|William R. Moses
William Remington Moses was born on November 17th, 1959 to actress Marian McCargo and businessman Richard Cantrell Moses Sr.
William's parents divorced when he was young. His mother met and married Alphonzo E. Bell, Jr. in 1970. Alphonzo adopted William and his three brothers. Alphonzo later became one of the most loved congressmen in California. Growing up on in a citrus farm in Ojai, California, he was not interested in showbiz until he met his brother Rick Moses' agent and did a commercial for Sprite. William's first movie opportunity came with Choices. Shortly after that, his big break came - he read and won for the part of "Cole Gioberti" in the prime time series Falcon Crest. He stayed there for 5 seasons.
He also guest-starred in episodes of Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Maxwell Ltd: Finder of Lost Loves Pilot, Hotel and "Battle Of The Network Stars" (1983-1985). He excelled at the latter because of his athletic skills. This is also how he met actress Tracy Nelson, daughter of rock legend Ricky Nelson and Kristin Harmon. They were married on romantic Catalina Island in July 1987.
A month after the wedding, Tracy was diagnosed with a form of cancer, Hodgkins' Disease. Because of her illness and waiting for her remission, they delayed having a baby. On August 11, 1992, their daughter, Remington Moses, was born. They divorced in 1997. William later found Sarah, whom he married in 2002. They have two daughters.
He will probably always be remembered for two roles, Falcon Crest and the Perry Mason Mysteries series (1989-1995). He comes from a talented family. His brothers are actor Rick Moses, musician Graham Moses and minister/director Harry Moses. His late mother, Marian McCargo, was a tennis star and actress before becoming a mother and step-mother to seven boys. He also has three stepbrothers.
Richard Anderson appeared in high school plays, served a hitch in the Army and, upon his discharge, began doing summer stock, radio work, a movie bit part (a wounded soldier in Twelve O'Clock High) and all the other minor jobs required of your basic struggling actor. He did comedy scenes on a "screen test"-like TV series called Lights, Camera, Action! and impressed the right people at MGM, who offered him a contract. After leaving MGM he continued to dabble in movies while at the same time becoming a huge presence on TV. He was a regular (Police Lt. Drum) during the last season of TV's Perry Mason; in the series' last episode, he interrogates witnesses to a murder in a TV studio--the witnesses being played by the "Perry Mason" crew. In the high-rated last episode of The Fugitive he plays Richard Kimble's (David Janssen) brother-in-law, and is briefly suspected of being the real killer of Kimble's wife. A regular on The Six Million Dollar Man, Anderson has more recently produced the TV-movie reprises of that series.
Whether portraying a glum, withering wallflower, a drab and dowdy housewife, a klutzy maid or a cynical gossip, eccentric character comedienne Alice Ghostley had the ability to draw laughs from the skimpiest of material with a simple fret or whine. Making a name for herself on the Tony-winning Broadway stage, her eternally forlorn looks later evolved as an amusingly familiar plain-Jane presence on TV sitcoms and in an occasional film or two during the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Alice was born in a whistle-stop railroad station in the tiny town of Eve, Missouri, where her father was employed as a telegraph operator. She grew up in various towns in the Midwest (Arkansas, Oklahoma) and began performing from the age of 5 where she was called upon to recite poetry, sing and tap-dance. Spurred on by a high school teacher, she studied drama at the University of Oklahoma but eventually left in order to pursue a career in New York with her sister Gladys.
Teaming together in an act called "The Ghostley Sisters", Alice eventually went solo and developed her own cabaret show as a singer and comedienne. She also toiled as a secretary to a music teacher in exchange for singing lessons, worked as a theater usherette in order to see free stage shows, paid her dues as a waitress, worked once for a detective agency, and even had a stint as a patch tester for a detergent company. No glamourpuss by any stretch of the imagination, she built her reputation as a singing funny lady.
The short-statured, auburn-haired entertainer received her star-making break singing the satirical ditty "The Boston Beguine" in the Broadway stage revue "New Faces of 1952", which also showcased up-and-coming stars Eartha Kitt, Carol Lawrence, Hogan's Heroes co-star Robert Clary and Paul Lynde to whom she would be invariably compared to what with their similarly comic demeanors. The film version of New Faces_ featured pretty much the same cast. She and "male counterpart" Lynde would appear together in the same films and/or TV shows over the years.
With this momentum started, she continued on Broadway with the short-lived musicals "Sandhog" (1954) featuring Jack Cassidy, "Trouble in Tahiti" (1955), "Shangri-La" (1956), again starring Jack Cassidy, and the legit comedy "Maybe Tuesday" (1958). A reliable sketch artist, she fared much better on stage in the 1960s playing a number of different characterizations in both "A Thurber Carnival" (1960), and opposite Bert Lahr in "The Beauty Part" (1962), for which she received a Tony nomination. She finally nabbed the Tony trophy as "featured actress" for her wonderful work as Mavis in the comedy play "The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window" (1965).
By this time Alice had established herself on TV. She and good friend Kaye Ballard stole much of the proceedings as the evil stepsisters in the classic Julie Andrews version of Cinderella, and she also recreated her Broadway role in a small screen adaptation of _Shangri-La (1960) (TV)_. Although it was mighty hard to take away her comedy instincts, she did appear in a TV production of "Twelfth Night" as Maria opposite Maurice Evans' Malvolio, and graced such dramatic programs as "Perry Mason" and "Naked City", as well as the film To Kill a Mockingbird. She kept herself in the TV limelight as a frequent panelist on such game shows as "The Hollywood Squares" and "The Match Game".
Enjoying a number of featured roles in such lightweight comedy fare as My Six Loves with Debbie Reynolds, With Six You Get Eggroll starring Doris Day, and the Joan Rivers starrer Rabbit Test, she also had a small teacher role in the popular film version of Grease. Alice primarily situated herself, however, on the sitcom circuit and appeared in a number of recurring 'nervous Nellie" roles, topping it off as the painfully shy, dematerializing and accident-prone witch nanny Esmeralda in Bewitched from 1969-1972 (replacing the late Marion Lorne, who had played bumbling Aunt Clara), and as the batty friend Bernice in Designing Women.
In 1978 Alice replaced Dorothy Loudon as cruel Miss Hannigan in "Annie", her last Broadway stand. Alice would play the mean-spirited scene-stealer on and off for nearly a decade in various parts of the country. Other musicals during this time included "Take Me Along", "Bye, Bye Birdie" (as the overbearing mother), and the raucous revue "Nunsense".
A series of multiple strokes ended her career come the millennium and she passed away of colon cancer on September 21, 2007. Her long-time husband of fifty years, Italian comedic actor Felice Orlandi died in 2003. The couple had no children.
John Rubinstein is an actor, director, composer, singer, and teacher. He was born in Los Angeles, California in 1946, the same year his father, the renowned Polish-born concert pianist Artur Rubinstein, became an American citizen. He is the youngest of four children. His sister, Eva, danced and acted on Broadway, creating the role of "Margo" in the original production of "The Diary of Anne Frank"; she later became an internationally known photographer. His brother, Paul, recently retired from his career as a stockbroker in New York; his sister, Alina, is a psychiatrist in Manhattan. John attended St. Bernard's School and Collegiate School in New York City, and then returned to Los Angeles in 1964 to study theater at UCLA. During his college years, he began his professional career as an actor, appearing in 1965 with Howard Keel in Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot" in San Carlos and Anaheim; playing a role in the Civil War film, Journey to Shiloh; and starting his long list of television appearances in shows, such as The Virginian, Dragnet 1967 and Room 222. It was also at UCLA that he began composing and orchestrating music: incidental music for theatrical plays, and a musical, "The Short and Turbulent Reign of Roger Ginzburg", with book and lyrics by David Colloff, that won the 1967 BMI Varsity Musical Award as Best Musical.
Rubinstein made his Broadway acting debut in 1972, and received a Theater World Award, for creating the title role in the musical "Pippin", directed by Bob Fosse. In 1980, he won the Tony, Drama Desk, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, and Drama-Logue Awards for his portrayal of "James Leeds" in Mark Medoff's "Children Of A Lesser God", directed by Gordon Davidson. Other Broadway appearances were in Neil Simon's "Fools", and David Rabe's "Hurlyburly", both directed by Mike Nichols; Herman Wouk's "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial", which earned him another Drama Desk nomination; David Henry Hwang's "M. Butterfly"; "Getting Away With Murder", by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth, directed by Jack O'Brien, and the musical "Ragtime", directed by Frank Galati. In 2014, he joined the Broadway cast of the hit revival of "Pippin," directed by Diane Paulus, this time playing Pippin's father, Charlemagne. He repeated this role on the national tour throughout the United States, Japan, and Europe in 2014-2016. In 1987, he made his off-Broadway debut at the Roundabout Theater as "Guildenstern" in Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead", with Stephen Lang and John Wood, and subsequently performed in "Urban Blight" and "Cabaret Verboten". In 2005, he received the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Lead Actor in a Play, as well as nominations for both the Outer Critics' and Drama League Awards, for his portrayal of "George Simon" in Elmer Rice's "Counselor-at-Law", directed by Dan Wackerman, at the Pecadillo Theatre.
His appearances in regional theaters include the musicals "Camelot" (at various times as "Tom of Warwick", "Mordred" and "King Arthur") and "South Pacific"; the role of "Billy" in David Rabe's "Streamers", "Ariel" in "The Tempest", "Marchbanks" in Shaw's "Candida", both Sergius and Bluntschli (alternating nights with Richard Thomas) in Shaw's "Arms And The Man", several roles in Arnold Weinstein's "Metamorphoses", directed by Paul Sills at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, "Sight Unseen" at L.A.'s Odyssey Theatre, "The Torch-Bearers" and "Our Town" at the Williamstown Theater Festival, Arthur Miller's "Broken Glass" at Monterey Peninsula College, and Warren Smith in "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" (in a 160-city National Tour). In 1985 He starred in "Merrily We Roll Along" at the La Jolla Playhouse, in a version newly re-written by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth, directed by James Lapine. He was the original Andrew Ladd III in A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters" at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, opened the play in New York off-Broadway, and later performed it on Broadway, in San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. He created the role of Molina in "Kiss Of The Spider Woman", the musical by Terrence McNally, John Kander, and Fred Ebb, directed by Harold Prince, and the role of Kenneth Hoyle in Jon Robin Baitz's "Three Hotels". In 1997, he played Tateh in the American premiere run of the musical "Ragtime", by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty, and Lynn Ahrens, directed by Frank Galati, at the Shubert Theater in Los Angeles, receiving both an L. A. Drama Critics Circle nomination and a Drama-Logue Award as Best Actor in a Musical, and continued in the show both in Vancouver and on Broadway. He appeared opposite Donald Sutherland in Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's "Enigmatic Variations" at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, and at the Savoy Theatre in London's West End; played the Wizard of Oz in the hit musical "Wicked", by Winnie Holzman and Stephen Schwartz, directed by Joe Mantello, at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles for 18 months; and starred with John Schuck and Ken Page in the world premiere of a musical version of "Grumpy Old Men" in Winnipeg at the Manitoba Theatre Centre.
His 24 feature films include Atlas Shrugged Part II; Hello, I Must Be Going, which opened the 2012 Sundance Festival; 21 Grams; Red Dragon; Mercy; Another Stakeout; Someone To Watch Over Me; Daniel; The Boys From Brazil; Rome and Jewel; Choose Connor; Sublime; Jekyll; Kid Cop; Getting Straight; Zachariah; The Trouble with Girls; Journey To Shiloh; and The Car. He received an Emmy Award nomination for his portrayal of Jeff Maitland III in the ABC series "Family", a role he played for five years; and he starred for two years with Jack Warden in the CBS series "Crazy Like A Fox". He has acted in over 200 television films and series episodes, including Arthur Miller's "The American Clock" (CableAce Award Nomination), "Feud!", "When We Rise", "Mrs. Harris", "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town", "Norma And Marilyn", "The Sleepwalker", "Working Miracles", "In My Daughter's Name", "Perry Mason", "Voices Within: The Lives Of Truddi Chase", "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles", "Skokie", "Movieola", "Roots: The Next Generations", and "A Howling In The Woods". He has played recurring parts on "This Is Us", "The Fosters", "Perception", "The Mentalist", "Desperate Housewives", "Parenthood", "No Ordinary Family", "Greek", "The Wizards of Waverly Place", "Dirty Sexy Money", "Day Break", "Angel", "The Guardian", "The Practice", "Star Trek: Enterprise", "Girlfriends", "Robocop: the Series", "The Young and the Restless", and "Barbershop."
Mr. Rubinstein has composed, orchestrated, and conducted the musical scores for five feature films, including Jeremiah Johnson (directed by Sidney Pollack) and The Candidate, (directed by Michael Ritchie), both starring Robert Redford; Paddy (with Milo O'Shea); The Killer Inside Me (with Stacy Keach); and Kid Blue (with Dennis Hopper); and for over 50 television films, among them the Peabody Award-winning "Amber Waves", "The Dollmaker" (starring Jane Fonda), "A Walton Wedding", "The Ordeal Of Patty Hearst", "Choices Of The Heart", and "Emily, Emily", as well as the weekly themes for "Family" and "China Beach".
He spent six years as host for the radio program "Carnegie Hall Tonight", broadcast on l80 stations in the United States and Canada, and two years as the keyboard player for the jazz-rock group Funzone. He has recorded over 100 audio books, including 25 of the best-selling Alex Delaware novels by Jonathan Kellerman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Independence Day" by Richard Ford, Tom Clancy's "Debt Of Honor" and "Op Center", and E. L. Doctorow's "City of God", "World's Fair", and "All The Time In The World".
In 1987, Rubinstein made his directorial debut at the Williamstown Theater Festival, staging Aphra Behn's "The Rover", with Christopher Reeve and Kate Burton; the following season he directed the first American-cast production of Christopher Hampton's "Les Liaisons Dangereuses", with Dwight Schultz and Dianne Wiest. Off-Broadway, he directed the New York premieres of "Phantasie", by Sybille Pearson, and "Nightingale", by Elizabeth Diggs; and the world premiere of A. R. Gurney's "The Old Boy", with Stephen Collins. At the Cape Playhouse in Massachusetts, he staged "Wait Until Dark", with Hayley Mills and William Atherton. For NYU, he directed productions of "The Three Sisters" and "Macbeth"; for UCLA, "Company"; and for USC, "Brigadoon", "Into The Woods", "On The Town", "City of Angels", and "The Most Happy Fella". In Los Angeles, at Interact Theatre Company, of which he has been a member since 1992, he co-directed and starred in the revival of Elmer Rice's Counsellor-At-Law, winning Drama-Logue Awards and L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards in both categories, as well as Ovation Awards for Ensemble Acting and Sound Design; the production itself won 22 awards; he also directed and acted in Sondheim and Lapine's "Into The Woods" and "A Little Night Music", and Meredith Willson's "The Music Man", and also directed Sheridan's "The Rivals" and Frank Loesser's "Guys and Dolls". For television, he directed the CBS Schoolbreak Special "A Matter Of Conscience", which won the Emmy Award for Best Children's Special in 1990, an episode of the CBS series "Nash Bridges", the ABC AfterSchool Special miniseries "Summer Stories", and three episodes of the TV series "High Tide".
In 2011, Rubinstein provided commentary for the online web-casting of the XIVth International Tchaikovsky Competition, a classical music competition held in Moscow. He teaches courses in musical theater audition and acting for the camera, and directs the annual spring musical, at the University of Southern California.
