Frank Morrison Spillane (March 9, 1918 – July 17, 2006), better known as Mickey Spillane, was an American crime novelist, whose stories often feature his signature detective character, Mike Hammer. More than 225 million copies of his books have sold internationally. Spillane was also an occasional actor, once even playing Hammer himself
A charming but often miscast leading actress, with a tough style reminiscent of Barbara Stanwyck, Lola Albright was shown at her best in “A Cold Wind in August” (1961). She won the Best Actress award at the 1966 Berlin Film Festival for her performance in “Lord Love a Duck” as Tuesday Weld’s mother who turns suicidal when she thinks she has ruined her daughter’s life. Albright was also known to TV viewers as Edie Hart, the girlfriend of Craig Stevens’ “Peter Gunn” (NBC, 1958-60; ABC 1960-61).
Albright was a switchboard operator, stenographer and photographer’s model while doing bit dramatic roles to learn her craft. She made her film debut with a small part in “The Pirate” (1948), with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. She was seen with Garland and Fred Astaire in “Easter Parade” (also 1948) but won her first real notices as the wife of a boxing match manipulator who becomes involved with a fighter (Kirk Douglas) in “Champion” (1948). Some of her roles were unchallenging, such as in “The Tender Trap” (1955), where Albright was merely one of the women in Frank Sinatra’s life. Yet, for all the programmers, there were shots such as “A Cold Wind in August,” in which Albright again won critical acclaim, this time for playing an aging stripper. Albright’s film career petered out around 1968, the year she played David Niven’s wife and the mother of a nubile teen-age daughter in “The Impossible Years.”
Unlike other film actors who were slow to take the plunge into TV, Albright was actively working in the medium from 1951, when she guest-starred in two episodes of “Lux Video Theatre.” Throughout the 50s, she appeared made numerous guest appearances, including several during the 1955-56 TV season as a love interest on “The Bob Cummings Show.” Albright was on “Peter Gunn” for its entire three-season run and, in 1965, replaced an ailing Dorothy Malone for part of the season on “Peyton Place” (ABC). She continued appearing on episodics, particularly those of Universal TV, into the early 80s. She never really clicked in TV-movies, appearing in only three: the thrillers “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” (NBC, 1967) and “Terraces” (NBC, 1977) and the melodramatic “Delta County, U.S.A.” (ABC, 1977).
Barry Brown (April 19, 1951 – June 25, 1978) was an American author, playwright and actor who performed on stage and in television dramas and feature films, notably as Frederick Winterbourne in Peter Bogdanovich‘s Daisy Miller (1974), adapted from the classic Henry James novella (1878). Bogdanovich praised Brown’s contribution to the film, describing him as “the only American actor you can believe ever read a book.”
Born Barry Brown in San Jose, California, he was the eldest child of Donald Bernard Brown and Vivian Brown (née Agrillo). His sister was the actress Marilyn Brown, who committed suicide in 1997 at the age of 44. His brother is the novelist James Brown (Final Performance, Hot Wire), who etched an intimate portrait of their dysfunctional family in his acclaimed memoir, The Los Angeles Diaries, published by HarperCollins in 2003.
Brown was 19 when he made his first major screen appearance in Halls of Anger (1970), followed by The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972) and his breakthrough role as the American Civil War draft dodger Drew Dixon in Robert Benton‘s critically acclaimed Bad Company (1972), co-starring with Jeff Bridges. The publicity and promotion for this film was capped by an article in Esquire introducing filmgoers to the “dashing, brooding Brown” in color photographs by Chris von Wangenheim, along with a text mention of Brown’s obituary collection focusing on little-known and forgotten Hollywood personalities.
After playing opposite Cybill Shepherd in Daisy Miller, Brown concentrated on television throughout the 1970s, including the TV movie The Disappearance of Aimee(1976), about evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, and numerous TV episodes. His final features were the crime drama The Ultimate Thrill (1974) and Joe Dante‘sPiranha (1978).
An authority on actors and film history, Brown was a contributor to Scream Queens: Heroines of the Horrors by Calvin Beck and Bhob Stewart. Published by Macmillan in 1978, the book features illustrated biographical profiles of 29 fantasy film actresses and directors. Brown did a similar survey, the unpublished Unsung Heroes of the Horrors, covering the lives of some lesser known Hollywood talents, and he also contributed to various magazines, including Films in Review and Castle of Frankenstein. The book Who Was Who on Screen Third Edition, by Evelyn Mack Truett was dedicated to Brown, whom she credited with giving data support for the previous edition.
