hull Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (4) | Trivia (5)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 17 January 1903Gasport, New York, USA
Date of Death 14 September 1974Waterbury, Connecticut, USA  (heart failure)
Birth NameJohn Warren Hull

Mini Bio (2)

He is the son of John Clarence & Laura H. (Shafer) Hull. He has two sisters, Laura Grace Hull; and Lina Southwick Hull.

He is also said to be the 23rd great grandson of both Henry II, King of England; and Robert de Vere (Robin Hood).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: David A. Blocher <dblocher1@verizon.net>

While ultimately proving to Hollywood that he was an able fit for playing both the tall, dark and handsome romantic co-star in light comedies and movie musicals for Warner Bros. and stalwart, spade-jawed hero of multi-chaptered serials for Republic Studio, singer/actor Warren Hull was given only a fleeting opportunity to make it or break it into to "A" category of pictures in the mid-30s. When he failed to capitalize on it, he still made good as a durable "B" player. His glossy good looks and, in particular, his resonant voice, which was his money-maker during his salad days, went on to carry him long after he left films -- as a radio singer/emcee and TV game show host.

Born John Warren Hull on January 17, 1903, in Gasport, New York, he was the eldest child of Quakers John C., a local manufacturing company president, and Laura (Schaffer) Hull, which included sisters Grace and Lina. Warren developed an early interest in music via his father's creative outlets as an instrumentalist, composer and lyricist. Following early schooling at Oakland School, he later attended Lockport High (in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area) where he sang and acted in school productions and played the trumpet and saxophone.

Graduating in 1922, he broke into the entertainment industry for a brief spell as a local radio singer, but then decided to further his education at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, as a voice student. He relocated to New York City where the young hopeful found bit roles as a chorus singer, sometimes touring with musical shows. By the late 20s, he found an earnest footing in Broadway musicals with "My Maryland" (1927), "Rain and Shine" (1928) and "Follow Thru" (1929).

Warren turned to radio singing in the early 1930s before apprenticing in two musical film shorts in 1935. This led to a Warner Bros. contract where the wavy black-haired, pale blue-eyed made his debut co-starring with Margaret Lindsay and Ruth Donnelly in Personal Maid's Secret (1935). It was his second film, however, that set up the prospects for a possible "A" film career when he was cast as the male lead in Miss Pacific Fleet (1935). Unfortunately, the picture featured the flashier posturings of co-star Joan Blondell and a number of scene-stealing character actors; as a result, the talented actor was overlooked and never earned a top role in an "A" picture again.

Treading water easily, however, in the secondary pool of Warner Bros. male leads, Warren took it all good-naturedly and forged on. The studio found him to be a reliable "B" presence whether dressing up such musical romances as Freshman Love (1936), and Rhythm in the Clouds (1937); displaying a virile, rugged stance in Bengal Tiger (1936) and Fugitive in the Sky (1936); providing earnest support for Boris Karloff in the horror/thriller genre with The Walking Dead (1936) and Night Key (1937); or preening handsomely in light, sophisticated fluff as in the case of Her Husband's Secretary (1937)) and A Bride for Henry (1937).

The serial hero phase of Warren's career began auspiciously with The Spider's Web (1938). His lead role was triple-tested playing criminologist Richard Wentworth who also fought the evil forces under the furtive guises of "The Spider" and as underworld infiltrator Blinky McQuade. The serial was a huge success, which led to Warren playing other titular heroes in such cliffhangers as Mandrake, the Magician (1939), The Green Hornet Strikes Again! (1940) and The Spider Returns (1941).

His last film entry came with the "Poverty Row" programmer Bowery Blitzkrieg (1941), an East Side Kids entry for Monogram. Briefly returning to the musical stage fold, he found a more receptive return on radio playing the war-time host of "Vox Pop", a long-running (1940-1948) quiz show that eventually changed its format to an audience participation program. His good looks and well-modulated voice then made the easy transition to the new medium of TV. Offered a slew of hosting/moderating chores, his most notable was the tear-inducing game show Strike It Rich (1951), which gave noble sufferers/contestants a chance for huge, financial payoffs.

The erstwhile film actor then lent his presence to a couple of other game show formats before receiving an early 60s diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. Retired for the most part, he and fourth wife Susan subsequently retreated to a Connecticut farm where he died of a heart attack at age 71 in 1974. The father of daughter Ann (from his first marriage) and sons John Jr., George and Paul (from his second) was buried in Woodbury, Connecticut.

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

Spouse (4)

Shea, Elouise Gilmore (1945 - 1950) (divorced)
Daye, Dorothy (1929 - 1944) (divorced) (3 children)
Briggs, Agnes (1926 - 1928) (divorced) (1 child)
Stevens, Susan Fossum (? - 14 September 1974) (his death)

Trivia (5)

He had a daughter, Ann Southwick Hull, by his marriage to Agnes Briggs; he had 3 sons during his marriage to Dorothy Daye.
According to an in-depth article on the actor by noted film researcher and reviewer Laura Wagner in the Fall 2008 issue of "Films of the Golden Age", and contrary to other references, Warren was not related to actors Henry Hull or Josephine Hull either by blood or via marriage.
At the beginning of his Warner Bros. contract, he was tested for the lead male role in 'Magnificent Obsession' but lost out to another newcomer, Robert Taylor.
He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6270 Hollywood Boulevard and for Television at 6135 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
His character Richard Wentworth (A.K.A. The Spider) in serials inspired the creation of the Marvel Comics superhero Spider-man.

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