He is married to Bonnie Burgess, and has five children: Jessica, Michael (the actor Michael Weston), Peter, Jacob, and Max.
A solid film and TV player bearing a strong, honest persona for most his career, this innocent-eyed, boyishly handsome blond "B" actor of the 40s and 50s was born in Brooklyn on May 21, 1915, and educated there at the Pratt Institute. A natural athlete, Bill Williams was a professional swimmer who broke into the entertainment business combining his swimming and dancing skills performing in aquatic underwater shows. Gaining experience as a performer in vaudeville and stock shows (both here and England), he started appearing in extra or bit parts in films following WWII U.S. Army duty. He made his debut in Murder in the Blue Room and could be glimpsed here and there as various student, soldier or rookie types for the first couple of years.
By the time the war ended, RKO Pictures had him under contract and gave him co-star billing in such promising entries as Till the End of Time in which he played Robert Mitchum's ex-GI buddy, and the film noir piece Deadline at Dawn as a sailor who gets tangled up with both murder and lovelies Susan Hayward and Lola Lane. In 1945 Bill met fellow RKO actress Barbara Hale while appearing in the film West of the Pecos. They married a year later and went on to co-star together in the light comedy A Likely Story and the film noir suspenser The Clay Pigeon. They had two daughters and a son.
Bill was a reliable "nice guy" lead and second lead. While he showed steady improvement and likability in films, he had a difficult time rising above the benign "B" adventure material he was shoehorned into playing (Fighting Man of the Plains, Rookie Fireman, The Cariboo Trail, to name a few). In the early 50s he started checking out the relatively new medium of TV as a viable means of employment. He scored big with the kiddies as the title hero in the syndicated The Adventures of Kit Carson, which ran for three seasons, and later shifted to lighter, less strenuous work as Betty White's hubby in the promising but short-lived domestic comedy Date with the Angels. In 1960 he returned to his watery roots with the "Sea Hunt"-inspired adventure _"Assignment Underwater" (1960)_, but the program was short-lived. He also appeared in guest assignments in such popular TV shows as "Rawhide," "77 Sunset Strip," and "Hawaiian Eye," not to mention multiple episodes of wife Barbara's series "Perry Mason," in which she co-starred as girl Friday Della Street.
While Bill continued to perform throughout the 70s and into the early 80s in character roles, he was seen less and less as his interest waned. Bill and Barbara did appear together in the films Buckskin and The Giant Spider Invasion, as well as occasionally on TV. Their middle child, son William Katt, a blond stunner who went on to fame in the movie Carrie and the weekly series spoof The Greatest American Hero, obviously got his incredibly good looks from his dad. Bill died of a brain tumor in 1992.
Ivan Dixon, a handsome, mustachioed African-American actor and director who carried a strong, serious nature about his solid frame, initially earned attention on the ground-breaking stage and film with pronounced themes of social and racial relevance. He would become better known, however, for his ensemble playing in the nonsensical but popular WWII sitcom Hogan's Heroes. His role as a POW radio technician, while heightening his visibility, did little to satisfy his creative needs. Overshadowed by the flashier posturings of stars Bob Crane, Werner Klemperer and John Banner, Ivan eventually left the series, the only one of the original cast to do so. In retrospect, he was among the few African-American male actors in the 1960s, along with Bill Cosby and Greg Morris, to either star or co-star on a major TV series.
Born Ivan Nathaniel Dixon III on April 6, 1931, in New York's Harlem, where his parents originally owned a grocery store. Ivan grew up, however, in the South, and as a youngster, was headed towards a life of crime, when he took a keen interest in acting. This helped Ivan to get back on the straight-and-narrow, studying dramatics at Lincoln Academy, a black boarding school in Gaston County, North Carolina. He then graduated from North Carolina Central University (in Durham) with a degree in drama in 1954.
Ivan's Broadway debut occurred three years later in William Saroyan's "The Cave Dwellers", and in 1959 his career took a significant jump after earning the part of Joseph Asagai, the well-mannered Nigerian-born college student, in Lorraine Hansberry's landmark drama, "A Raisin in the Sun," which starred Sidney Poitier, and was the first play written by a black woman which was produced on Broadway. He and Poitier became lifelong friends.
Ivan's early film career included providing stunt double assistance for Poitier in The Defiant Ones.
Following minor film parts in the racially-tinged Something of Value, and Porgy and Bess (both of which starred Poitier), he and Poitier recreated their respective Broadway roles in the film version of A Raisin in the Sun, which drew high marks all the way around. Ivan's most mesmerizing film role, however, came a few years later when he and renowned jazz singer Abbey Lincoln starred in the contemporary film drama Nothing But a Man.
Starring as a young, aimless railroad worker who gives up his job to marry a school teacher and minister's daughter (Lincoln), Ivan's character matures along the way, as he strives to build a noble, dignified life for the couple, living in a deeply prejudicial South. The film was hailed for its extraordinarily powerful portrayals of black characters and its stark, uncompromising script. The film, which was written by two white documentary filmmakers who spent time in the Deep South in the 1960s, was considered far ahead of its time. Dixon himself never found a comparable role in film again. During this time he was cast dramatically on TV with fine roles on "Perry Mason," "The Twilight Zone," "Laramie" and "The Outer Limits", among others.
Following another strong but secondary showing as Poitier's brother in the film A Patch of Blue, Dixon won his "Hogan's Heroes" TV role. While shooting the series, he managed to squeeze in the title role in "The Final War of Olly Winter," a dramatic special which earned him his sole Emmy nomination in 1967. Ivan's post-"Hogan" acting work was limited. Active in the civil rights movement (he served as a president of Negro Actors for Action), he steadfastly refused to play roles that he felt were stereotypical in nature. As a result, he segued himself as a director, and was a noted success, helming hundreds of television productions during the 70s and 80s, including "Nichols," "The Waltons," "The Greatest American Hero," "The Rockford Files," "Magnum, P.I.," "Quincy" and "In the Heat of the Night."
Ivan also managed to direct films, including Trouble Man, and the controversial crime drama The Spook Who Sat by the Door, the story of the first black officer in the Central Intelligence Agency who turns revolutionary. This blaxploitation-era movie did not do well upon initial release (the film's title being highly in question) and was quickly pulled from theaters. It subsequently gained cult status.
Throughout his career, Ivan actively worked for better roles for himself and other black actors. Among the honors he received were 4 NAACP Image Awards, the National Black Theatre Award and the Paul Robeson Pioneer Award, from the Black American Cinema Society.
In his later years, Ivan battled kidney disease, and died of a brain hemorrhage, age 76 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ivan was survived by his wife of 58 years, Berlie Ray, whom he met while both were college theater students. 2 of their 4 children - Ivan Nathaniel IV and N'Gai Christopher - predeceased him. Of his surviving children, Doris Nomathande and Alan Kimara, Doris has been a documentary filmmaker and was a one-time production assistant on the film Boyz n the Hood.
She was one of a bevy of sexy blondes shuffled about in 50s films, thrust into the limelight by ambitious movie studios as possible contenders to Marilyn Monroe's uncooperative pedestal. Almost none of these ladies managed to even step up to the plate when it came to the powerful allure of "La Monroe" and starlet Carol Ohmart managed to be no different.
Armelia Carol Ohmart was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on July 3, 1927, the daughter of a dentist father (Thomas Carlyle Ohmart, a one-time actor) and an abusive Mormon mother (Armelia Merl Ohmart). Raised in Seattle and a baby contest winner as an infant, she was on stage from age 3 in a vaudeville act with her uncle. She then lived all over the place with her mother after her divorce from her father, attending high school at Lewis & Clark High in Spokane. A radio singer back in Salt Lake City, Carol won the "Miss Utah" title (then a brunette) at age 19, coming up fourth runner-up when she segued into the 1946 "Miss America" contest (came in 4th). The attention she received led to a modeling, commercial and magazine cover career.
In the early 1950s Carol found TV and commercial work and on stage on Broadway (in the ensemble of "Kismet" and also as Joan Diener's understudy) and summer stock. Paramount took interest after a talent agent caught her in "Kismet" and signed her in 1955, billing her, of course, as the "next Marilyn." But Carol came off more hardbitten and unsympathetic than the vulnerable, innocent sex goddess, and when the knockout blonde's first two movies The Scarlet Hour and The Wild Party tanked at the box office, she was written off in 1957. Only a few more film offers came her way, including director William Castle's gimmicky House on Haunted Hill (her best known); the campy horror _Spider Baby, or The Maddest Story Ever Told (1968)_; and her last, The Spectre of Edgar Allan Poe. She had steadier work on TV with guest appearances on "Bat Masterson," "Perry Mason," "Get Smart," "Mannix" and "Barnaby Jones," but by 1974 she was pretty much history.
Carol wed three times. The first, to radio actor Ken Grayson, lasted two years before it was annulled. A second brief two-year marriage in 1956 was with cowboy actor Wayde Preston (ne William Erskine Strange), who starred in the rugged "Colt .45" TV western. In the late 1970s, she married a third time to a non-professional (fireman), which lasted. After a particularly depressing period dealing with medication addiction and disability, a recovered, spiritual-leaning Carol found a helpful avenue outside the Hollywood scene in the 1970s studying metaphysics, delving also in oil painting, gardening, poetry and writing.
Warren William, the stalwart leading man of pre-Production Code talkies, was born Warren William Krech on December 2, 1894 in Aitkin, Minnesota, the son of a newspaper publisher. William originally planned to become a journalist, but he had a change of heart, and instead went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and trained to become an actor. He served in the military in France during World War I, remaining in that country after the Armistice to tour with a theatrical company.
He made his Broadway debut as William Warren in the H.G. Wells play "The Wonderful Visit" in 1924. While appearing in 17 more plays on Broadway from 1924 to 1930, he also managed to appear in three silent pictures under his own name, Warren Krech. His only substantial role was in his first flicker, Fox's The Town That Forgot God. In 1923, he played a credited bit part in support of "Perils of Pauline" star Pearl White in her last serial photoplay, Plunder but he went uncredited in a bit part in the Roaring Twenties/John Gilbert-as-bootlegger movie, Twelve Miles Out.
Possessed of a first-rate speaking voice, rich, deep, and mellifluous, he was a natural for the talkies, and in 1931, he joined the stock company at Warner Bros., the studio that gave the world cinema sound. Projecting a patrician persona, Warren William initially thrived in the all-talking pictures. He appeared in a lead role in his first talkie, Honor of the Family, an adaptation Honoré de Balzac's novel "Cousin Pons." Subsequently, he appeared as second leads and leads in support of the likes of Dolores Costello (Drew Barrymore's grandmother), H.B. Warner, Walter Huston, and Marian Marsh, before headlining The Mouthpiece as a district attorney who quits for the other side of the law, defending mobsters before a last reel conversion. It was his break-through role, followed up by a turn as a crooked campaign manager with more than just the affairs of state on his mind in The Dark Horse. He then moved on to leading roles in A-list pictures, including the high-suds soap opera Three on a Match, the classic musical Gold Diggers of 1933, Frank Capra's Lady for a Day, and the original Imitation of Life starring Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers.
It was the Great Depression, and audiences were rooting against businessmen, who in real life preached Christian values, but who on-screen in the pre-Code days were portrayed as the predators that the out-of-work and anxiously employed knew them in their hearts to be. The antipathy of the movie mob also extended to the professional class, particularly lawyers, another type that William excelled at portraying.
With his patrician looks and bearing, William was loaned out to Cecil B. DeMille to play the patrician's patrician, Julius Caesar, again opposite of Ms. Colbert in Cleopatra, a typical prodigal DeMille production in which Henry Wilcoxon avenged his mentor's assassination by rousing the rabble. William went on as the second Sam Spade (renamed Ted Shayne) in the "Maltese Falcon" remake Satan Met a Lady with Bette Davis. He eventually found himself in B-films. The same year he played Caesar, he made his inaugural and terminal appearance as William Powell's premier replacement in the role of Philo Vance in The Dragon Murder Case, a character he would resurrect five years later in The Gracie Allen Murder Case.
After making his first appearance as the cinema sleuth Vance, William returned to his roots as a court-room advocate, cast as the first Perry Mason in The Case of the Howling Dog. After four films, he was replaced as Erle Stanley Gardner's A-#1 attorney in 1936 by former silent screen heart-throb Ricardo Cortez, the man who had first played Sam Spade, in the original The Maltese Falcon. Before leaving the studio, William appeared in one more picture under contract at Warners Bros., the A-list Stage Struck; then the erstwhile Warners trouper trooped over to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for a few years, to work as a character actor.
Another movie series beckoned and William appeared as Michael Lanyard's "The Lone Wolf," in nine movies made by Columbia from 1939 to 1943 beginning with The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt. Of the ten actors who appeared as "The Lone Wolf" in the 30 years the series ran, off and on, from 1919 until 1949, he made twice as many films as his nearest competitor (which included such top stars as Thomas Meighan and Melvyn Douglas). William continued to act in character parts calling for a patrician presence until his premature death in 1948.
Personally, Warren William was a shy and retiring type. Speaking of him, five-time Warners co-star Joan Blondell said that William "was an old man even when he was a young man." According to San Francisco critic Mick LaSalle's 2002 book "Dangerous Men: Pre-Code Hollywood and the Birth of the Modern Man" (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002), William, who quite unlike his early Warner Bros.' stereotype as a heartless "love 'em and leave 'em"-style seducer, remained married to one woman throughout his adult life. He was an active inventor with multiple patents, designing one of the first recreational vehicles, reportedly so he could continue to sleep while being driven to the studio in the morning.
Warren William died in Hollywood on September 24, 1948, of multiple myeloma.
The name may have you scratchin' your head a bit while searchin' for your nearby trivia book, but oh...that intimidating face is so familiar. Peter Whitney's over-powering frame, swarthy looks, bushy brows and maniacal look in his eye made him one of the most fearsome character actors to lump around in 40s, 50s and 60s film and TV. Born May 24, 1916 in New Jersey, Peter was of German ancestry and educated at Exeter Academy. He eventually moved to the Los Angeles area and trained with the Pasadena Community Playhouse, gaining valuable experience in summer stock as well. He made a play for films in the early 40s, deciding also to use his wife Adrienne's middle name for his own stage moniker. His real name he felt sounded too German and might be detrimental to his WWII-era career. He and Adrienne went on to have three children. His mammoth features and pudding-like puss reminded one easily of a Charles Laughton without table manners.
He started his supporting career off promisingly at Warner Bros. at the outbreak of America's involvement in WWII showing fine potential in such films as Underground, his debut, Nine Lives Are Not Enough and Blues in the Night as assorted henchmen, cronies and just downright mean guys. Taking part in "A" quality casts such as in Action in the North Atlantic and Mr. Skeffington, Peter played two of his most notorious roles at war's end, that of murderous hillbilly twins Mert and Bert Fleagle in the riotous Fred MacMurray comedy Murder, He Says and as Peter Lorre's seedy partner in the film noir Three Strangers. Peter broke off from Warners in the post-war years but still yielded some fine entertainment with roles in such "B" fare as The Notorious Lone Wolf, Blonde Alibi, and an odd, romantic turn as Lt. Gates in the creepy Rondo Hatton crimer The Brute Man.