Brown’s marriage to Jennie Vlahos on March 4, 1972 ended in divorce May 1972. In June 1978, Brown committed suicide at his home in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California.
A wide-ranging character actor with Broadway experience, Bissell entered films in 1943 with “Holy Matrimony” and went on to appear in over 80 more. specializing as ineffectual types and high-strung professionals. He is perhaps best remembered for his role as the scientist who turned Michael Landon into a wolfman in “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” (1957).
When Brandon De Wilde died in a motorcycle accident in July 1972 he was only 30 years old but in that short lifetime he had starred in several films now considered classics, been nominated for an Academy Award®, won a Golden Globe, been the first child actor to win a Donaldson Award (for his theatrical debut at the age of seven), had his own television series, hung out with The Beatles, Gram Parsons and Jim Morrison, was the father of a young son and had been divorced twice.
Andre Brandon De Wilde was born into a theatrical family on April 9, 1942 in Brooklyn and spent his early life in Baldwin, Long Island. His father Frederick A. “Fritz” De Wilde was an actor and a Broadway stage manager and his mother Eugenia was a part-time actress on Broadway. Despite his surroundings Brandon did not show any interest in acting until 1949 when a friend of his father was casting a play by Carson McCullers, The Member of the Wedding and was looking for a young boy and thought Brandon might be good. As Virginia Spencer Carr wrote in her book Understanding Carson McCullers, “[Ethel] Waters and Julie Harris had been signed for the principal roles, and every part was cast except for the role of John Henry West, which was assigned, finally, to five year old [sic] Brandon De Wilde, who had never acted before and could not read. The child’s father, Fritz De Wilde (who was cast as Jarvis Addams, the bride-groom) read the entire play aloud to him to help him learn his lines and in the process, young Brandon learned the lines of everyone else as well, much to the chagrin of Waters, whom he prompted regularly until she told him, ‘Now honey, I don’t want you to bother me anymore.'”
De Wilde was a natural and received critical acclaim for his performance from no less an authority than the legendary actor John Gielgud, who wrote in a letter to a friend, “I saw an excellent play yesterday Member of the Wedding […] The little boy from next door [Brandon De Wilde] a child of eight, gives a wonderful performance and serves as an almost silent chorus, representing the youngest generation. He is on the stage playing all through the hysterical scenes of the young girl, sometimes vaguely aware of what it all means, sometimes just bored and longing for notice, and sometimes just thinking to himself all done with extraordinary subtlety and emphasis.”
Having received the Donaldson Award for his performance, he was signed by director Fred Zinnemann to reprise his role in the film adaptation of The Member of the Wedding in 1952, for which he was awarded a Special Golden Globe Award for Best Juvenile Actor.
His next role would be his most famous, as the tow-headed boy Joey Starrett who worships gunman Alan Ladd in George Stevens’ classic Western Shane (1953). He filmed it in the summer and fall of 1951, but the film was not released for two years due to extensive editing. De Wilde’s immortal line at the end of the film, “Shane! Shane! Come back!” was voted as number 47 of the AFI’S 100 Best Movie Quotes and it ranked number 69 of the Best Movie Quotes by Premiere Magazine earlier in 2007. His performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor (he lost to Frank Sinatra for From Here to Eternity) and the praise of critics like The New York Times’ Bosley Crowther who wrote, “Mr. Ladd, though slightly swashbuckling as a gunfighter wishing to retire, does well enough by the character, and Jean Arthur is good as the homesteader’s wife…But it is Master De Wilde with his bright face, his clear voice and his resolute boyish ways who steals the affections of the audience and clinches Shane as a most unusual film.”
The attention from Shane won De Wilde his own television series for ABC entitled Jamie in which he played an orphan living with his aunt. The show only ran during the 1952-1953 season due to a contractual dispute. He would spend the next six years appearing on television on programs such as Climax!, The Screen Director’s Playhouse, The Alcoa Theater and The United States Steel Hour. At the age of 17 in 1959, he appeared in a controversial drama entitled Blue Denim co-starring Carol Lynley. In it, De Wilde’s character gets Lynley pregnant and the two try to find an abortionist.
