Victor Mature Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (5)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (18)  | Personal Quotes (18)  | Salary (8)

Overview (5)

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Died in Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA  (leukemia)
Birth NameVictor John Mature
Nicknames Beautiful Hunk of Man
The Hunk
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

American leading man Victor John Mature was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Clara P. (Ackley) and Marcellus George Mature, a cutler and knife sharpener. His father, born Marcello Gelindo Maturi in Pinzolo, Trentino, was Italian, and his mother was of Swiss-German and German descent. Mature worked as a teenager with his father as a salesman for butcher supplies. Hoping to become an actor, he studied at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. He auditioned for Gone with the Wind (1939) for the role ultimately played by his fellow Playhouse student, George Reeves. After achieving some acclaim in his first few films, he served in the Coast Guard in World War II. Mature became one of Hollywood's busiest and most popular actors after the war, though rarely was he given the critical respect he often deserved. His roles in John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946) and in Henry Hathaway's Kiss of Death (1947) were among his finest work, though he moved more and more frequently into more exotic roles in films like Samson and Delilah (1949) and The Egyptian (1954). Never an energetic actor nor one of great artistic pretensions, he nevertheless continued as a Hollywood stalwart both in programme and in more prominent films like The Robe (1953). More interested in golf than acting, his appearances diminished through the 1960s, but he made a stunning comeback of sorts in a hilarious romp as a very Victor Mature-like actor in Neil Simon's After the Fox (1966). Golf eventually took over his activities and, after a cameo as Samson's father in a TV remake of his own "Samson and Delilah" (Samson and Delilah (1984)), he retired for good. Rumors occasionally surfaced of another comeback, most notably in a never-realized remake of Red River (1948) with Sylvester Stallone, but none came to fruition. He died of cancer at his Rancho Santa Fe, California, home in 1999.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (5)

Loretta G. Sebena (22 February 1974 - 4 August 1999) ( his death)
Adrienne Joy Urwick (27 September 1959 - 6 February 1969) ( divorced)
Dorothy Stanford Berry (28 February 1948 - 8 November 1955) ( divorced)
Martha Stephenson Kemp (17 June 1941 - 10 February 1943) ( divorced)
Frances Charles (30 January 1938 - 1940) ( annulled)

Trade Mark (2)

Before Charlton Heston, Victor Mature dominated the "biblical epic" genre, starring in Samson and Delilah (1949), The Robe (1953) , and Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)
Making use of his powerful physique, he became associated with "beefcake" scenes involving bondage and torture. In "Samson and Delilah" (1949) he was blinded and forced to turn a gristmill. In "The Robe" (1953) he suffered while stretched out on a torture-table inside a Roman dungeon. In "Zarak" (1957) he endured two separate floggings. In "Timbuktu" (1959) he found himself staked out, spreadeagle style, under a dangling tarantula.

Trivia (18)

Daughter, Victoria, born in 1975.
He was a petty officer in the Coast Guard during World War II. He served on the troop transport ship Admiral Mayo. His service carried him to the North Atlantic, including Normandy, the Mediterranean, Caribbean and many islands in the South Pacific. He was on Okinawa when the A-bomb was dropped on Japan.
Victor's father, Marcello Gelindo Maturi (later Marcellus George Mature), a knife sharpener and cutler, was born in 1877 in the town of Pinzolo, in the Italian Tyrolean region of Trentino, which was then under the rule of the Austria-Hungary Empire, and was returned to Italian sovereignty in 1918, after WWI. Victor's mother, Clara P. (Ackley), was born in Kentucky. Victor's maternal grandfather, Charles Anthony "Antone" Ackley, was a Swiss immigrant, of Swiss-German descent, while Victor's maternal grandmother, Magdalen "Lena" Weekes, was born in Indiana, to German parents.
Applying for membership in the swank Los Angeles Country Club at the height of his fame, Mature was turned down and told that the golfing facility did not accept actors as members. His response: "I'm not an actor - and I've got 64 films to prove it!".
He attributed his success in Biblical spectacles to his ability to "make with the holy look."
Was color-blind.
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 389-390. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Attended the Kentucky Military Academy. One of his classmates was future fellow actor, Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo and Thurston Howell III in Gilligan's Island (1964)).
In Zarak (1956) he played perhaps the only title character in the movies to be flogged to death.
Although several sources suggest that Mature's family name was originally Maturi, United States and Austrian birth, immigration, census and other records, as well as Victor Mature himself, are quite clear that as of 1877, the family name was Mature.
In her autobiography, Esther Williams details a passionate affair she had with Mature during the filming of Million Dollar Mermaid (1952). According to Williams, her marriage was on the rocks, she needed love and Mature provided all she wanted.
He was a Republican.
Featured in "Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir" by Karen Burroughs Hannsberry (McFarland, 2003).
A false story has circulated that George Reeves auditioned for the role of Samson in Samson and Delilah (1949), but lost the role to Mature. Supposedly, he was given the role of "Wounded Messenger" at the recommendation of Mature, who was very loyal to his friends from his student days at the Pasadena Community Playhouse. The fact is that Reeves was never under consideration for the role of Samson. However, many of the smaller roles in the film were played by Mature's friends from Pasadena.
Was approached for the role of Sylvester Stallone's father in Oscar (1991), which eventually went to Kirk Douglas.
Was originally going to star with Robert Wagner and Debra Paget in The Proud Ones (1956).
Is buried in St. Michael Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.
Despite his physique and his tough guy persona, Mature was a man of many fears and phobias. Not only did he refuse to wrestle a tame movie lion for Samson and Delilah (1949)--a film that Groucho Marx famously said he would not go to see because "the leading man's tits are bigger than the leading lady's"--but during the jawbone battle, the wind machine kicked up some particularly violent gusts, and Mature fled the sound stage for his dressing room, hiding in terror. According to Cecil B. DeMille biographer Charles Higham, the director publicly humiliated him, using his megaphone to ensure that cast and crew all heard him.