In the mid-50s, TV took over a larger portion of Peter's career. His imposing mug was featured in about every popular western and crime drama there was including "Gunsmoke," "Wagon Train," "The Rifleman," "Bonanza," "Perry Mason" and "Peter Gunn." He finally cut loose a bit and spoofed his own grubby rube image with guest turns on such bucolic series as "Petticoat Junction" and "The Beverly Hillbillies," the latter playing a greedy ne'er-do-well fellow rustic. His obesity may have triggered an early fatal heart attack at age 55 in 1972, which robbed Hollywood of a wonderfully unappetizing and scurrilous character actor. In addition to his wife and children, Peter was survived by four grandchildren
Born in Hollywood in 1949, the son of actor Lyle Talbot, Stephen Talbot became a child actor, appearing as Beaver's friend, Gilbert, in more than 50 episodes of the iconic baby boomer series "Leave It To Beaver." He also appeared in many TV shows of the late '50s and early '60s, Including "Perry Mason," "Lassie," "The Twilight Zone," "Wanted: Dead of Alive" and "The Lucy Show."
As an adult, Talbot turned to reporting and documentary filmmaking. He began as a producer and on-air reporter for KQED, the public television station in San Francisco. He had early success with two documentaries that set the tone for his career: "Broken Arrow" (1980) an investigation of nuclear weapons accidents, and "The Case of Dashiell Hammett" (1982), a biography of the mystery writer. Both films won George Foster Peabody Awards and established Talbot as someone who could do both investigative reporting and arts films.
Talbot began producing documentaries for the critically acclaimed PBS series, "Frontline," in 1992 with his film on the Bush-Clinton presidential race, "The Best Campaign Money Can Buy," which won a DuPont Award. It was the start of a long association with "Frontline," where he produced and wrote ten documentaries for the series, including "News War: What's Happening to the News" (2007) with reporter Lowell Bergman, "Justice for Sale" (1999) with Bill Moyers, "Spying on Saddam" (1999), "The Long March of Newt Gingrich" (1996) and "Rush Limbaugh's America" (1995) with Peter Boyer, and "The Heartbeat of America" (1993) with Robert Krulwich about the travails of General Motors.
When "Frontline's" executive producer David Fanning launched an international news magazine series, "Frontline World," in 2002, he named Talbot as the Series Editor with a mandate to increase global reporting in the wake of 9/11 and to develop a new generation of younger reporters and producers. From 2002-2008, Talbot was instrumental in recruiting new talent and in commissioning and supervising over 100 broadcast stories for 30 hour-long episodes of the Emmy award-winning series. He also went to Lebanon and Syria to produce his own report about Lebanon's Cedar Revolution, "The Earthquake" (2005) with correspondent Kate Seelye. And he oversaw "Rough Cuts," a series of original videos for the "Frontline World" website.
Throughout his career of nearly 35 years in public television, Talbot has continued to produce history and arts documentaries, alongside his broadcast journalism work. With David Davis, Talbot wrote and directed "The Sixties: The Years That Shaped a Generation," a two-hour history special that aired nationally on PBS in 2005. It was based on Talbot's earlier film, "1968." Talbot has also written and co-produced several biographies of noted writers, including Ken Kesey, Carlos Fuentes, Beryl Markham, Maxine Hong Kingston and John Dos Passos (narrated by actor William Hurt).
In 2008, he formed The Talbot Players, an independent media company in San Francisco, with his brother David and sister Margaret, and created a new music show for PBS, "Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders," executive producing specials in 2010 and 2012 with host Marco Werman and starting an online music series for PBS Digital, "Quick Hits."
Talbot also continues to serve as executive producer for a number of independent documentaries, such as director Mimi Chakarova's expose of sex trafficking in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, "The Price of Sex" (2011), and from 2012-2014 he supervised video production and The I Files YouTube channel at the Center for Investigative Reporting. He has recently returned to "Frontline" as a senior producer.
Virile Brooklyn-born actor Harry Guardino, with dark, wavy hair and a perpetual worried look on his craggy-looking mug, started out in the acting school of hard knocks, slumming for nearly a decade in small, obscure 'tough guy' film parts in the early to mid 50s. A definite man's man, he finally attracted some attention on the Broadway stage with "A Hatful of Rain" (1956) and was nominated for a Tony for "One More River" in 1960. By then, juicier film roles began to gravitate his way, stealing the thunder out from under Cary Grant and Sophia Loren as a comic handyman in Houseboat. Harry went on to play other brash guys with and without a comic edge to them in both crime and war stories such as Pork Chop Hill, 5 Branded Women, Hell Is for Heroes, Madigan, Dirty Harry and The Enforcer, the last two pairing up with Clint Eastwood. He even played "Barabbas" in the classic bible epic King of Kings for a change of pace and scenery. More and more, however, TV became Harry's favorite medium. He portrayed district attorney "Hamilton Burger" in the 70s revival series of "Perry Mason" and co-starred in dozens of grim, rugged mini-movies often as a street-smart cop. Not so true to nature, he found an unlikely outlet in musical theatre in later years, going on to star in productions of "Woman of the Year" and "Chicago". A solid, durable, all-round actor, he died of lung cancer in 1995 at age 69.
Tall, handsome, and charismatic actor Robert Quarry was born on November 3, 1925 in Santa Rosa, California. His father was a doctor. Robert's grandmother first introduced him to the world of theater. Quarry finished school at age 14 and was on the swimming team in high school. In the early 1940s he was a busy juvenile actor on the radio; he even had a regular part on the "Dr. Christian" program. Robert joined the Army Combat Engineers at age 18 and formed a theatrical group which put on a hit production of the play "The Hasty Heart' that Quarry both acted in and helped produce.
Quarry made his film debut with a small role in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt. He acted alongside Paul Newman in both Winning and WUSA. Robert worked steadily throughout the 1950s and 1960s in both movies and TV shows alike. Quarry achieved his greatest enduring cult popularity with his splendidly sardonic portrayal of suavely sinister bloodsucker Count Yorga in the excellent drive-in hit Count Yorga, Vampire and its solid sequel The Return of Count Yorga Robert capitalized on his newfound fright feature fame by appearing in several hugely enjoyable horror pictures: at his commanding best as vampire hippie guru Khorda in the offbeat Deathmaster, (Quarry was also an associate producer on this film), driven scientist Darius Biederbeck in Dr. Phibes Rises Again, evil mob boss Morgan in the groovy blaxploitation zombie opus Sugar Hill, and quite amusing as slimy producer Oliver Quayle in Madhouse. Quarry popped up in the disaster outing Rollercoaster as the Mayor of Los Angeles.
Alas, Robert's career was abruptly curtailed by a serious car accident, but he thankfully recovered and made a welcome comeback in the mid-1980s. He appeared in a slew of entertainingly trashy low-budget movies for prolific exploitation flick director Fred Olen Ray. Moreover, Quarry was featured in guest spots on such TV shows as "Studio 57," "The Lone Ranger," "Hallmark Hall of Fame," "Mike Hammer," "The Fugitive," "Perry Mason," "Ironside," "Cannon," "The Rockford Files," and "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century." Outside of his work in movies and television, Robert also had a highly distinguished stage career. Quarry acted in Broadway productions of "As You Like It," "The Taming of the Shrew," "Richard III," and "Gramercy Ghost." He acted alongside Cloris Leachman in "Design for Living" at the Stage Society in Los Angeles and in 1966 went on tour with a traveling roadshow production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?". He regularly studied his craft at the Actors Lab in Hollywood.
Blessed with an IQ of 168, Quarry was a Lifemaster at bridge. In addition, Robert studied cooking at the Cardon Bleu School in Manhattan and was the author of the best-selling cookbook "Wonderfully Simple Recipes for Simply Wonderful Food." Robert Quarry died at age 83 from a heart condition on February 20, 2009 in Woodland Hills, California. Good night and rest in peace, Count Yorga.
Mr. Geary has come a long way from Coalville, Utah, the small mountain community of 800 where he was born. Tony was a gifted student, attending the University of Utah as a Presidential Award Scholar in theater. Jack Albertson saw Tony perform there, a nd cast him in "The Subject Was Roses." The production, starring Albertson and Martha Scott, toured Hawaii and settled at the Huntington Hartford Theater in Los Angeles, where Tony decided to establish himself. His ensuing musical theater credits comprise a catalog of classics. A highlight in this period was his co-starring engagement with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas in "Your Show of Shows." Mr. Geary has performed in more than 50 stage productions throughout the United States. His extensive theatrical credits include roles in productions of "The Wild Duck, " "The Inspector General, " "The Cat's Paw, " "The Glass Menagerie, " and "Barabbas" a t the Los Angeles Theater Center. In addition, he toured with a production of "Jesus Christ Superstar, " portraying the title role. He also portrayed Octavius Caesar, opposite Lynn Redgrave and Timothy Dalton, in a production of Shakespeare's "Antony and C leopatra" for PBS and the BBC. Mr. Geary has made guest appearances on more than 40 television shows. Among his TV credits are roles on "Starsky & Hutch, " "Barnaby Jones, " "The Streets of San Francisco, " "The Blue Knight, " "All in the Family, " "The Six Million Dollar Man, " "The Par tridge Family, " "Most Wanted, " "Mannix, " "The Mod Squad, " "Room 222, " "Doc Elliot, " "Temperatures Rising, " "Marcus Welby, M.D., " Arthur Hailey's "Hotel" and "Murder, She Wrote." He also performed in the television movies, "Perry Mason and the Case of the Murdered Madam, " "Kicks, " "Sins of the Past, " "The Imposter, " "Intimate Agony" and "Do You Know the Muffin Man?" and in the daytime dramas, "Bright Promise" and "The Young and the Restless." As a producer, Mr. Geary received a Cindy Award for the drama, "Sound of Sunshine, Sound of Rain, " a children's story for Public Radio. He has also taught improvisation and story-theater techniques. Mr. Geary competed in track and field and swimming events as a college student, and also raced horses. He is a certified scuba diver as well as an accomplished rollerblader. Tony also claims to be "the world's oldest Hip Hop dancer." As portrayed by Anthony Geary, Luke Spencer was described as the most popular character in soap opera history. One critic said, "Geary's individualism, uniqueness and awesome range is the most notable in daytime (television) history, " a statement that is typical of the actor's reviews. He added to his laurels by winning the 1981 Emmy Award as Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series. In January, 1991, Mr. Geary returned to "General Hospital" in the role of Bill Eckert, a cousin of Spencer's, and a man of many, often dark, colors. Mr. Geary was seen on-screen as both Bill Eckert and Luke Spencer as the story progressed, until the death of Eckert.
For someone who goes only to movie theaters, Frank Aletter is a total stranger. It is true that the actor appeared in no more than a handful of theatrical films (Gerhart in Mister Roberts, a commanding officer in Tora! Tora! Tora!, Leigh Jensen in Private School...). But for a TV fan things are just the opposite, for Aletter was cast in NEARLY ALL the TV series, films, sitcoms and specials shot between 1955 and 1991! A sample of titles just give you an idea of Frank Aletter's prolific output on the small screen: "Bringing Up Buddy", "Perry Mason", "The Cara Williams Show", "Lassie", "Mannix", "Dr. Marcus Welby", "Insight", "Kojak", "Cannon", "Hunter", "Super Jaimie"... In his first life, Frank Aletter had been a regular on Broadway appearing in plays and musicals like "Bells Are Ringing", "Time Limit", "Wish You Were Here" and of course "Mr Roberts", which opened to him the doors of filmed fiction
Jean Willes is best known for her roles in a number of B movies in the 1950s and 1960s as well as on the small screen. Lovely and curvaceous, she often played hard-boiled gold-diggers, party girls, gun molls, and saloon girls. She came off as a wily, smarter version of Barbara Nichols or Iris Adrian, and although she was versatile, she never rose to the first tier of stardom; in retrospect, she seems to have been capable of much more than she was given during her three-decade-plus career.
Born Jean Donahue in Los Angeles on April 15, 1923, she was raised in Utah and in Seattle, Washington. Interested in an acting career, she returned to the town of her birth and in 1942 started showing up in comedy film shorts for Columbia under her birth name. She was a smart and sexy foil to such enjoyable comics as Harry Langdon, Andy Clyde, Eddie Foy Jr., Joe DeRita, Sterling Holloway, Hugh Herbert, Harry von Zell, Max Baer, the duo of Wally Vernon and Eddie Quillan, and The Three Stooges.
After bit parts in such feature-length films as So Proudly We Hail!, Here Come the Waves, and Salty O'Rourke, Willes -- who married a professional wrestler in 1947 and was using her married surname -- began earning co-star status in such post-war feature-length programmers as Revenue Agent opposite Douglas Kennedy, in A Yank in Indo-China, and in one of Johnny Weissmuller's "Jungle Jim" outings; even so, she wisely continued to appear in her bread-and-butter comedy shorts.
Willes became a cheesecake fixture in Hollywood, and film and TV work was steady. But when she was lucky enough to score a role in an "A" film, she was barely glimpsed, as in the Bob Hope comedy Son of Paleface and the "Best Picture" war epic From Here to Eternity. She had more screen time as the nurse who succumbs to the aliens in the cult sci-fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers and as one of four women vying for the attentions of an aging Clark Gable in The King and Four Queens, one of his lesser efforts. Guest spots on TV gave her greater visibility, and she was frequently seen in westerns (The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Maverick) and crime dramas (_Perry Mason_), usually playing unsympathetic women although she occasionally played more-respectable characters.
Willes had fewer roles in the 1960s. She could be spotted in Ocean's 11 and as Ernest Borgnine's girlfriend in the film version of McHale's Navy. Her last films were The Cheyenne Social Club and Bite the Bullet. After a few more TV roles, she retired in 1976.
Willes died of liver cancer on January 3, 1989, at the age of 65. Her second husband, NFL football player Gerard Cowhig, died at their Van Nuys, Calif., home in 1995. They had one son, Gerry.
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, The Man from the Alamo, The Black Shield of Falworth, Ma and Pa Kettle at Home (as one of the young Kettle brood), Revenge of the Creature (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 with Jack Nicholson, High School Hellcats 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 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, 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, The Last Blitzkrieg (1958)_ and Jet Over the Atlantic, the sci-fi thrillers Return of the Fly (with Vincent Price) and The Atomic Submarine, the large-scale ensemble sudsers The Best of Everything and Return to Peyton Place (1961)_, the crime drama Desire in the Dust and the horror opus Twice-Told Tales, 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 Le sette spade del vendicatore [The Seventh Sword], Il magnifico avventuriero [The Magnificent Adventurer] and The Avenger of Venice [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 [Spy in Your Eye], Misión Lisboa [Espionage in Lisbon], L'heure de la vérité [The Hour of Truth], Uccidete Johnny Ringo [Johnny Ringo], Congress of Love [Congress of Love], Web of Violence [Web of Violence], Bang Bang, Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die! [Today We Kill...Tomorrow We Die], Tutto sul rosso [All on the Red], Wrath of God [Wrath of God], Twenty Thousand Dollars for Seven [Twenty Thousand Dollars for Seven], Roy Colt and Winchester Jack and Four Times that Night [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, Search for Tomorrow, Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, and, his last, a two-year stint (1980-82) on The Young and the Restless. Halsey continued sporadically in films as well, such as the comedy Where Does It Hurt? starring Peter Sellers, Ratboy, The Godfather: Part III and Beyond Justice, 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, The Scarlet Worm, Club Utopia (in which he held a leading role), and Risk Factor. 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 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.
All this shapely character "broad" had to do was open her mouth to induce laughter--and so she did, primarily on TV during the '50s and '60s. And although she milked that unmistakable rasp for all its worth, she also showed great comedy sense. Born Jean Leete on February 23, 1923, in Charleston, West Virginia, actress Jean Carson (not to be confused with pert British actress Jeannie Carson of Hey, Jeannie! TV fame) was trained in music and dance and started performing by age 12. With high aspirations of becoming an actress, she subsequently studied at Carnegie-Mellon University.
