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Luke Halpin Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (17)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (3)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameLuke Austin Halpin
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Luke Austin Halpin was born in Astoria, Queens, New York, the youngest of three children of Helen Joan (Szczepanski) and Eugene A. Halpin. His father was of Irish and German descent, and his maternal grandparents were Polish.

Luke's acting career started when a music teacher encouraged him to try out acting. Luke turned out to be a natural; his film debut was in the Studio One in Hollywood (1948) episode entitled "Miracle at Potter's Farm," starring Natalie Wood. His performance was well-received, and when he was in his mid-teens, he had already appeared in many TV series and in film as well. His big break when he was picked to star in the film Flipper (1963), which co-starred Chuck Connors. The film was a major success and spawned a sequel, Flipper's New Adventure (1964), which subsequently led to a highly successful TV series. But when the series was canceled, he was unable to maintain his career momentum, and he eventually faded from the public eye. He subsequently retired from acting. However, he remains well-known around the world, where the "Flipper" series continues to run in syndication.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: anonymous

Spouse (3)

Deborah Jane Durrell (1 August 1991 - present) ( 1 child)
Judy Suzanne Meyer (19 November 1977 - 15 October 1987) ( divorced) ( 2 children)
Patricia Warren Ott (25 January 1971 - ?) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Cut off jean shorts - in "Flippers New Adventure" Luke wore just cut offs for 90% of the movie
Known for his mop of beach blond hair that would fall on his face and he'd flip back
Known for his tanned ripped swimmer's torso as he did many scenes in Flipper shirtless

Trivia (17)

Lives in Florida, where he works as a pilot and marine technician for a film production company. [2005]
Days before his 14th birthday acted opposite Broadway luminaries Burgess Meredith and Zero Mostel in the critically acclaimed avant-garde play "Waiting for Godot" broadcast on the prestigious "Play of the Week" TV show.
Sang and danced with famous actress Mary Martin in the Peter Pan TV Movie aged 13.
Apart from the dolphins who 'played' Flipper, he was the only actor to act in all the Flipper related productions starting with the Flipper movie (filmed 1962), its sequel and the 3 seasons of the TV series (ending in 1967) playing the 12-year-old to 18-year-old Sandy Ricks.
Did all his own water-related stunt work including all underwater scenes and even a few scenes involving sharks.
In Season 3 of the Flipper TV series he was age 19 and joined the National Guard and, as a consequence, had to be filmed with shorter hair.
In 1959/1960 a 12/13 year old Luke acted with TV and theater icon Jackie Gleason in "Take Me Along"; a musical production at the Shubert Theater in Los Angeles. Fast forward to 1964 and Luke's star role in Season 1 of the Flipper TV season debuts at 730pm on NBC's Saturday night line up head to head with Jackie Gleason's very long running "American Scene Magazine" show on CBS virtually matching its viewership rating and debuting in the Top 25 shows of the 1964/65 season.
In March 1964 days before his 17th birthday Luke appeared as a contestant on the long running game show "To Tell The Truth" (where one real person is accompanied on stage by two other people pretending to be that person and a celebrity panel question all three and try and choose the real person). One of the 4 celebrity panelists was Orson Bean and he disqualified himself because he knew Luke when they acted together 7 years earlier on a Studio One TV show called "Christmas Surprise". In the end 2 of the 3 other panelists correctly pick the real Luke and when Orson Bean told how he knew Luke, he described him as "a splendid actor".
When the first Flipper movie was released in 1963, Luke traveled to New York for the premier. LIFE magazine was doing a photo shoot and did not believe that he rode on the back of Mitzi the dolphin so they interviewed Director Ivan Tors, Writer and Producer Ricou Browning and Luke separately to verify that he had indeed rode the dolphin like a horse as seen in the movie.
After the success of the first movie "Flipper", Luke was cast in the lead role in the sequel "Flipper's New Adventure" which was filmed into early 1964 but released in summer that year just before the debut of Season 1 of the Flipper TV series. Producer Ivan Tors had already negotiated the TV series with NBC during the filming of FNA but needed to submit a pilot episode. The pilot was filmed starting the day after the last scene for FNA was filmed in 1964. Luke is wearing a red T-shirt in that scene and sports the same red T-shirt in the TV pilot. It was screened as episode 3 "SOS Dolphin" in 1964 and Luke at 16 is noticeably younger than he was in season 1 episodes filmed later in the year when he was 17.
Screenwriter/Producer Ricou Browning wrote a Flipper book based on the ancient Spartan Greek legend of the dolphin who rescued the son of Poseidon; Taras and the book was turned into the first "Flipper" movie by Director Ivan Tors. As a tribute to Luke Halpin's excellent acting as the boy on the dolphin, Tors found an antique coin from the Spartan city of Taras (a colony in Italy) who adopted the 'boy on the dolphin' as their founding symbol and put the image onto their coinage. Tors had the coin restored, coated in gold and mounted on a ring and he gave it to Luke. Luke wore that ring in every scene after he received it and it can be seen in many episodes of the Flipper TV series and also TV shows and movies he did as an adult years after Flipper.
Luke is of one quarter Irish, one quarter German, and one half Polish, descent. His paternal grandfather, Luke A. Halpin, was the son of Irish immigrants, and his paternal grandmother, Adeline T. Blessinger, was of German descent. Luke's maternal grandparents, Helen and Will Szczepanski, were both Polish.
During the filming of "Flipper's New Adventure" in the fall of 1963 Luke injured his arm and it had to be in a sling so the directors had to postpone filming of shots he was in until he healed. He is pictured in the sling in a skiff watching dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry train Susie (the main dolphin star in FNA) how to throw a live fish into the skiff in O'Barry's book "Behind the Dolphin Smile".
In 1968 when he was 21, Luke played the part of a student radical called Bo in the iconic British movie "It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium". Bo pursues a 19 year old girl called Shelly whose parents Fred and Edna Ferguson have joined a coach tour around Europe expressly to get their daughter away from a boyfriend back in the US. Edna is played by Peggy Cass who is perhaps more famous for her frequent appearances as a panelists in TV shows spanning from the early 60's to the 80's. She was a regular on "To Tell The Truth" in the it's heyday and was one of the four panelists when Luke appeared on TTTT in March 1964 in between the filming of the "Flipper's New Adventure" movie and the first season of the "Flipper" TV series. She was the only panelist to chose one of the imposter Luke Halpins.
In 2015 it was announced he has stage IV head and neck cancer.
In 2016 it was reported that he was in remission for cancer but was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
He was to direct the film "Where is My Rainbow," to be filmed in Macon, Georgia, in January 1981, produced by Rainbow Film Productions, but it never materialized.

Personal Quotes (1)

That's part of the problem with being a kid actor. When your show's over, nobody informs you that your career's over, too.

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