Personal Quotes (18)

I'm no actor, and I've got 64 pictures to prove it.
If you're so concerned about fucking privacy, don't become a fucking actor!
Actually, I am a golfer. That is my real occupation. I never was an actor. Ask anybody, particularly the critics.
[When asked if it bothered him to play Samson's father in a TV-movie remake (Samson and Delilah (1984)) of his early film, 35 years earlier, in 1949 (Samson and Delilah (1949)) in which he played Samson, he answered] If the money's right, I'd play his mother!
[about the movie Head (1968)] I don't understand it. All I know is it makes me laugh.
[on Samson and Delilah (1949)] Samson wasn't exactly bad for me. How can you go wrong in a picture that is going to pull in 17 million and maybe as high as 20? Why, I'm getting fan mail from places all over the world that I've never heard of before.
I'm an emotional actor. When I'm doing a scene, I really believe it. I live the part as long as I'm in the scene.
[of his decision to retire from acting at age 46] It wasn't fun anymore. I was OK financially, so I thought what the hell... I'll become a professional loafer.
I was never that crazy about acting. I had a compulsion to earn money, not to act. So, I worked as an actor until I could afford to retire. I wanted to quit while I could still enjoy life... I like to loaf. Everyone told me I would go crazy or die if I quit working. Yeah? Well, what a lovely way to die.
I'm pretty proud of about 50% of my motion pictures. 'Demetrius and the Gladiators' wasn't bad. 'The Robe' and 'Samson and Delilah' weren't bad. I made 72 of them and I made close to $18 million. So, what the hell? Now I can retire and enjoy life.
Kiss of Death (1947) and then Samson and Delilah (1949) were very important to my career. The success of Death, I'm sure, helped me to get Samson and Delilah, and Delilah led to many good roles in pictures like The Robe (1953) and Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954).
Hedy Lamarr, who plays Delilah [in Samson and Delilah (1949)], was gorgeous - George Barnes, who photographed the picture, said to me, "You can shoot her from any angle. She has no bad angles." But I don't think she was well during the picture. Nothing chronic, she was just somehow out of sorts. Let me put it another way: she was not exactly a ball of fire - she just seemed to be loping along. But we got along okay, worked well together, and the camera picked up her beauty and mystique.
In a scene with 3,000 extras, if one guy in the back was picking his nose, Mr. DeMille would spot it and stop everything to chew him out.
DeMille hired the best people in town for his films, and since we were all professionals he didn't feel he had to direct us too much. He figured we knew our jobs. He'd say a few words to us, then shoot the scene. But he didn't miss a trick.
[1992] When Samson and Delilah came out, I received very flattering telegrams from Mr. DeMille and another pioneer filmmaker, Jesse L. Lasky, whose son, Jesse, Jr., had written the screenplay. I still have them.
[1992] Recently, I was asked to play Sylvester Stallone's father in a movie, so I gave them my price. It's been a few weeks now and I haven't heard, so it's probably not going to happen. But that's okay, I don't need the work. My father was rich and I took good care of my own money.
Cecil B. DeMille, the producer-director of Samson and Delilah, always saw all of Hollywood to find the best people for his spectaculars. So when I got the call, I wasn't all that anxious to come in for the interview from Laguna, where I was living then. I thought, "Well he's seeing everyone and now it's my turn." Meeting him in his office at Paramount, I found that he had an extensive knowledge of my entire career - that's how thorough he was. When the interview lasted four hours, I knew I was in. While we were talking he mentioned that he was having difficulty casting another important role, the Saran of Gaza. After he described the character to me I said, "It's got to be George Sanders." And he not only signed me to play Samson, but George Sanders to play the Saran of Gaza.
One time he [Cecil B. DeMille] came up to me and said, "Victor, my boy. We're ready to do the scene where you fight the lion. We have a real lion, but he's very tame, a very sweet old lion. His name is Jackie. When you fight him, I'd like you to put your head in his mouth. Now don't worry; nothing can happen - Jackie has no teeth." I said, "Mr. DeMille, I don't even want to be gummed!" I did not do the stunt. No way! Not if there were six people holding Jackie by the tail!

Salary (8)

The Housekeeper's Daughter (1939) $100 /week
One Million B.C. (1940) $250 /week
The Shanghai Gesture (1941) $450 /week
Song of the Islands (1942) $1,250 /week
My Gal Sal (1942) $1,250 /week
Three Little Girls in Blue (1946) $3,000 /week
Samson and Delilah (1949) $50,000
China Doll (1958) $125,000

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page