She was first discovered appearing on Broadway in 1948 in George S. Kaufman's "Bravo!" with a cast including Kevin McCarthy and Oskar Homolka. Set in New York, the show was a bust (running only 44 performances), but Jean made a wonderful comic impression and earned a Theatre World award in the process. She followed this with another Kaufman-staged play, "Metropole," in 1949 as well as "The Bird Cage" (1950) with Melvyn Douglas and Maureen Stapleton and "Men of Distinction" (1953) with Robert Preston, but these shows fared just as badly. A hit Broadway comedy finally came her way with "Anniversary Waltz" in 1954, which ran 544 performances. Jean stood out among the cast just for those inimitable deep tones alone.
She was typically on display throughout the '50s and '60s, gracing many of the popular shows of the day, including "The Red Buttons Show," "The Tom Ewell Show," "Wagon Train," "Sugarfoot," "Perry Mason," "The Untouchables" and "Gomer Pyle." Surprisingly, she never had her own TV sitcom, although she did appear as a regular on the short-lived The Betty Hutton Show playing a girlfriend to the star. A single standout episode of "The Twilight Zone" had Jean and Fred Clark as a pair of thieves who discover that a camera they've stolen takes pictures of the future. Jean essayed a number of bleached blonde floozies, jailbirds, party girls and gold diggers over the course of her career but was never better than as both convict Jalene Naomi and good time girl Daphne on The Andy Griffith Show. In one classic episode, her character Jalene was partnered up with cohorts Jane Dulo and Reta Shaw as three dames hiding out from the law who hold both Deputy Barney and Floyd hostage while putting designs on them at the same time.
An unfortunate alcohol problem dogged Jean's career for many years. Active with Alcoholics Anonymous, she eventually retired from Hollywood in the early 1980s and moved to the Palm Springs area to be closer to family. There she appeared occasionally in such local theater productions as "The Elephant Man" and "Steel Magnolias." Jean had been in spiraling health since suffering a paralytic stroke in September of 2005. She died in a Palm Desert convalescent home on November 2, 2005, at age 82. Two sons survive.
Robert Emhardt looked and sounded as if he had intentionally been created by some perverse god to play villains. Though rotund, he had hooded, lizard like eyes and a drawling whine in his voice. The real Robert Emhardt, however, was a well-educated, cultured, generous man, not at all like the characters he often portrayed.
Robert Christian Emhardt was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father was C.J. Emhardt, a lawyer, judge, and onetime mayor of the city. The younger Emhardt received his early training as an actor in the theater at Butler University. He then went to London, where he gained experience at The London Academy of Dramatic Art in 1937-38, and then played in repertoire with London's British Broadcasting Company. While in England he met the woman who would become his wife, the well-known English actress Silvia Sedeli. The couple would go on to have four children. Eventually he found himself understudying Sidney Greenstreet on an American tour. He stayed in the United States, debuting on Broadway in 1942 in "The Pirate." He was to go on to win the Critic's Circle Award as best supporting actor in "Life with Mother" (1948-49) and to appear in eleven other plays in New York until his last in 1959. He made his film debut in "The Iron Mistress" (1952), a fictionalized life of Jim Bowie starring Alan Ladd. Among his other memorable movies were "3:10 to Yuma" (1957), "Underworld, USA" (1961), and "The Stone Killer" with Charles Bronson (1973). His favorite, and probably his best, film role was as Shirley Knight's paunchy, gracious, but ultimately insane father in "The Group" (1966).
Emhardt had a busy career. He also acted in 125 summer stock productions and 250 television shows such as "Have Gun, Will Travel," "The Untouchables," "Perry Mason," "Bonanza," and in six episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." He had a recurring role on the soap opera "Another World."
Emhardt was extremely active in St. Augustine's Episcopal Church in Santa Monica and gave a great deal of support to The Boy Scouts of America. In his spare time (Emhardt had spare time?) he followed sports and enjoyed ballet.
Robert Emhardt died of heart failure on December 29, 1994 in Ojai, California.
William Talman is best known for his role as Hamilton Burger, the district attorney who perpetually lost to Perry Mason in the long-running series Perry Mason. Talman was an accomplished screenwriter and stage and screen actor, and appeared in numerous roles on television as a character actor from the mid-'50s until his death from lung cancer in August of 1968.
He was born William Whitney Talman Jr. on February 4, 1915, in Detroit, Michigan, the first son of William Talman Sr. and Ada B. Talman. His father was vice-president of an electrical company that manufactured industrial heat-measuring recording devices and yachts. During an interview with "TV Guide" in April of 1963, Talman told writer Richard Gehman that his father made a good deal of money, "enough to send me to school in a limousine each day. Public school. That meant I had to fight my way in and out." In school Talman developed an avid interest in athletics, especially boxing and baseball. He furthered his interest in boxing early in life by fighting on the local parish boxing team of the Episcopal Church. At one point in his life he played semi-professional baseball. He was educated at Cranbrook School and later attended Dartmouth College, where his interest in acting first took hold. He left Dartmouth in his sophomore year after an incident in which a freshman he knew "loaned" him a car so that he could go visit a girlfriend at Smith College. A bus forced the car off of the road and it hit a tree. A boy who was with them was killed and it later turned out that the car was stolen. Talman was asked to resign from Dartmouth, which he did. Although invited back the next year, he never returned.
Talman began his acting career on Broadway in the early 1940s. His first roles were in "Beverly Hills", "Yokel Boy" and "Of Mice and Men." He was appearing in "Spring Again" at Henry Miller's Theatre in January of 1942 when he received his draft notice for induction into the US army. Prior to leaving for active duty he married actress Lynne Carter. He entered the army as a private and saw 30 months of service in the Pacific, where he won a commission and eventually was promoted to the rank of major. During the war his assignments included the managing of a school that trained soldiers to put on shows. At one point he was in charge of training boxing and baseball teams. He was proud of the fact that his teams won both the boxing and baseball championships of the Western Pacific. Talman returned to Broadway after the war. Two of his more notable postwar roles were in Joseph M. Hyman's and Bernard Hart's production of "Dear Ruth" in 1946 and Henry Adrian's production of "A Young Man's Fancy" in 1947. In 1949 the actor moved to Hollywood and began making films. His first picture was Red, Hot and Blue, in which he played gangster Bunny Harris. Other movie and television roles soon followed. In 1951 his wife sued him for divorce, citing extreme cruelty. She claimed that Talman had criticized her publicly in front of their friends. The divorce was granted in September of 1952 with custody of the couple's three-year-old daughter, Lynda, and 24% of Talman's income awarded to his former spouse. He went on to perform in over 17 films, several of which he starred in. Some of his more notable films include The Racket, Armored Car Robbery, Smoke Signal, Big House, U.S.A., One Minute to Zero and Two-Gun Lady. His best known role was as escaped killer and kidnapper Emmett Myers in the classic film noir The Hitch-Hiker, directed by Ida Lupino. He also co-wrote two feature films, I've Lived Before and Joe Dakota.
Talman married actress Barbara Read in 1952. The couple had two children, Barbie and Billy, but they separated in September of 1959. In a tragic turn of events, his former wife took her own life in December of 1963 by closing up her house and turning on the gas jets. Notes she left behind blamed ill health for her action. In March of 1960 Talman made headlines when he was arrested during a police raid of an alleged "wild nude party" being held at the home of an acquaintance, Richard Reibold. The incident caused CBS to invoke a morals clause in his contract that cost him his job on "Perry Mason." The charges were eventually dropped after a trial that was closely followed by the newspapers and sensationalized by the tabloids. Talman always maintained his innocence, and following the trial the judge in the case criticized the police for arresting him. He remained off the show until December of 1960, when CBS reinstated him after a flood of fan mail from supporters. He married Margaret (Peggy) Flanigan and adopted her two children from a previous marriage, Steve and Debbie. After the "Perry Mason" show ended in 1966, Talman went on a six-week tour of Vietnam to entertain the troops. Upon his return home, it was discovered that he had lung cancer. His last film was The Ballad of Josie, with Doris Day.
Near the end of his life, Talman did something that, while common nowadays, was an extraordinarily courageous thing for an actor to do at that time. A heavy smoker for most of his life, he was angered by a newspaper article he read about actors being afraid to make anti-smoking messages for fear of losing opportunities to make lucrative cigarette commercials. He decided to do something about it. Talman volunteered to make a short film for the American Cancer Society, part of which was shown in late 1968 and 1969 as a television anti-smoking commercial. He was the first actor to ever make such a commercial. When the message was being filmed, Talman knew he was dying, was in a great deal of pain and was in fact under heavy sedation for it. The short film begins, "Before I die I want to do what I can to leave a world free of cancer for my six children . . . ",
William Talman died of cardiac arrest due to complications from lung cancer at West Valley Community Hospital in Encino, California, on August 30, 1968, at the age of 53. Although his life was short, he left an enduring legacy through his writing, his acting, his heroism and his never-ending championing of the underdog.
As a child she studied at Seattle's Cornish School. Still in her early twenties, after several years of stock work in New York, she joined Eva Le Gallienne's Civic Repertory Theater where she won critical praise for her title role in "Alice in Wonderland." She came to Hollywood in 1934 under contract with Warners, debuting in "Happiness Ahead". She co-starred with Paul Muni in "The Story of Louis Pasteur" (1936) and played in many small roles, both in films - e.g., the phoney U.N. ambassador's wife in North by Northwest - and television ("Twilight Zone, " "Gunsmoke", "Perry Mason") in the 'fifties and 'sixties. She died at Manhattan's Florence Nightingale Nursing Home, aged 94.
A general utilitarian player on TV and film, Ross Elliott provided clean-cut, reliable support for over four decades. Born Elliott Blum on June 18, 1917 in New York City, Ross grew up in the Bronx and began appearing in plays while a teenage at both summer camps and in high school. He attended New York's City College upon graduation pursing both law and appearing in the college's dramatic productions. Acting won out in the long run after he received his degree in 1937.
Following variety show and summer stock work, Elliott became a member of Orson Welles Mercury Theatre and played minor parts on Broadway in "Julius Caesar" (modern version), "The Shoemaker's Holiday" and "Danton's Death." He also was a part of the notorious "War of the Worlds" broadcast on radio in 1938. He also stage toured with Welles in "Five Kings". His career was interrupted by a tour of duty in the Army. Appearing in several of their touring show, one of the better known was "This Is the Army." He would also appearing in the Warner Brothers' film version of This Is the Army.
Elliott returned to professional acting following his honorable discharge and replaced Tom Ewell touring with Walter Huston in "Apple of His Eye". By 1947 he had relocated to Los Angeles and appeared in his first film The Burning Cross with a story involving the KKK. His four-decade career would include hundreds of movie and TV roles. His more visible clean-cut appearances occurred in the films Woman on the Run, Hot Lead, Woman in the Dark, Problem Girls, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Carolina Cannonball, Indestructible Man, Monster on the Campus. Of the scores of parts he played on TV, from the dramas ("Perry Mason," "Death Valley Days," "The Adventures of Superman," "Lassie," "The Twilight Zone," "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," "Kung Fu," "The Mod Squad," "Dallas," "Little House on the Prairie," "The A-Team") to the comedies ("The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Leave It to Beaver," "Hazel," "Here's Lucy," "The Doris Day Show," "Phyllis"), Ross will be forever remembered as Lucy Ricardo's director in the classic Vitameatavegamin commercial episode of "I Love Lucy". In other "Lucy" episodes he often played Ricky's publicity agent. He also played Virgil Earp in several episodes of "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp," appeared frequently as a straight man for Jack Benny on his long-running TV show, and played Sheriff Abbott in many of "The Virginian" segments. After several detours, his career waned in the 1970s and he turned to real estate. His last film was a small role in the Chuck Norris film Scorpion. He died of cancer at age 82 on August 12, 1999, and was cremated.
Although versatile character actor and voice extraordinary Henry Corden will forever be associated with, and fondly remembered for, providing the bellicose, gravel-toned rasp of cartoon immortal Fred Flintstone, he enjoyed a long and varied career prior to this distinction, which took up most of his later years. Born in Montreal, Canada, on Tuesday, January 6th, 1920, Henry's family moved to New York while he was still a child.
Henry received his start on stage and radio before heading off to Hollywood in the 1940s. He made his film debut as a minor heavy in the Danny Kaye vehicle The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as Boris Karloff's bestial henchman, and continued on along those same lines, often in un-billed parts. A master at dialects, he was consistently employed as either an ethnic Middle Eastern villain or some sort of streetwise character (club manager, salesman) in 1950s costumed adventures and crime yarns, both broad and serious.
He seldom made it into the prime support ranks, however, with somewhat insignificant parts in Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, The Asphalt Jungle, Viva Zapata!, Scaramouche, I Confess, King Richard and the Crusaders, Jupiter's Darling and The Ten Commandments. On TV he could regularly be found on both drama ("Perry Mason," "The Untouchables") and light comedy ("My Little Margie," "Mister Ed"). A heightened visibility on TV included playing Barbara Eden's genie father on the popular sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie," and the contentious landlord "Mr. Babbitt" on "The Monkees."
Henry made a highly lucrative move into animation in the 1960s supplying a host of brutish voices on such cartoons as "Johnny Quest," "The Jetsons,", "Secret Squirrel," "Atom Ant," "Josie and the Pussycats" and "The Harlem Globetrotters." A well-oiled talent for Hanna-Barbera, he reached his zenith after inheriting the voice of the studio's beloved, boorish Flintstone character after the shows original vocal owner, Alan Reed, passed away in 1977. Corden would go on to give life to Flintstone for nearly three decades on various revamped cartoon series, animated specials and cereal commercials. He was performing as Flintstone, in fact, until about three months prior to his death of emphysema at the age of 85 on Wednesday, May 19th, 2005. Married four times, he was survived by wife Angelina, his two children from his first marriage, and three stepchildren from his last union. Unlike the crass guys and gruff villains he tended to articulate on film and TV, Henry was actually a very humble & modest man, well loved and respected by friends, family and peers.
Appeared as Mike Sommers in the 1964 Perry Mason episode 'Case of the Missing Button' as a witness. Doing illegal lobster trapping he noticed a boat offshore and saw 2 men struggling and a shot fired. He also heard a splash of something being thrown overboard, vital information in solving the case.
Minor league singer/actress Gale Robbins was a knockout-looking hazel-eyed redhead who made a modest dent in post-war Hollywood films. Born Betty Gale Robbins in Chicago, Illinois (some say Mitchell, Indiana) on May 7, 1921, she was the eldest of five daughters of Arthur E., a doctor, and Blanche Robbins, and educated at Chicago's Jennings Seminary at Aurora, Illinois and Flower Tech. Gale had a natural flair for music and appeared in glee clubs and church choirs in the early days. She graduated from her Chicago high school in 1939.
She started out in entertainment as a model for the Vera Jones Modeling School in Chicago, but her singing talents soon took over. Signed by a talent agency, she sang with Phil Levant's outfit in 1940 and later teamed with some male singers for a swing band that called themselves "The Duchess and Her Dukes." She went on to work with some of the top radio and live 'big bands' of that era including the Jan Garber and Hal Kemp orchestras, her best showcase was working for Art Jarrett in 1941 when he took over Kemp's band.
