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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (7)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 7 March 1909San Francisco, California, USA
Date of Death 23 February 1993Santa Barbara, California, USA  (pneumonitis)
Birth NameFrederick Henry Kormann
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The only child of a San Francisco couple, actor Phillip Terry was born Frederick Henry Kormann on March 7, 1909. His father, a chemical engineer in the oil fields, moved about in his work so Phillip was sent to live with relatives in New Jersey to achieve more stable schooling. Following high school graduation, Phillip worked for a time in the oil fields, with the assist of his father, as a roustabout, a tool pusher and rig builder. He later studied at Sacred Heart College, then Stanford University where he became both a football and track star. It was at Stanford that he also developed an interest in acting. After a brief, unsuccessful stay in New York, Phillip traveled to England and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (1933). He grew homesick after a few years, however, and returned to America, landing a job in Los Angeles with CBS Radio as a dramatic player of Shakespeare and other classics. As luck would have it, an MGM agent caught one of his broadcasts and set up an interview. Phillip was signed after a successful screen test and groomed in unbilled film bits; one of these movies was Mannequin (1937) starring Joan Crawford, who would figure prominently into his life down the road. Unable to improve his lot at MGM, he signed with Paramount and finally earned higher visibility in such films as The Monster and the Girl (1941), The Parson of Panamint (1941) (title role), Torpedo Boat (1942), and Wake Island (1942). Around this time he, by chance, happened to hook up with actress Crawford. After a whirlwind romance of only six weeks, the pair married in July of 1942. The marriage would not last, however, divorcing a mere four years later. When Phillip left Paramount in the mid-40s, he signed up with RKO. His movies and no performances were no great shakes with such routine fodder as Music in Manhattan (1944) and Pan-Americana (1945) all he could find. His better work came when he was loaned out. Despite the fact that he appeared in more than eighty movies and was a highly personable gent, most of Phillip's roles ended up unbilled or unmemorable. His better pictures, in which he served as a second lead, were the Oscar-winning The Lost Weekend (1945) starring Ray Milland, and To Each His Own (1946) with Olivia de Havilland. As his career waned, he started focusing on real estate and made himself a rich man with smart investments. From the 1950s on he was seen only sporadically in films and on TV. He retired completely in 1973 after suffering the first of what would be a series of strokes. His health steadily declined and he died of pneumonitis in 1993.

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

Spouse (3)

Rosalind L. Kaufman (20 August 1973 - 23 February 1993) (his death)
Helen Murphy (8 June 1949 - 1954) (divorced)
Joan Crawford (21 July 1942 - 25 April 1946) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (7)

The 3rd husband of Joan Crawford.
Former brother-in-law of Hal Le Sueur.
Died at his home in Santa Barbara, was cremated, and his ashes scattered into the Pacific Ocean.
Was introduced to Joan Crawford in May of 1942 by drama critic Harry Mines. The couple wed six weeks later on July 21, 1942. He became the stepfather of Christina Crawford. The couple later adopted a son, Phillip Terry, Jr. Upon their divorce in 1946, Phillip Sr. waived his rights as father to Phillip, Jr., only on the condition a trust would be set up for the boy to pay for his college education. Joan legally changed the boy's name to Christopher.
A toy train enthusiast, he owned a large collection of electric trains at one point.
During WWII, he became a licensed pilot and owned a small plane. He could not enlist in the service because of of his extreme near-sightedness and due to knee injuries suffered in an oil field accident when he was younger. He did, however, take a job at an aircraft factory.
While training at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he picked up a strong British accent. Deemed "too British" after being signed by MGM, he trained with vocal coaches and drama teachers in order to lose the accent.

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