John Derek Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trivia (22)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
Died in Santa Maria, California, USA  (heart problems)
Birth NameDerek Delevan Harris
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

John Derek was born on August 12, 1926 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA as Derek Delevan Harris. He was an actor and director, known for The Ten Commandments (1956), Ghosts Can't Do It (1989) and Bolero (1984). He was married to Bo Derek, Linda Evans, Ursula Andress and Pati Behrs. He died on May 22, 1998 in Santa Maria, California.

Family (3)

Spouse Bo Derek (10 June 1976 - 22 May 1998)  (his death)
Linda Evans (1968 - 1975)  (divorced)
Ursula Andress (2 February 1957 - 25 April 1966)  (divorced)
Pati Behrs (9 October 1948 - 3 April 1956)  (divorced)  (2 children)
Children Russell Andre Derek
Sean Catherine Derek
Parents Lawson Harris
Dolores Johnson

Trivia (22)

In voting for 1981's RAZZIE Awards for Worst Achievements in Film, Derek's direction of Tarzan the Ape Man (1981) (starring his wife Bo Derek) and Michael Cimino's direction of the legendary debacle Heaven's Gate (1980) ran neck-and-neck. A mere handful of late ballots threw the Worst Director nod to Cimino.
Photographed the last three of his four wives for Playboy magazine.
Father of Russell Andre Derek (1950-1999) and Sean Catherine Derek (born 1953) with Pati Behrs.
Son Russell was paralyzed from the chest down due to a motorcycle accident in 1969.
In 1944 he was drafted into the United States Army and serviced in the Philippines during the last days of World War II.
Walked out on first wife Pati Behrs and their family in 1955 for a pre-fame Ursula Andress, who had recently immigrated to the U.S. from Italy and spoke almost no English at the time. Behrs threatened to bring a morals charge against Derek for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which could've meant deportation for Andress.
In 1973, left third wife Linda Evans for seventeen-year-old Bo Derek (then Cathy Collins) during the shooting of Fantasies (1981) on the island of Mykonos in Greece. The film's backers were from a church organization and there was concern they would have John arrested for statutory rape. To evade charges the couple moved to Munich, Germany, then to Tijuana, Mexico until Bo's eighteenth birthday.
He and Bo lived on a 32-acre ranch in Santa Ynez Valley. One of their neighbors was Michael Jackson.
Granddaughter, Alyce Derek (Russell's daughter) born 28 June 1969.
Became a great-grandfather on November 14, 1996.
Legally changed his name from Derek Harris to John Derek. [September 1950]
Ex-father-in-law of Lynette Berry, who was married to Russell from 1968 to 1983.
Suffered a mild heart attack. [June 1986]
John and his wife Bo Derek were many of the Hollywood celebrities who liked to make regular weekend visits to Ralph Helfer Africa U.S.A. Exotic Animal Ranch in Soledad Canyon, California to pitch in with the chores and play with the animals.
Appeared in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: Since You Went Away (1944), All the King's Men (1949) and The Ten Commandments (1956), with All the King's Men winning in the category.
In his 1956 divorce from Pati Behrs, she was granted custody of the couple's two children, 5% of his salary as well as child support.
Daughter Sean Catherine Derek and third wife Linda Evans have been best friends for over 50 years and live near each other in Washington state.
It is often carelessly and erroneously stated (even by reputable journalists such as Barbara Walters) that Derek "left" his second wife Ursula Andress for third wife Linda Evans, which is bullshit. Derek threw Andress out of his California home in 1964 over suspicions that she'd been cheating on him with Ron Ely. Andress then went back to Europe, having affairs with John Richardson and Marcello Mastroianni before officially leaving Derek for Jean-Paul Belmondo in February 1965. Derek didn't even meet Linda Evans until September 1965.
Always gave the spelling of his middle name as Dullivan, but his birth certificate says Delevan.
First, second and fourth marriages all occurred in Las Vegas; third was in Tijuana.
Impressed by his performance in The Ten Commandments (1956), Paramount submitted his name for consideration in the Best Supporting Actor category of the 29th Academy Awards. He failed to receive a nomination, however.

Personal Quotes (1)

[on the interview with Cecil B. DeMille that led to his being cast in DeMille's final film] He was disappointed in my stature. He wanted me for the part of Joshua, the stonecutter, in The Ten Commandments (1956). He had studied me for months and knew more about me than I knew about myself. I was so used to being rushed through interviews that I stumbled over my words for the first fifteen minutes to get out everything I wanted to say. An hour and a half later I was still in there with him. A burning desire to play Joshua and a new enthusiasm for acting actually filled me. Finally, I told him that by the time he was ready to shoot, I would build up my body by scaling it down from one hundred eighty-five pounds to the proportions he wanted by weight lifting and I would be the best Joshua he could find.

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