20th Century-Fox caught sight of this slim looker while she was singing for 'Ben Bernie (I)'s outfit and was quickly signed her up, her first film being the pleasant time-filler In the Meantime, Darling. A semi-popular cheesecake pin-up, Gale appeared on the cover of "Yank, The Army Weekly" in 1944, was heard on radio, and toured with Bob Hope in Europe the next year. Her post-war parts, mostly sultry second leads, were typically lightweight in nature. She was often lent out to other studios and not always in a singing mode. Gale's better known film work includes Race Street, The Barkleys of Broadway, Three Little Words, The Fuller Brush Girl and Calamity Jane.
Gale went on to host the Hollywood House and also appeared on The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1951. In the late 50s the gal with the smooth and sexy vocal style released an easy-listening album ("I'm a Dreamer") for the Vik Label backed by Eddie Cano & His Orchestra. She covered such standards as "Them There Eyes" and "What Is This Thing Called Love." After her final film appearance in Quantrill's Raiders and a few additional TV parts on such programs as "Bourbon Street Beat," "77 Sunset Strip," "The Untouchables," "Perry Mason" and "Mister Ed," Gale phased out her career to focus full-time on raising her family.
Married to her high school sweetheart Robert Olson in November of 1943 while he was serving in the Air Force, her husband turned to construction engineering as a career and they had two children. After her 47-year-old husband was tragically killed on February 4, 1967, in a building accident, a distraught Gale, left the States for a time with her two daughters, and decided to make a transatlantic comeback of sorts appearing in nightclubs in Japan and the Orient. She later was glimpsed in the film Stand Up and Be Counted and appeared on stage in Stephen Sondheim's musical "Company" in 1975. She also made ends meet as an interior decorator. Gale died of lung cancer in February of 1980, and interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Kimberlee Peterson was raised most of her life in Colorado. From the time she was born, life was pretty much her stage. Whether she was trying out new moves in dance class or exploring the dangers of gymnastics, the one constant is that she did it with passion and determination. Her family was always amazed and entertained by her "presentation." As a child Kimberlee was slight in stature, had little freckles on her face, was pigeon-toed and inherited her mother's ears.
Growing up was tough as times for this sensitive heart, because sometimes other children made fun of the way she looked. At the tender young age of 4, she did some work in a Perry Mason television show. She continued to navigate towards the arts and at the age of 10, she did some training films for a police department. The response to her performance came with much praise and accolades. It was clear at this point, that she had the innate talent and passion to pursue an acting career. When she was twelve years old she competed in "Hooray For Hollywood" a competition that was held in Los Angeles. She won some awards and had legitimate interest from Hollywood agents and managers. The following year the trek was made to Los Angeles, for pilot season. Kimberlee booked some jobs and became eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild. The writing was on the wall. She had the substance and drive to pursue this love of acting. At the age of fourteen, Kimberlee and her mom went out to Los Angeles, for another pilot season and ended up permanently moving there. When she turned fifteen, she booked the lead in her first film, "Homecoming" opposite the legendary Anne Bancroft. Since that time she has acquired a full resume, working on television shows and film.
Kimberlee's sense of heart is one of the reasons she shines so brightly. Wherever this career takes her, a star truly has been born. She will make a difference in this world, because she's willing to go the distance.
Bright, vivacious leading lady Marlyn Mason was born on August 7, 1940, in San Fernando, California, and began performing at the age of 5. Encouraged and inspired by her parents, she was given singing and piano lessons while young and appeared on the local "Doye O'Dell Show" at age 9. As a young teenager, she was cast in several stage shows with the Players' Ring Theatre troupe in Hollywood, including musical versions of "Tom Sawyer" and "Heidi," as well as the legit plays as "Pick Up Girl" and "The Crucible".
In 1956, the 16-year-old Marlyn moved into TV work with multiple episodes of "Matinee Theatre". Throughout the 1960s, she would establish herself firmly into in the medium with guest parts on all the popular shows at the time. Blessed with an inviting, effervescent smile, she added spark and sparkle to such lightweight sitcoms as "My Three Sons," "Father Knows Best," "Gomer Pyle," "Hey Landlord" and "Occasional Wife," while showing off her dramatic mettle on "Burke's Law," "Ben Casey" (a seven part story), "Dr. Kildare," "Laredo," "Bonanza," "Run for Your Life," "The Invaders" and "Perry Mason" (the original series' final episode). Seldom pigeon-holed, Marlyn offered a palatable range of "good girl" and "bad girl" interps during this productive time -- from the sensual and alluring to the offbeat and freewheeling. One of her more notable "bad girl" roles came in the form of a faithless wife who schemes to murder her lover's wife and set up David Janssen's Richard Kimble character in the process.
Marlyn's early singing lessons paid off later when she was signed to co-star with Robert Goulet, Sally Ann Howes and Peter Falk in a special TV-musical version of Brigadoon, following that with the role of Carrie in Carousel again with Goulet. This, in turn, led to her casting in the George Abbott Broadway musical production of "How Now, Dow Jones," which starred Tony Roberts and Brenda Vaccaro. Though it was only moderately received when it opened in December of 1967 (it lasted 220 performances), Marlyn herself walked away with enthusiastic reviews.
Although the actress made her film debut at the beginning of the 1960s with an unbilled role in Because They're Young starring Dick Clark and Victoria Shaw, Marlyn would not perk up the large screen again until the very end of the decade when she nabbed her best known cinematic part as Elvis Presley's girl in one of his final films. While shooting The Trouble with Girls, she was given the opportunity to share a duet with the legend on the novelty song "Sign of the Zodiac".
The early 1970s brought Marlyn a regular role in the short-lived (one season) but critically acclaimed series _"Longstreet" (1972), as a love interest to James Franciscus. It also presented her with a highly revealing change-of-pace movie role in Making It as a cougar-type housewife who seduces one of her teacher/husband's students (Kristoffer Tabori), and the second femme lead in the Barbara Parkins mystery Christina. An abundance of guest star parts continued pouring in with roles on "Love, American Style," "The Odd Couple," "Vegas" and "Wonder Woman" and others. TV mini-movies became quite the rage as well and Marlyn graced a number of them -- A Storm in Summer, Harpy, Escape, the Emmy Award-winning That Certain Summer, Outrage, Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan, Last of the Good Guys, and The New Adventures of Heidi.
Since the 1980s, Marlyn has continued her career with appearances in film and TV, albeit at a slimmer pace. She earned her first grandmother role on the TV movie Fifteen and Pregnant, and, most recently, has been seen in a few short films in which she worked in front and behind the camera: Model Rules (also writer/producer), Big and The Bag (also writer/producer).
A prolific radio and TV actress, Ms. Mitchell was a regular on such classic radio series as "Fibber McGee and Molly" and "The Great Gildersleeve," and on television, "Pete & Gladys" (Janet Colton), "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" (Marge Thornton), and "Bachelor Father" (Kitty Deveraux). She also made frequent appearances on other TV shows, including "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Perry Mason." Ms. Mitchell's feature film credits include "Desk Set," "Big Business," and "The War of the Roses." Best Known for playing Lucy Ricardo's girlfriend, Marion Strong on I Love Lucy, in "Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress" (Episode #69). She made two more appearances as Marion, on "Lucy's Club Dance", and on "Lucy Tells the Truth". She was the wife of composer Jay Livingston (1915-2001).
He made guest appearances on TV series like Bonanza, Perry Mason, Maverick, The Andy Griffith Show, Wagon Train, The Twilight Zone (the 1963 episode "Death Ship"), Ben Casey, The Outer Limits, The Munsters, The Time Tunnel, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Honey West, Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, The FBI, The Odd Couple, Kung Fu, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones, Dallas, and Lou Grant.
|G. Gordon Liddy
One of the leading European newspapers, Le Matin of Paris, describes G. Gordon Liddy as "a man of fantastic intelligence and complexity." Educated privately by Benedictines and Jesuits, Liddy earned a B.S. degree from Fordham University and an Ll.D. from the Fordham Law School, graduating as an editor of The Fordham Law Review. After two years service as an Army artillery officer during the Korean War, Liddy entered the FBI as a Special Agent, rapidly earned multiple commendations from the late J. Edgar Hoover and, at age 29, became the youngest Bureau Supervisor at FBI national headquarters in Washington, DC, where he served during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. Liddy resigned from the FBI in 1962 to practice international law in Manhattan. Thereafter he served as a prosecutor, ran unsuccessfully for Congress from the 28th district of New York, then in 1968 ran the presidential campaign of Richard Nixon in that district. In the Nixon administration Liddy served first as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury, was then appointed Enforcement Legislative Counsel, authored the Explosives Control Act and, in 1971, was sent to the White House as Staff Assistant to the President of the United States. At the White House Liddy had oversight responsibility for Treasury policy on firearms and explosives and authored the memorandum that led to the creation of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Subsequently he was assigned additional special duties as a member of the top-secret White House Special Investigations Group. He resigned his White House post to accept the positions of General Counsel of the 1972 Republican presidential campaign and the campaign finance committee, with additional duties as campaign political intelligence director. The rest is history. For his role in Watergate, and for refusing to testify against co-conspirators, Liddy was sentenced to over 20 years in prison. He served nearly five years, many in maximum security, including 106 days of solitary confinement, before his release by President Jimmy Carter "in the interests of justice". Rated by the Treasury Department as a pistol expert whose draw and hit was timed electronically by the FBI at 60/100 of a second, Liddy was once assigned by the Secret Service to protect President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He is an FAA licensed pilot and a life member of the Special Operations Association. Today he is the host of "The G. Gordon Liddy Show", a radio program syndicated to 600+ markets that is now in its 13th year. His books have appeared on the "New York Times" best-seller lists and has written four book reviews for the newspaper, in addition to authoring numerous magazine articles, has lectured extensively, from Berkeley to The Oxford Union, and is an actor in motion pictures and television, including guest-starring roles in Miami Vice, Airwolf, MacGyver, Feds, several "Perry Mason" TV movies and and 18 Wheels of Justice. He is also a frequent guest on Fox Television's Hannity & Colmes and MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. In 1992 Liddy enrolled at the Israeli Defense Force Paratroop School at Tel Nov, qualified for and was awarded his wings. He has re-qualified and jumped twice more since, and was given the honor of leading the stick out of the aircraft on his jump in January 2003, with the elite IDF parachute regiment. In August 2003 he rode his Harley-Davidson motorcycle the full 1,846 miles from Washington, DC, to Sturgis, SD, for the 63rd Annual motorcycle festival. He's also ridden with the Los Angeles chapter of Hell's Angels and is a member of the Honor Legion of the New York City Police Department. Liddy and his wife have three sons and two daughters. Four of the five have served as officers in the military. One son is a lawyer who is a two-war combat veteran reserve Lieutenant Colonel in the US Marine Corps, just returned from Baghdad. Another is a career Commander in the US Navy SEALs who is currently assigned to the Pentagon, holds a masters degree from Johns Hopkins and is a Ph.D. candidate at Tulane. Liddy's lecture audiences have ranged from an association of independent over-the-road truck drivers to the Oxford Union and, according to "The Wall Street Journal", he is "one of the most sought-after speakers in the nation."
Though her TV life was relatively short, baby boomer fans still hold a strong, sentimental fondness for actress Cynthia Pepper. An irresistible Barbie Doll TV version of Sandra Dee at the time of her brief small screen reign, the pert, pretty and pixieish actress with the cutest slight overbite proved to be a lovely fresh-faced by-product of the innocent early 60s.
Born Cynthia Anne Culpepper in Hollywood, California on September 4, 1940, she was drawn early to an acting career by her parents, vaudeville and night club entertainer Jack Pepper (ne Edward Jackson Culpepper, 1902-1979)) and his second wife Dawn (Stanton) Pepper (1913-2006), a former dancer who once worked for showman Billy Rose. Her father Jack, who first worked with his two sisters Helen and Winnie Mae in a family act and then a song-and-dance act with Frank Salt called "Salt and Pepper" before headlining as a solo act, also appeared as a character comedian in films. He was previously married and divorced from Ginger Rogers.
Cynthia started out in New York at the tender age of three as a Conover child model. A year or so later she briefly appeared on Broadway in a tiny part in "It's a Gift" starring Julie Harris. Outside of an unbilled part at age 10 in the movie Cheaper by the Dozen, Cynthia did not actively pursue acting until returning to Los Angeles and graduating from Hollywood High School. A year later the 19-year-old married Buck Edwards (ne Mervyn L. Edwards) who was also in the business behind the scenes.
TV opened its doors once she found an agent. One of her first sightings was as a "malt shop girl" in the "Dobie Gillis" comedy series starring Dwayne Hickman. Following that she found work on two popular ABC detective series of 1960, "Bourbon Street Beat" with Richard Long, and "77 Sunset Strip" with Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Roger Smith, and the hair-combing Edd Byrnes [aka Kookie].
Cynthia's career gained major momentum when she won a regular role in the all-male My Three Sons sitcom. As the girlfriend of oldest son Mike (played by Tim Considine), Pepper was sweet and irresistible, ideally suited to represent the squeaky-clean "Camelot" era on the small screen. On the strength of her "My Three Sons" role, the actress was able to move front-and-center as the star of own lightweight series, Margie. Twenty-one at time she was cast as "Roaring 20s" teen flapper Margie Clayton, the powers-that-be smartly placed her comedy in the time slot directly following "My Three Sons" to kickstart the series. Despite the efforts, however, the series ended after only one season, the comedy proving perhaps a bit too mild and meek to satisfy audience tastes.
There was still promise on the horizon for Cynthia as 20th Century-Fox was planning to build another TV series around her. However, the financial debacle of Cleopatra changed all plans and, instead, the studio had to let her go. Filmwise, Pepper had the pleasure of appearing in support of Sandra Dee in the frothy comedy Take Her, She's Mine before winning the co-starring role of PFC Midge Riley opposite Elvis Presley in one of his more ingratiating vehicles Kissin' Cousins. Later that year Pepper returned to the "My Three Sons" set to film one final closure appearance as Considine's (now) former girlfriend. In it her character learns that Mike has become engaged to another woman (Meredith MacRae).
Two subsequent pilots failed to sell and soon Cynthia was being seen with less and less frequency. Assorted TV guest parts during this period included such shows as "Perry Mason," "The Addams Family," "Julia" and "The Flying Nun". Following a guest part on "The Jimmy Stewart Show" in 1972, Cynthia moved completely out of the limelight save for a lone appearance in the TV-movie Crisis in Mid-air.
As for her personal life, Cynthia and husband Mervyn gave birth to their son Michael in 1965, but three years later she and her husband divorced. Cynthia remarried the following year (1969) to James Pazillo and she abandoned her career to focus on this marriage and raising her son.
These days Cynthia can be spotted from time to time at Elvis gatherings or signing autographs at film/TV nostalgic conventions. One can also spot Cynthia visibly recalling her film experience with "The King" in a couple of his video documentaries. Out of nowhere she made a rare showing in the film Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous starring Sandra Bullock.
Ricardo Cortez was born Jacob Krantz in New York City, New York, the son of Sarah (Lefkowitz) and Moses/Morris Krantz, Austrian Jewish immigrants who moved to NY just before he was born. His brother was cinematographer Stanley Cortez, who also changed his surname. Cortez worked a number of jobs while he trained as an actor. When Jacob arrived in Hollywood to work in movies in 1922, the Valentino mania was in full swing. Never shy about changing a name and a background, the studio transformed Jacob Krantz into Latin Lover Ricardo Cortez from Spain. Such was life in Hollywood.
