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Rick Vallin Poster

Biography

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Overview (4)

Born in Feodosiya, Crimea
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameEric George Efron
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Reliable "B" character actor Rick Vallin had the rangy physique, prominent cheekbones and swarthy look ideal for rugged films. In the 1940s and '50s he was seen almost everywhere -- in mysteries, musicals, oaters and, especially, the ever-popular edge-of-your-seat cliffhangers. Born in Russia in 1919, he was the son of Nedja Yatsenko, an aspiring ballerina. He came to America while still young. By the time he was in his late teens, he was doing stock productions and had somehow elbowed his way into the radio and movie business. He later joined the Pasadena Playhouse in 1942.

After a few years of unbilled parts, he finally made some leeway in "poverty row" pictures and received his first co-star billing in the whodunnit film The Panther's Claw (1942) with Sidney Blackmer. He also showed promising leading man material in such films as Secrets of a Co-Ed (1942), Smart Guy (1943), Secrets of a Sorority Girl (1945), and Two Blondes and a Redhead (1947). He played the first of many Indians in the serial Perils of the Royal Mounted (1942) and the feature-length King of the Stallions (1942). Vallin found himself caught between a rock and a hard place, however, when it came to moving up. In the minds of studio filmmakers, he had a tight "B" movie image and found any advance to the "A" ranks an almost impossibility. Making do, he continued along on the lowbudget assembly-line, appearing in a few of the Bowery Boys capers such as Clancy Street Boys (1943) and Ghosts on the Loose (1943) and the Charlie Chan mystery Dangerous Money (1946).

By the late 1940s Vallin had moved considerably down the credits list. He forged a successful union with Columbia Studios where he kept active in minor roles in Johnny Weissmuller's "Jungle Jim" movies, including Jungle Jim (1948), Captive Girl (1950), Jungle Manhunt (1951), and Voodoo Tiger (1952) playing both civil and savage natives. Vallin also became a mainstay in Columbia's serials that started with The Sea Hound (1947). Usually a shady or villainous character, he showed up in several including Batman and Robin (1949), Cody of the Pony Express (1950), Son of Geronimo: Apache Avenger (1952), King of the Congo (1952), and Perils of the Wilderness (1956), one of the last multi-chaptered serials ever made. Occasionally he stood out more when cast as the hero's dullish sidekick such as in the cliffhangers Brick Bradford (1947), Blackhawk: Fearless Champion of Freedom (1952), Riding with Buffalo Bill (1954), and Adventures of Captain Africa, Mighty Jungle Avenger! (1955), but, for the most part, his leaden look and dark complexion kept him a secondary villain (henchman, outlaw) or ethnic type (Indian, Arab, Russian).

Vallin also picked up dusty work on most of the popular 50s western TV series: "Cowboy G-Men," "Annie Oakley," "Wild Bill Hickok," "The Lone Ranger" and both Gene Autry and Roy Rogers' weekly shows. Work grew scarce in the late 1950s unfortunately, and he developed a drug problem, retiring in 1967. One of his last programs was a guest role on "Daniel Boone." Vallin died a decade later in Los Angeles at age 57, and was buried in Eden Memorial Park in Chatsworth, California.

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

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