De Wilde spent three more years in television on shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Wagon Train before making All Fall Down (1962) in which he plays the younger brother of Warren Beatty and the following year he made Hud with Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, and Patricia Neal. Although his character was only 16, De Wilde was actually 20 during the filming of Hud. He was the only one of the principal actors not to be nominated for an Academy Award, but on Oscar® night, De Wilde accepted the Best Supporting Actor Award for Melvin Douglas who was unable to attend.
By 1965, when he appeared in his last major film opposite John Wayne – the WWII drama In Harm’s Way – De Wilde had become part of a hard-living, drug-taking Hollywood group including Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. During this time, he had become interested in launching a music career. De Wilde was in the Bahamas in February 1965 at the same time The Beatles were filming Help! and hung out with the band, who got stoned on the pot De Wilde provided. Paul McCartney remembered De Wilde as “a nice guy who was fascinated by what we did. A sort of Brat Pack actor. We chatted endlessly, and I seem to remember writing [the song] “Wait” in front of him and him being interested to see it written.” This interest led De Wilde to become friends with up and coming musician Gram Parsons in New York and the two would sing harmony together. Parson’s friend and fellow musician John Nuese said that De Wilde sang better with Parsons than anyone except Emmylou Harris. De Wilde brought Parsons and his band into the studio at RCA to record some tracks but the project never materialized.
Most of De Wilde’s remaining work would be television guest appearances. He once spoke about his career to author Linda Ashcroft at a party they attended with Jim Morrison. Ashcroft later wrote that she “listened to him talk about having given most of his life to acting, which sounded so strange from such a young man. He was about Jim [Morrison’s] age, though he looked younger. He spoke of giving up movies until he could come back as a forty-year-old character actor. All that had been in his favour as a child, his being small for his age and a bit too pretty, had worked against him as an adult. […]”
Sadly De Wilde’s life was cut short by a driving accident. On July 6, 1972, he was in Denver, Colorado appearing onstage in the play Butterflies Are Free. That night while on his way to the theater, he was killed when his motorcycle ran into a truck. His good friend Gram Parsons was so affected by his death that he and Emmylou Harris wrote the song In My Hour of Darkness about De Wilde,
Once I knew a young man
Went driving through the night
Miles and miles without a word
With just his high-beam lights
Who’d have ever thought they’d build such
a deadly Denver bend
To be so strong, to take as long as
it would till the end
by Lorraine LoBianco
Award-winning Canadian actress Susan Clark, born on March 8, 1940, took up acting at an early age (12) in her hometown of Sarnia, Ontario. Her family moved to Toronto around that period of time and she joined the Toronto Children’s Players Theatre. Her first professional curtain call took place on the musical stage in a 1955 production of “Silk Stockings” which starred veteran actor Don Ameche.
The “acting bug” bit hard and a very determined Susan pressed her family to allow her to study at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. She gained valuable experience in repertory, making her London debut in “Poor Bitos” in the early 1960s. She even got a taste of on-camera work when she won multiple roles on a 1965 episode ofThe Benny Hill Show (1957). Returning to Canada, however, due to the illness of her father, she subsequently decided to trek, instead, to Los Angeles to continue her professional career. In search of on-camera work, she attracted notice in some guest roles on TV and this eventually led to a Universal contract. The ten-year contract was one of the last of its kind as Hollywood was witnessing the demise of the studio contract system.
After gaining some exposure on episodes of The Virginian (1962) and Run for Your Life(1965), Susan’s first screen assignment for Universal was as the second female lead in the soap-styled drama Banning (1967) starring Robert Wagner, in one of his typical jet-setting playboy parts, and the scintillating Jill St. John, who would wed her “Banning” leading man two decades later. From there, Susan only grew in stature. Playing the second female lead again in the critically-praised crimer Madigan (1968) starring Richard Widmark and Inger Stevens, she finally earned top female billing opposite Clint Eastwoodin Coogan’s Bluff (1968) playing a sexy parole officer and enjoying romantic clinches with the up-and-coming film icon on film.