Starting with small parts, the tall, dark Cortez was being groomed by Paramount to be the successor to Rudolph Valentino. But Cortez would never be viewed (or consider himself) as the equal to the late Valentino. A popular star, he was saddled in a number of run-of-the-mill romantic movies which would depend more on his looks than on the script. Pictures like Argentine Love and The Cat's Pajamas did little to extend his range as an actor. He did show that he had some range with his role in Pony Express, but roles like that were few and far between.
With the advent of sound, Cortez made the transition and he would play Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (aka Dangerous Female). Never a great actor, Cortez was cast as the smirking womanizer in a number of films and would soon slide down into 'B' movies. He played a newspaper columnist Is My Face Red?, a home wrecker in A Lost Lady, a killer in Man Hunt and even Perry Mason in The Case of the Black Cat.
After 1936, Cortez hit a lean patch for acting and tried his hand at directing. His career as a director ended after a half dozen movies and his screen career soon followed. He retired from the screen and returned to Wall Street, where he had worked as a runner decades before. This time, he returned as a member of one of Wall Street's top brokerage firms and lived a comfortable life.
Betsy Jones-Moreland once said that she never decided to be an actress, it just happened, one step after the other, and that she resisted all the way. She started out doing office work in New York, working for the organization that owned TV shows like Gabby Hayes and Howdy Doody. To overcome shyness, she took an acting class, and to prove to herself that the strategy had worked, she got a job as a showgirl. This in turn led to a role in road company of the Broadway hit The Solid Gold Cadillac, which took her to California. There, she began appearing in movies, first in small parts at Columbia, followed by leads in Roger Corman movies. She ended her career playing a judge in the 1990s series of Perry Mason movies with Raymond Burr, lifelong animal lover Betsy concentrated on animal rescue work.
She was born Dorothy Anne Dodd on December 29, 1908, in Des Moines, Iowa while her mother was on a trip. This did not appeal to her Southern pride so she said she was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she was actually raised. Her father was a doctor who abandoned her and her mother before she was ten years old. Her mother suffered from tuberculosis and Dorothy was forced to support her. She went to New York at the age of fifteen, lied about her age, and joined the Ziegfeld Follies where she was eventually discovered by Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck.
Zanuck brought her to Hollywood and shepherded her throughout most of her career. She worked for Warner Brothers, Paramount, and Universal. She typically played the conniving "other" woman and could not be cast as a "dumb blonde" because of her cerebral nature and demeanor. Good friends with Bette Davis with whom she worked in Ex-Lady, she worked with everyone from Humphrey Bogart and Errol Flynn to Barbara Stanwyck, and James Cagney. She played Girl Friday Della Street in a couple of the "Perry Mason" mystery film thrillers of the 1930s starring Warren William and in one (The Case of the Velvet Claws), she married Mason, the only Della Street to do so. She played the female lead in In the Navy opposite Dick Powell but received lesser billing, which she claimed was a standard procedure practiced on her in recompense for her aloofness and refusal to go along with the Hollywood system. In fact, one reporter she rebuffed nicknamed her "Ice Bucket" and the reputation stuck.
Claire worked in almost sixty films in twelve years from 1930 to 1942. She quit films and married second husband H. Brand Cooper to whom she gave and raised four children. She undertook and completed this phase of her life after she was forty years old, giving birth to her last child at the age of forty-seven. She was, to say the least, a remarkable woman. She died in the family home from cancer on November 23, 1973.
Born George Shephard Houghton on June 4, 1914, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Shep is the youngest of two sons born to George Henry Houghton and Mabell Viola Shephard. Far from being born into show business, his father was an insurance company representative who moved his family to Hollywood for business reasons in 1927. As luck would have it, they rented a house on Bronson Avenue just two blocks from Paramount Studio's iron front gate, and not far from the Edwin Carreau studio. Picked off the street by an assistant producer, Shep's first work in the movie industry was in 1927 as a Mexican youngster in Carreau's production of Ramona, released in 1928. As a thirteen-year old he also worked in Emil Janning's The Last Command, and continued to work for director Josef von Sternberg in several subsequent pictures. He found movie work to his liking, and out of high school he worked through Central Casting for Mascot Productions, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Fox Film Corporation, and Warner Brother's, where he became a favorite in the Busby Berkeley musicals as a dancer and chorus singer. In 1935 he married Jane Rosily Kellog, his high school sweetheart. Together they had one child, Terrie Lynn, born on September 22, 1939. They were divorced in October, 1945. In 1946 he married Geraldine Farnum, daughter of featured actor Franklin Farnum. They had also one child, Peter William, born August 19, 1947. He and Gerry were divorced in 1948.
Shep was a talent in television from its earliest days. He acted in many recurring roles, beginning with the Jack Benny Program in 1950. That show, and Shep's work in it, lasted until 1965. He worked on many programs through their entire runs, with the notable exception of the original Star Trek of 1966, in which he appeared in only the first three episodes. In addition to these productions, he worked on the I Love Lucy show from 1951 to 1957, and Wagon Train, Perry Mason, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, Mr. Lucky, The Untouchables, and The Twilight Zone, all in the 1950s.
The 1960s brought him steady work in My Three Sons, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Loretta Young Show, both The Lucille Ball Show and the renewed Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, Hogan's Heroes, Mannix, and Marcus Welby. In the 1970s he worked on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Shep was a charter member of both SAG and SEG, and continued to work in both movies and television until his retirement in 1976. He and Mel Carter Houghton were married in 1975, and continue to live happily ever after. She lets him play golf very nearly every day.
The entrancing and exotic-eyed "B"-level leading lady Jody Lawrance, whose 1950's career was spotty at best, provided lovely diversion from the manly adventure movies she helped bring to the screen. Personal turmoil and studio conflicts, however, ultimately hurt her career and the remainder of her life was spent out of the limelight.
She was born Nona Josephine Goddard in Fort Worth, Texas, on October 19, 1930. Her childhood was troubled and disruptive. Parents Ervin S. ("Doc") and Eleanor (née Roeck) Goddard divorced while Jody was a child. Ervin, nicknamed "Doc" although he was not one, was an amateur inventor and research engineer at the Adel Precision Products Company at one point. Moving to Caliornia, he eventually married Grace McGee in 1937. Jody subsequently migrated to California and lived with her father and stepmother in their Van Nuys bungalow. Marilyn Monroe (then Norma Jeane Baker) was a foster child of her stepmother Grace, who knew Norma Jeane's mother when both worked for Columbia -- Grace as a film librarian and and Gladys as a film cutter. Jody and Norma Jeane lived together briefly in 1941-1942.
Jody went on to attend Beverly Hills High School (studying under Benno Schneider and his wife) and the Hollywood Professional School. Excelling as a swimmer, Jody's first shot was appearing in a water show operated by Larry Crosby, who was also a publicity manager for famous younger brother Bing Crosby.
The teenager was awarded her first on-camera professional part on the TV show "The Silver Theatre" in 1949. Because her real name, Nona Goddard, lacked glamor, she changed it to Jody (short for Josephine, her middle name) Lawrance (her maternal grandmother's maiden name). Jody's drama teacher Schneider managed to get her an introduction to Columbia. The studio took an immediate interest in the 19-year-old beauty and signed her to a 7-year contract at $250 per week.
Jody made four relatively strong films in 1951. She provided damsel-in-distress duty in her screen debut between up-and-coming screen hero John Derek and established villain Anthony Quinn in the spirited swashbuckler Mask of the Avenger. This was followed by The Family Secret playing the altruistic fiancée to a murder suspect (again, John Derek. Things looked even more promising when she co-starred an exotic love interest to robust Burt Lancaster in the Eastern adventure yarn Ten Tall Men. Her final film that year was a horror opus portraying the fiancée to Louis Hayward as the The Son of Dr. Jekyll.
She started the following year off with the adventure film The Brigand opposite handsome, sliver-eyed Anthony Dexter, better known for his captivating Valentino-like looks than for his acting ability. In 1953 career problems surfaced when the studio assigned Jody, who had now completed six film projects, to a lackluster role in one of its minor musicals, a poor man's version of "On the Town" entitled All Ashore which starred sailors-on-leave Mickey Rooney, Dick Haymes and Ray McDonald. Peggy Ryan, Barbara Bates and Jody were cast as their the love interests. Set this time on California's Catalina Island instead of New York, Jody balked at the assignment while citing a lack of confidence in her singing and dancing abilities. She ask the studio to replace her but Columbia refused and the actress begrudgingly filmed the movie. Her "difficulty" with the studio on this assignment ultimately led to a break of her contract. Feeling overlooked by the studio at the time, she supposedly did not regret her release too much.
On her own, however, the quality of Jody's films declined markedly with her the "Poverty Row" independent film, the subpar and highly distorted biographical piece Captain John Smith and Pocahontas again starring Anthony Dexter. It was revealed that Jody suffered a frightening allergic reaction on the set after dying her lighter hair jet black for the role. Among many other problems, the 23-year old, blue-eyed actress was quite miscast in the role of the much younger Indian maiden. The released film was a dismal failure and Jody's career suffered as a result.
Finding almost no offers in 1954-1955 and in order to make ends meet, Jody took on employment as an ice cream shop waitress near the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. The story goes that one day one of her customers was her former co-star Burt Lancaster. He came to her aid by introducing her to his friend, director Michael Curtiz, who reignited her career with his minor film noir The Scarlet Hour which starred Tom Tryon and had Jody playing a second femme role behind Carol Ohmart, who was being built up as Paramount's supposed answer to a difficult Marilyn Monroe at the time. Jody was promoted as one of the "Deb Stars of 1955" along with other hopefuls including Cathy Crosby, Anita Ekberg, Mara Corday, Marisa Pavan and Lori Nelson, among other lesser knowns.
Back on the boards again, Jody revived her look on screen as a blonde again. Things looked hopeful when Paramount Studios signed her to a contract, earning $300 a week. In the spiritual drama The Leather Saint, she plays a platinum-blonde nightclub singer (and even sings a bit of "I'm in the Mood for Love" in the film) and temptress to (once again) John Derek whose Episcople minister agonizes over his decision to box for money in order help medically finance church/community projects for special needs children.
Things fell apart once more, however, when Paramount released her the following year. It seems that the studio was perturbed when, while promoting her to the public as a sexy single, Jody resisted the cheesecake angle and also secretly married Bruce Tilton (1930-2007), an airplane parts company executive, in Las Vegas on April 7, 1956. A daughter, Victoria, was born a year later.
She remained unproductive career-wise during this period of new marriage and more family. By April of 1958, however, the Tilton marriage had dissolved and a bitter custody suit ensued (in the end, Jody lost). While she returned to the screen, the pickings were slim. She landed minor parts in the Shirley Booth vehicle Hot Spell and Barry Sullivan film The Purple Gang, and found isolated work on TV in such dramatic fare as "Perry Mason," "The Loretta Young Show" and "The Rebel". Her last screen role of any substance was the minor western Stagecoach to Dancers' Rock starring Martin Landau.
Jody met second husband Robert Wolf Herre and they married in November of 1962. Two children, Robert Jr. and Abigail ("Chrissy") were born from this relationship. Other than an isolated TV appearance on "The Red Skelton Show" in 1968, little was heard of Jody following this period until it was learned that she had died in Ojai, California on July 10, 1986, at age 55.
This svelte, sultry-eyed brunette made a mark in one significant (some consider "ultimate") film noir classic helmed by Robert Aldrich in the mid-1950s -- and then, within a short time, she vanished. Another in the long line of pretty and promising actresses who traded in their career for marriage to a well-established Hollywood industry member, Maxine Cooper would be spotted on camera here and there after that but, for all intents and purposes, she settled into her life as Mrs. Sy Gomberg and the mother of two daughters (Marsha (born in 1958) and Katherine (born in 1964).
Maxine was born on May 12, 1924, in Chicago,Illinois, the daughter of Richard, a General Electric distributor, and Gladys Cooper. She took college studies at Bennington College in Vermont, and while there became drawn to the theater. She moved West in the mid-1940s and furthered her training at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. In 1946, she went to Europe to entertain the soldiers and decided to settle in England, appearing on the BBC-TV and in a number of London theater productions for nearly five years.
Maxine eventually returned to Los Angeles and broke into TV here with featured roles in such popular shows as "Dragnet," "Perry Mason" and "The Twilight Zone". She was noticed by film director Aldrich while appearing in a Los Angeles stage production of "Peer Gynt" and he cast her in what would be his seminal "B" noir Kiss Me Deadly. Loosely based on the Mickey Spillane novel, Maxine made an enduring impression as Velda, faithful gal Friday to cynical private eye Mike Hammer (played by Ralph Meeker). The movie not only marked the film debut of Maxine, but also that of Cloris Leachman, whose ill-fated blonde sets the story in motion. Maxine never again made the same kind of impression in films. Within a couple of years she would retire. She did, however, appear rather obscurely in two more films for Aldrich -- the Joan Crawford starrer Autumn Leaves, and, years after her self-imposed retirement, the Grand Guignol classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, which also starred Crawford and Bette Davis. She also was seen much later in the TV-movie High Ice, written by her husband.
Maxine married Oscar-nominated writer Sy Gomberg near Reno, Nevada, in 1957, and that was essentially that. Although her primary focus was raising her family, she also became a strong supporter of civil rights. She and her husband were among those who helped organize and represent the Hollywood film and TV contingency during the 1960s march on Montgomery, Alabama, alongside Martin Luther King. She also became an active protester of the Vietnam War and nuclear armament.
In later years Maxine pursued photography as a hobby. Some of her photographs were used as illustrations in the popular Howard Fast book "The Art of Zen Meditation". Her husband, who contributed to Collier's Weekly and the Saturday Evening Post and who taught screenwriting at the University of Southern California for over ten years, preceded her in death, suffering a massive heart attack at age 82 in 2001. Maxine passed away of natural causes less than a decade later on April 4, 2009, at her Los Angeles home.
|Erle Stanley Gardner
Erle Stanley Gardner, the prolific pulp fiction writer best known for creating the fictional lawyer Perry Mason; Della Street, Mason's secretary; private detective Paul Drake, Mason's favorite investigator; and Hamilton Burger, the district attorney with the worst won-lost record in the history of fictional jurisprudence, was born in in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1889, the son of a mining engineer. The family soon moved to Portland, Oregon, and later to the Klondike during the Gold Rush. Eventually, the Gardners settled in Oroville, California, a small mining town.
Young Earle graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1909, but his college education was cut short when he was expelled from Valparaiso University in Indiana early in his freshman year for fighting. The young Erle led a wild life, as befits a child of the Klondike and mining towns. He was to remain an ardent sportsman and traveler throughout his life. He also spoke fluent Chinese.
The wild young Mr. Garnder supported himself as a boxer and as a promoter of illegal wrestling matches. Eventually, fate was to intervene. While working as a typist in a California law office, he became intrigued by the subject and decided to make it his profession. In the first half of the 20th century, lawyers did not attend law school but gained their education via practical experience, i.e., working in a law office. Law school was for those who intended to teach the law or become judges. Without formal instruction, Garnder passed the bar examination and was admitted to the California Bar in 1911, opening his first law office in Merced, California, when he was 21 years old.
Initially, business was bad, but his Chinese fluency enabled him to make a living defending Chinese clients, who dubbed him "T'ai chong tze" ("The Big Lawyer"). Gardner moved south to Ventura, where he went into practice with another attorney in 1918. Gardner soon quit practicing law for three years, instead working as a salesman for the Consolidated Sales Co. He married Natalie Frances Talbert in 1921, the year he returned to Ventura and the practice of the law. He was a practicing attorney for the next 12 years.
In the early 1920s, Gardner began writing for the pulp fiction magazines under the pseudonym Charles M. Green, the first of many pen names he would use during his career. Gardner wrote strictly for the money, but he had a flair for it, and his mystery short stories were popular and proved highly salable. He soon became a quite successful writer. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Gardner "wrote nearly 100 detective and mystery novels that sold more than 1,000,000 copies each, making him easily the best-selling American writer of his time."
Gardner established himself a major contributor to the Black Mask, the most famous of all the pulp magazines. He wrote stories about Gentleman Rogue Lester Leith, Sidney Zoom (The Master of Disguise and the King of Chinatown). After the Great Depression set in, Gardner began writing western stories for a penny a word. A 1931 trip to China gave birth to Major Copely Brane, International Adventurer. That same year, he began using a Dictaphone to dictate his stories to. Gardner had averaged 66,000 typed words a week (10% longer than F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby). After dictating a story, Gardener's secretary would transcribe the recordings.
Perry Mason debuted in 1933 with two stories, The Case of the Velvet Claws and The Case of the Sulky Girl, and proved instantly popular. The first Perry Mason film, The Case of the Howling Dog was made the next year by Warner Bros.-First National, with Warren William as Perry Mason, ably supported by future Oscar-winner Mary Astor and character actor Allen Jenkins. Williams returned the following year in The Case of the Curious Bride and The Case of the Lucky Legs, the former helmed by Michael Curtiz, one of Warner's top directors who won his first Oscar nomination for directing Alex Hakobian that same year. Curtiz eventually won his Oscar for directing Casablanca.
The following year, at RKO, granite-chinned heart-throb Richard Dix played Gardner's detective Bill Fenwick in the B-movie Special Investigator. Meanwhile, back at Warner Bros., William Warren reprised the role of Perrry Mason in The Case of the Velvet Claws before handing the role over to former silent-film superstar Ricardo Cortez. Cortez had played Sam Spade in the original The Maltese Falcon, and at whom the immortal line, "Who's the dame in my kimono?" was directed. In The Case of the Black Cat, the series was foisted off on the B-unit. Donald Woods, who had made his film debut eight years earlier in the silent picture Motorboat Mamas, took over the role for the final entry in the Warner Bros. series, The Case of the Stuttering Bishop. Despite Ann Dvorak being cast as Della Street, it proved the last appearance of Perry Mason on-screen for 20 years, with the exception of his veiled appearance under another name in Granny Get Your Gun, which was based on the Perry Mason novel "The Case of the Dangerous Dowager."
After 1940, a Gardner work would never again appear on the big screen, though Perry Mason was to achieve immortality on TVs as they became ubiquitous in American homes. Perry Mason, which had some success as a radio show on CBS, moved to television in a one-hour format on 1957 and was a smash hit. The series ran until actor Raymond Burr, the definitive small-screen attorney, tired of the role in 1966. The TV series was revived in 1989 as made-for-TV movies, starting with "The Case of Too Many Murders" (1989), written by Thomas Chastain.
Due to his prodigious output, Garnder had to resort to pseudonyms so that his works wouldn't flood the market and depress their value. His most famous pen name was that of A.A. Fair. Gardner had a staff of secretaries to transcribe his dictation. He married one of his long-serving secretaries in 1968, after the death of his wife Natalie, from whom he had been estranged from since 1935.
Out of necessity, Gardner developed formulaic characters and plots, though each book was worked out extensively in his own longhand, including the final courtroom confrontation, before he sat down to dictate it. Graduating from Black Mask in the late 1930s, most of the Perry Mason novels were serialized by the Saturday Evening Post before they were published in book form. Gardner's connection with that magazine lasted 20 years.
As a lawyer, Gardner became the bane of the legal establishment when he helped co-founding The Case Review Committee (colloquially known as the Court of Last Resort), a professional association of concerned lawyers who sought to investigate and reopen cases wherein a person might have been wrongly convicted serious crime. Beside Gardner, other founders included LeMoyne Snyder, a physician and lawyer who wrote well-regarded text books concerning homicide investigations; Dr. Leonorde Keeler, a pioneer and authority in the use of the polygraph in criminal proceedings; former American Academy of Scientific Investigators President Alex Gregory (another polygraph expert who replaced Dr. Keeler after his death), renowned handwriting expert Clark Sellers, and former Walla Walla Penitentiary warden Tom Smith. The Mystery Writers of America bestowed its prestigious Fact Crime Edgar Award on Gardner in 1952, for his non-fiction book The Court of Last Resort, which detailed one of the Court's first investigations.
The most prominent case the Court was involved with was the murder conviction of Dr. Samuel Sheppard, who staunchly proclaimed his innocence of the murder of his wife. The Sheppard case provided the basis for the fictional The Fugitive TV show.) During the initial phases of the Sheppard appeal, Gardner polygraphed members of the Sheppard family. He had hoped if the results were favorable, he would then administer the lie detector test to Sam Sheppard himself. However, when Sheppard family members were tested, the polygraph results indicated guilty knowledge. Consequently Gardner declined to test Sam Sheppard, and the Court of Last Resort withdrew from the case, even though Gardner believed in Sheppard's innocence. Sheppard was later freed by a Supreme Court decision that held that Sheppard had not gotten a fair trial due to pre-trial publicity that tainted the juror pool. The Supreme Court case was won by F. Lee Bailey, who also won acquittal for Sheppard during the subsequent retrial. Polygraph tests have never been allowed into evidence in a U.S. court due to their unreliability. Gardner ended his active membership in the Court of Last Resort in 1960. The Court - which conducted preliminary investigations of at least 8,000 cases -- eventually disbanded.
Gardner died on March 11, 1970, at his home, Rancho del Paisano, in Temecula, California. His last Perry Mason mystery, "The Case of the Postponed Murder" was published in 1973.
Maura McGiveney was born Mary Alish McGiveney on February 28, 1939 in Stockport, England, the daughter of "quick change" actor Owen McGiveney and Elizabeth Hughes. She studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and first came to Hollywood to work in film, appearing in an uncredited role as an attendant in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). Primarily working in television, she was in several episodes of Perry Mason and Hawaii 5-0, and also appeared in Dr. Kildare, McHale's Navy, The Virginian, Laredo and My Three Sons.
McGiveney earned a Golden Globe nomination from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as Most Promising Newcomer of 1966 for her role as Claire Hackett in the farcical comedy Do Not Disturb, with Doris Day and Rod Taylor. On stage, she appeared in Harvey, The Second City, and The Fantasticks, among other productions.
Maura was a comedian and singer as well as an actress. In what she hoped to be her ticket to fame, she appeared in Turn-On, a projected series similar to the successful TV show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Turn-On's sole episode aired February 5, 1969, with the curvaceous McGiveney as "The Body Politic," a member of the repertory company. The rather sexually explicit themes, jokes and remarks led to ABC affiliates refusing to broadcast the second episode, and the sponsor Bristol-Myers immediately cancelled it, even though five shows were filmed and twenty-one more were planned. Maura said, "I still can't understand it. We were all so sure it was going to be a big hit."
On January 10, 1972, she married longtime on-and-off boyfriend William Szathmary, also known on television as Bill Dana, in Las Vegas, NV. The couple were divorced four months later in Los Angeles.
Maura McGiveney died of cirrhosis of the liver on November 10, 1990 in Sherman Oaks, CA. at the age of 51.
Fred Silverman was born in 1937, and quickly grew up into the television business. After starting out in the mail-room of ABC-TV in the late 1950s, he rose to director of program development at WGN-TV, Chicago in the early 60s. One day, he abandoned his car during a snowstorm and boarded a plane for New York, where he gained a position as head of Daytime Programming at CBS-TV. In 1970, he became the programming head of CBS, where he programmed such hits as Mary Tyler Moore, All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Jeffersons, Kojak and The Sonny and Cher Show. In 1975, he left for ABC-TV, where he worked closely with Michael Eisner and Brandon Tartikoff. He developed such new hits as Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat, Donny and Marie and Soap. By the end of the 1977-1978 season, ABC was number one, Daytime and Nigttime. In 1978, he joined NBC as President and CEO. His presence helped stem the audience erosion of the prior 5 years with new programs such as Diff'rent Strokes, Real People and Hill Street Blues. During his tenure, he made program commitments that led to St. Elsewhere and Cheers, promoted Brandon Tartikoff to President of Entertainment and laid the groundwork for NBC's turnaround in the 80s. Management changes at parent RCA led to Silverman's departure in June, 1981 and his replacement by Grant Tinker. Silverman formed "The Fred Silverman Company" and became an independent producer. Among his successes were "Perry Mason Movies", Matlock, In the Heat of the Night, Jake and the Fatman and Diagnosis Murder. Silverman remains in the independent production business and also does program consulting.
Fetching secondary actress June Travis was signed by Warner Bros. in 1934 and made her film debut the following year, but would last only three years before leaving Hollywood forever and focusing on marriage. Born June Dorothea Grabiner on August 7, 1914, she was the daughter of Harry Grabiner who was team secretary and/or vice-president of both the Cleveland Indians and (later) Chicago White Sox. Harry would go on to be remembered for his famous diaries of his experiences.
The Chicago-born, green-eyed brunette beauty attended Parkside Grammar School and the Starrett School for Girls while growing up. Spotted by a talent agent while watching a White Sox spring training session, she moved to Los Angeles upon graduation where she studied drama at the University of California. It was not long before her sunny looks and eye-catching figure were noticed by talent scouts.
At age 20 she signed a Warner Bros. contract and paid her dues throughout 1935 apprenticing in decorative extra parts (hat check girl, cigarette girl, party guest, gun moll). She earned her first co-starring role the following year opposite Barton MacLane in the crime programmer Jailbreak. Other actresses of her ilk would appear from time to time in smaller roles in "A" pictures for added exposure, but such would not be the case for June. Such Hollywood escorts around town included Howard Hughes and Ronald Reagan.
Gridlocked in the "B" category for the duration of her career, some of her modest highlights would include the Perry Mason whodunnit The Case of the Black Cat in which she essayed the role of secretary Della Street alongside Ricardo Cortez's noted crimesolver; Ceiling Zero, a lesser Howard Hawks film about war pilots starring Pat O'Brien and James Cagney; two slapstick movies as the love interest to comedian Joe E. Brown -- Earthworm Tractors and The Gladiator; the mystery Love Is on the Air opposite Ronald Reagan, who was making his feature film bow here; two comic features capitalizing on radio personality Joe Penner -- Go Chase Yourself and Mr. Doodle Kicks Off; and a comic strip film version of Little Orphan Annie Although June was top-billed in Circus Girl and Over the Goal, the films came and went with little impression made. All in all, she was usually called upon to divert the proceedings and blandly back up the rugged "B" tough guys at Warners -- a roster which then included Paul Kelly, Dick Purcell, Dick Foran and Wayne Morris. After co-starring in Federal Man-Hunt, she handed Hollywood her walking papers at age 24.
By 1939 she had returned to Chicago and never looked back. In January of 1940 June married Chicago businessman Fred Friedlob and the couple eventually had two daughters, Cathy and June Jr., and settled in the Lincoln Park area. June Sr. filmed only twice more, playing a featured role in the Bette Davis vehicle The Star, and, for reasons completely unknown, agreed to play a role in the bogus horror opus Monster a-Go Go. The middle-aged June became a vibrant member of the social and theater community there. In 1968, she helped inaugurate the Joseph Jefferson Awards to honor Chicago's best in theater. She also appeared in summer stock on the East Coast, and played everything from Goneril opposite Morris Carnovsky in "King Lear" at Chicago's Goodman Theatre to an expectant middle-aged mother alongside Forrest Tucker in "Never Too Late." Other plays included "A View from the Bridge", "Life With Father" (also with Tucker); "The Pleasure of His Company" with Douglas Fairbanks Jr.; "The Philadelphia Story" with Jackie O's sister Lee Radziwill and "I Found April" starring Jeanne Crain.
Long retired, June's husband died in May 1979 after nearly 40 years of marriage. She, who has two children, Kathy and June (Jr.), never remarried but was the companion of Erwin Gruen, a master metalworker in later years. He died in 2006. June herself passed away on April 14, 2008, in a Chicago hospital of complications from a stroke she suffered weeks earlier. She was 93.
|Stacy A. Littlejohn
Stacy A. Littlejohn boasts a highly successful, 15-plus-year career as a writer and producer in the entertainment industry. She is one of a select few African American women to bear the distinguished title of Showrunner. Some of Littlejohn's writing credits include The Wanda Sykes Show, Will Smith's All of Us, Barbershop, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, Life with Bonnie, and The Hughleys. In her latest project, Single Ladies (now in it's 2nd season), Stacy serves as Creator, Head Writer and Executive Producer. Queen Latifah also serves as an Executive Producer on the show.
Littlejohn was born and raised in the Bay Area. Even at an early age her aptitude for entertainment was evident. Though predominantly known as the class clown for eliciting laughter from her schoolmates, Littlejohn's penchant for finishing assignments ahead of schedule had her English teacher challenging her creativity with daily, additional writing assignments, at which she excelled.
Stacy grew up watching the legal drama Perry Mason, convinced she would become a criminal defense attorney in the years to come. But when the strain between her smart mouth and mother's hot temper could withstand no more, Stacy found herself on the street left to fend for herself. Her quick-witted solution to her housing and educational dilemma: The University of California, Berkeley, in which she enrolled immediately.
While working four jobs to ensure her degree in Political Science, the attorney-in-training one day realized that to excel in criminal defense, which she knew she would, would inevitably involve setting a number of criminals free. This weighed heavily on her conscience and prompted a reevaluation. And it was at this point in her life when she realized it was actually the storytelling aspect of those Perry Mason episodes that she had loved so much, thus causing her to re-direct her focus into the field of Mass Communications.
Stacy relocated to Los Angeles, and in response to the seemingly ubiquitous suggestions that she work as a PA, spent the next several months scouring the yellow pages and calling every studio in town while sleeping on friend's couches and in her car. She finally landed a job as a PA on Fox's The Last Frontier - a show which she never even saw since she couldn't afford a television. But after a mere 3 months, having had her fill with PAing, Stacy pushed forward in the direction of writing and secured the gig as a Writer's Assistant to Matt Wickline and John Bowman on The Show.
Stacy next moved on to Moesha, but the impression she left on Wickline had him asking her back to work on a show he was creating for D.L. Hughley. The break marked Stacy's first official foray into writing for the small screen, on which her name would now appear - just as it had for those writers she had awed as a child on Perry Mason.
Stacy soon became known around town for her "punch up" on pilots and joke-writing skills, and after One on One, Life with Bonnie, Half & Half, Platinum, Cedric the Entertainer Presents and Barbershop, a significant turn came about when she found herself working for the multi-talented Will Smith on All of Us, who was so impressed by her work that he flew her to New York to help him on re-writes for the blockbuster Hitch.
The much-publicized Writers' Strike of 2007-2008 marked the first time Stacy had been unemployed since the age of 16; it also marked the first time in her life she was pitching shows and being met with "noes." Concerned she had lost her magical touch, and with some unexpected time on her hands, Stacy dug into a script she had been writing called Modern Love. VH1's Maggie Malina read the script and was so impressed with Stacy's writing style that she asked her to create a show about modern women with differing ideas on the subject of love. Stacy responded with Keisha and Val, the sexy and ever-opinionated divas of VH1's first-ever hour-long scripted series Single Ladies.