Tall and willowy with incandescent blue eyes, Susan continued to impress on celluloid with roles in Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969), Valdez Is Coming (1971) and, in particular,Skin Game (1971). It was 70s TV-movies, however, that would take full advantage of Susan’s vibrant, intelligent acting talents. First came the tender-hearted mini-movieSomething for a Lonely Man (1968). While a vehicle for Bonanza’s Dan Blocker, co-star Susan made a strong, spunky impression as his small-town romantic interest. This was followed by choice roles in The Challengers (1970) and The Astronaut (1972).
1975 was a banner year for Susan who not only provided a couple of excellent scenes asGene Hackman‘s wife in the film-noir Night Moves (1975) but, made a resounding, Emmy-winning impression on TV audiences as feminist track-and-field Olympian-turned-golf starBabe Didrikson Zaharias, who is later felled by cancer, in the TV mini-bio Babe (1975). This was a pronounced victory for Susan both professionally and personally for it was on this set that she met her second husband, co-star Alex Karras, who played Babe’s spouse George. Susan was in immediate demand and was quickly cast as another feisty, ill-fated heroine, this time in the form of famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart (1976). Predictably, Susan was wonderful and earned a second Emmy nomination for her efforts (she didn’t win).
She and Karras (who had a child, Katie, in 1980) went on to jointly act in and/or produce various film and TV projects, including the TV movies Jimmy B. & André (1980), and Maid in America (1982), and the films Nobody’s Perfekt (1981) and Porky’s (1981). This culminated in their biggest collaborative effort with the sitcom series Webster (1983) wherein both were unmercifully upstaged by the hopelessly cute antics of its tyke starEmmanuel Lewis. While the series hardly tested the couple’s acting mettle and the plot was pretty much a “Diff’rent Strokes” rehash, the show proved quite popular on its own and put Clark and Karras firmly on the TV map between 1983 to 1988. Susan, herself, earned a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Actress in a Comedy Series”.
Following the sitcom’ demise, Susan relinquished the limelight a bit and found contentment on the local Southern California stage. Relishing acting challenges in such wide-ranging plays as “Meetin’s on the Porch” (1990) with Patty Duke and Carrie Snodgress, “Afterplay” (1998), “Bicoastal Women” (2003) and “The Importance of Being Earnest” (2004) (as Lady Bracknell), she eventually became a dedicated member of the Rubicon Theater Company in Los Angeles, gracing such plays there as “The Glass Menagerie”, “Dancing at Lughnasa”, “The Devil’s Disciple” and, most recently, “A Delicate Balance”.
– IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / firstname.lastname@example.org
Appearing on Broadway, Andrew Prine soared to recognition in the leading role of the Pulitzer Prize winning play, Look Homeward Angel, and in his film role in the Academy award winner, The Miracle Worker (1962). He has worked with Hollywood legends such as John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, William Holden, Glenn Ford, Dean Martin, Ben Johnson, Carl Reiner, Raquel Welch, and Anne Bancroft. When Westerns were king on television, he was the frequent guest star almost every week on the all the shows. His appearance in Western theatrical feature films include Chisum (1970), Bandolero! (1968), Texas Across the River (1966), and Gettysburg (1993). Not only appearing on television in war dramas, Prine had to learn to ski while filming The Devil’s Brigade (1968), shot in Italy with an all star cast that included William Holden, Cliff Robertson, Richard Jaeckel and Claude Atkins. Andrew starred in several television series, beginning with Earl Holiman in the series,Wide Country (1962), and joined forces with Barry Sullivan in, The Road West (1966), and inW.E.B. (1978), he portrayed the network executive, Dan Costello. Adept at comedy, he co-starred in the series, Room For Two (1992), and was featured in the cast of, Weird Science (1994). A member of the prestigious Actor’s Studio, Andrew’s work in theatre includes Long Day’s Journey Into Night with Charlton Heston and Deborah Kerr, The Caine Mutiny directed by Henry Fonda, and Sam Shepard’s Buried Child where he received his second Dramalogue Critics Award for Best Actor the leading role. Displaying his acting range by portraying a variety of characters in his long career, Andrew Prine has delighted fans of many genres; Westerns, Military, Science Fictions and Horror, and is considered one of Hollywood’s consummate actors.
– IMDb Mini Biography By: Author: Deborah Miller