When it comes to producing, Littlejohn relishes the creative control. As she says, "I like it to go my way." And when it comes to writing, she loves taking that emotional journey to evoke conversation amongst viewers while touching millions of people's lives.
|DeWolf Hopper Sr.
Best-known for performing the most popular baseball poem, "Casey at the Bat." Filmed as one of the first talkies, 5 years before The Jazz Singer, Casey at the Bat, was included in Ken Burns' Baseball. Hopper, a fervent New York Giant fan, first performed the then-unknown poem to the Giants and Chicago Cubs, on the day his friend, Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Tim Keefe had his record 19 game winning streak stopped, August 14, 1888. The dying General William T. Sherman was also in the audience that evening, along with Keefe and his brother-in-law shortstop/attorney John Montgomery Ward. 2 months later the Giants won New York's first world championship.
Hopper recited Casey for almost 40 years in films, on stage, records, radio etc. Known as the "Husband of His Country" for his 6 marriages. He became totally hairless, with blue-tinged skin, possibly from reaction to a patent medicine. Even so, his powerful voice and great sense of humor mesmerized women all his life. One of his wives was the gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. Their son, the white-maned William Hopper, played private investigator Paul Drake on Perry Mason for many years.
Darkly handsome and extremely personable, actor/singer Byron Palmer's heyday was in the late 1940s and 1950s where his resonant speaking and singing voice became his primary moneymaker. The Los Angeles native was born on June 21, 1920, the second of four children of Etheleyn and Judge Harlan G. Palmer. His father was publisher of the then-Hollywood Citizen News.
Following high school, Byron attended Occidental College in the L.A. area and earned money writing up obituaries for his father's newspaper before being hired as a CBS page. Blessed with a fine speaking voice he eventually found work on both NBC and CBS radio as an announcer and actor. His career was interrupted by World War II in which he served in the Army Air Force and operated a radio station on one of the islands in the Pacific. He also performed with the Music Mates singing quartet as its tenor.
Following a gig as an emcee for the touring "Hollywood on Ice" show, he earned a second lead role as Jack Chesney opposite Ray Bolger and Allyn Ann McLerie in the huge musical hit "Where's Charley" in 1948. Among his songs were the title tune and "The New Ashmolian Marching Society..." as well as a couple of duets alongside his female second lead Doretta Morrow ("My Darling, My Darling" and "At the Red Rose Cotillion"). He earned the 1949 Theatre World Award for his efforts here. A couple of years later he returned to Broadway with a number of songs in the revue "Bless You All" in which he shared the stage with Pearl Bailey, Gene Barry, Jules Munshin and Mary McCarty.
On TV Byron hosted the program Bride and Groom, which featured on-the-air weddings and doled out beautiful prizes for its televised newlyweds. Byron made his large screen debut with a strong featured role in the glossy musical bio Tonight We Sing starring David Wayne (as impresario Sol Hurok) and Anne Bancroft, while featuring the operatic talents of icons Ezio Pinza and Roberta Peters. Although Byron had a fine voice of his own, his singing was dubbed by legendary tenor Jan Peerce in this. The actor then went on to play opposite Constance Smith as a Scotland Yard inspector in the legit thriller Man in the Attic starring Jack Palance as the notorious Jack the Ripper, and also had the male second lead in the "Ma and Pa Kettle" comedic entry Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki. The following year he was featured in the horse drama Glory starring a now-grown-up Margaret O'Brien and was fourth-billed in the detective drama Emergency Hospital. He completed the year with a guest singing part in Gordon MacRae starrer The Best Things in Life Are Free in which he covered the tune "If I Had a Talking Picture of You".
Unable to break out of his staid second-lead movie status, Byron instead made a dent on TV. He appeared with Joan Weldon in the popular syndicated musical program This Is Your Music with the pair performing some of America's best-loved songs, including "Fools Rush In" and others, while celebrating the works of such illustrious composers as Johnny Mercer. A one-time emcee for the "Miss Universe" and "Miss International Beauty" pageants, he also showed up as a guest in episodes of "Lawman" and "Perry Mason," among others, before he dropped off the radar in the mid-1960s.
Following his divorces from JoAnn Ransom and singer/actress Ruth Hampton, who appeared in a few 1950s films, Byron found long-lasting happiness with lovely actress and former ballerina Georgine Darcy, best known for her cameo role as "Miss Torso" in the Alfred Hitchcock classic Rear Window. In later years the couple performed together in a cruise-ship musical act. Their marriage lasted 30 years until her death in July of 2004. Byron died at age 89 of age-related causes on September 30, 2009, at Cedar-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, and was survived by daughter Linda and son Gregory.
Began her career as Los Angeles' first female disc jockey on radio station KMPC. The actress became a regular on Peyton Place which was based on a Grace Metalious novel and 1957 movie of the same title. Considered scandalous for its time, the show depicted the extramarital affairs, dark secrets and skulduggery of residents of a small New England town called Peyton Place. Scott played Ada Jacks on the original TV series from 1965 to 1969, reprised the role on Return to Peyton Place from 1972 to 1974 and did it again for the 1985 TV movie _Peyton Place: The Next Generation (1985)(TV)_. Born in Brockton, Mass., the blue-eyed, red-haired Scott came to Los Angeles for a career in show business. She started out as a disc jockey, the area's first woman in that role, spinning records for KMPC's early morning "Wake-Up" show and then became a singing DJ on KHJ's similar "Rise and Shine" morning program. Scott began acting in local companies, including the Stage Society, West Coast Theater, Civic Playhouse and Pasadena Playhouse. In the 1950s, she had small roles in a handful of motion pictures, including _Wicked Woman (1954)_, The Green-Eyed Blonde and I Want to Live! starring Susan Hayward. Scott also appeared in episodes of such popular TV series as "Bonanza", "Gunsmoke" and "Perry Mason". In her private life, Scott was involved for many years as a board member of Portals House Inc., a center to aid mentally troubled people. She also was a fund-raiser and major supporter of OPICA Adult Day Care, which aids senior citizens, and regularly recruited friends to help serve dinner to the homeless at Skid Row centers. Formerly married to blacklisted writer Gene Stone, Scott married importer Urban S. Hirsch Jr. in 1961. She is survived by Hirsch and three stepchildren, Urban III, Rita and Karen.
Veteran character actor Kurt Richards was known in Hollywood as Jonathan Kidd after a producer suggested he change his name.
Under the name Richards, he appeared in 16 Broadway productions, including ''Anastasia,'' ''Come Back Little Sheba,'' ''My Sister Eileen,'' ''King Lear,'' ''A Streetcar Named Desire,'' ''Hamlet,'' ''Julius Caesar'' and ''Burlesque.''
When he came to Hollywood, he changed his name and had roles in ''Wink of an Eye,'' ''Macabre,'' ''Can Can,'' ''The One and Only Genuine, Original Family Band'' and ''Operation Eichmann.''
He also was billed as Kidd in such TV series as ''Perry Mason,'' ''Sea Hunt,'' ''Mannix,'' ''Rawhide,'' ''Dr. Kildare'' and ''General Hospital.''
He died after surgery for an aorta aneurysm. Richards was age 73 when he died Dec. 15 at Good Samaritan Hospital.
Born in New York City, Ms. Carter's acting, directing and producing career has spanned the Atlantic, performing in England and France, on Broadway numerous times, on national tours as well as in California and Arizona where she now resides.
After winning the "Anne Baxter Scholarship" at Theodore Irvine's School of Theatre in New York City awarded previously to Anne Bancroft and Clark Gable, and already interested in directing and producing, Ms. Carter started her own theatre company, The Professional Experimental Guild at the Hotel Des Artistes. Betsy Blair, John Dahl and John Forsythe were members of the avant-garde young group, which disbanded after the first season when Ms. Carter rapidly became a member of that rare breed, a working actress and could no longer devote all her efforts to the Company she founded. She was selected as the resident ingénue at the Ivoryton, Connecticut Playhouse in the tradition of her childhood stage heroine, Katherine Hepburn.
On Broadway, Lynne was seen in Vicki directed by Jose Ferrer, starring Uta Hagen, Red Buttons and Jose Ferrer and written by Around the World in 80 Days' renowned Sig Herzig; A Young Man's Fancy; Hear that Trumpet; Round Trip; The Legal Grounds; Panama Hattie revival starring Ethyl Merman and Victor Moore; and Sea Legs. National Tours include Native Son, directed by Orson Welles and starring Canada Lee; A Goose for the Gander directed by Harold J. Kennedy, and starring Gloria Swanson and Ralph Forbes; and Ladies of the Corridor starring Maureen O'Sullivan, Arlene Francis, and Lilia Skala; Good Night Ladies starring Stu Irwin and Skeets Gallagher.
Her films include Port of New York starring Yul Brynner, Richard Rober, K.T. Stevens, and Scott Brady; and Experiment Alcatraz starring John Howard and Joan Dixon. She performed for Warner Brothers in a series of Vitaphone short musical films as a contract player.
TV credits include Sunday with Lynne, As the World Turns, Weekly Newscasts, and General Hospital.
Ms. Carter directed and produced Lead Me Gently by Marjorie Ralson-Metz, featuring the Lynne Carter Company with a cast of twenty, starring Peggy Thorpe Bates and Brian Quilton at the New Lindsey Theatre, Nottingham Gate, London. In Hollywood, Lynne and Bill Talman co-produced Honest John directed by Bill Talman, written by Buddy Ebsen, co-starring Buddy and Lynne.
Among those actors with whom Miss Carter appeared or directed are Orson Welles, John Carradine, Yul Brynner, John Forsythe, Craig Stevens, Buddy Ebsen, Maureen O'Sullivan, Ralph Forbes, Paul Robeson, Ethel Barrymore, William Talman, Elka Chase and Jose Ferrer.
Lynne was represented in Hollywood by her agent the late Lou Sherell and her press representative Sir Richard Gully.
Lynne Carter was married to the late William Talman, while acting on Broadway with him. Bill later appeared in the Perry Mason TV series for many years as Hamilton Burger while Lynne continued to act, direct and produce in TV and theatre. Bill appeared in nine "film noir" movies. She resides in the Phoenix area.
Writer/director/producer Lee Madden was born in 1926 in Brooklyn, New York City. Madden's debut film was the enjoyable biker crime caper heist yarn "Hell's Angels '69;" this movie featured various members of the real Oakland Hell's Angels led by then president Sonny Barger and was the sole motion picture the motorcycle club directly participated in. Lee's other films include the equally entertaining biker outing "Angel Unchained," the creepy horror opus "The Night God Screamed," and the fun drive-in exploitation romp "The Manhandlers." Moreover, Madden also directed episodes of the TV series "The Most Deadly Game," "Bearcats!," "Cade's County," and "The New Perry Mason." His company Lee Madden Associates was a major supplier of industrial movies and TV commercials for primarily automobile companies. Lee's son David is the executive vice president of programming at Fox Television Studios. Madden died at age 82 of complications from pneumonia on April 9, 2009 in Camarillo, California.
Landmark television pioneer Ben Brady was born and grew up in New York City, where he entered the entertainment business early, singing in the children's chorus in "Carmen" at the Metropolitan Opera. After graduating CCNY, he obtained his law doctorate from St. Lawrence University while writing radio episodes to support himself, including the well-loved serials "The Thin Man," "Inner Sanctum," "Mr. & Mrs. North," and "Cavalcade."
As an entertainment attorney, Brady represented actor Bert Lahr and band leader Paul Whiteman, among other theatrical clients. In addition, he starred in his own radio shows, "Brooding with Brady," on WMCA, and "And So to Brady," on WEAF. After America entered World War II, he became the head of radio production in the US Army's Sixth Service Command and wrote a weekly network series for "Service Time" on WABC, entitled "Weapons for Victory." He also took on a special assignment to develop musical programming for wounded service personnel, writing, directing, and producing programs and singalong albums starring such luminaries as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, and Eddie Cantor, which were sent to military hospitals worldwide.
After the war he relocated to Hollywood and began to write radio programs such as "The Dinah Shore Show" and "The Steve Allen Show." He also wrote comedy material for "Ozzie and Harriet," as well as for Groucho Marx and Fred Allen. As television became a viable medium, he developed and produced "The Ken Murray Show" in New York and "The Red Skelton Show" in Los Angeles, where he met guest Johnny Carson. He then went on to produce "The Johnny Carson Show."
In the late fifties, Brady collaborated with popular author Erle Stanley Gardner to develop the hour-length format for the classic "Perry Mason" television series, of which he produced the first seventy episodes, casting as the lead Raymond Burr, an actor who had previously been typecast in films as a villain. He then went on to produce the first of three iconic Western series, "Have Gun - Will Travel," starring Richard Boone.
In 1957 Brady also founded and become president of the Television Producers Guild. A few years later, in 1962, he collaborated with Screen Producers Guild president Walter Mirisch to merge the two unions, forming the Producers Guild of America, of which he became a lifetime member.
That same year, Brady was hired as VP in charge of programming for ABC-TV, where he green-lit such series as "Peyton Place," television's first primetime soap opera (which introduced Ryan O'Neal and Mia Farrow), and the classic crime series "The F.B.I.," along with the pilot of "The Outer Limits." It became yet another legendary series that he subsequently produced and for which he hired established science fiction authors such as Harlan Ellison to create scripts for what became award-winning episodes, despite the fact that he had inherited the show when it was destined for cancellation and was struggling with budgets that were far too small. After the show ended, he became VP in charge of programs for United Artists Television.
Returning to one of his favorite genres, he later executive produced "Rawhide," with Clint Eastwood, who had previously been the second lead, as the star of the series. Brady also established the first black continuing character in a Western. He then created and wrote "The Outcasts" for ABC, in which one of the leading characters was a former slave who became the partner of a white bounty hunter. In the racially troubled sixties, this was the first African American leading role in a Western, and the series was an acknowledged predecessor to the recent Tarantino film "Django Unchained."
In the early seventies, Ben Brady was an executive producer at CBS when he was asked to teach at California State University, Northridge. There he developed the screenwriting section of the Radio/TV/Film department, bringing in many professional film and television writers as instructors. During his subsequent career as a full professor with tenure, Dr. Brady authored published books that included Keys to Writing for Television and Film, The Understructure of Writing for Film & Television, and Principles of Adaptation for Film and Television.
Ben Brady passed away in 2003 and was survived by his wife, Estelle; his son, manager/producer David Brady; his daughter, writer/editor/performer Deanna Brady, and his grandson, producer Devon Brady.
|Ed McDermott II
Born in Hollywood California, Ed McDermott recently nominated for outstanding performance by a stunt ensemble in a motion picture for The Dark Knight Rises and television for Sons of Anarchy began work in the motion picture business at a young age due to the fact that his parents were both involved in television. Edward McDermott was in the wardrobe department on such shows as Perry Mason, Dan August and Cannon. His mother an Actress on Commercials, Television Shows and Movies which include Cleopatra, Hello Dolly, The Ten Commandments and The Buccaneer. Ed was involved with his Uncle, Tom Anthony as well, where he learned his driving skills with Tom Anthony's Stunt Driving Team. Over time he was shown the tricks of the trade along side some of the best stunt players in the movie industry. His sister Mickey McDermott is also involved in the motion picture business.
Special Effects man. Supervised effects on the original Star Trek TV series; nominated for Emmy award (1966-1967). Worked on special effects crew for many other TV shows: Cannon, Barnaby Jones, Hawaii 5-0, Mission Impossible, Stagecoach West, Broken Arrow, Perry Mason, others. Contributed to effects on several films: Silent Running, Mary Poppins, River of No Return, Deerslayer, others. Retired in 1981.