Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Showpeople (11): Pals at play ...

Rock Hudson and Vera-Ellen painted gold [as Oscars!] in 1949; Tab, Tony (Perkins) and Natalie Wood out on the town [Tab and Tony were an item by then]; Jimmy, Elizabeth and Rock fooling around on GIANT; Guy Madison and Rory Calhoun with super-agent Henry Willson, who represented them, '47, both careers continued into the '60s: Rory, after his films with Marilyn and Betty Grable had a good sword-and-sandal in Sergio Leone's COLOSSUS OF RHODES, '61, Guy had some good westerns like THE COMMAND, '54 and romanced the likes of Jean Simmons in HILDA CRANE, 56, as per review; what do closeted heart-throbs talk about? - Dirk Bogarde and Rock in Italy in 1957 - "my closet is bigger than yours" perhaps?

Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter - friends or rivals?: both 20th Century Fox contract players they made at least 5 films together so must have hung out a lot on various sets, but Jeff is hardly mentioned in RJ's "tell-all" autobio.

Perhaps though it was more a case of friendly rivals than just pals? Seems Wagner really wanted that Martin Pawley part (Jeff's most iconic role) in THE SEARCHERS [which of course would have been his first pairing with Natalie] but John Ford had a mean streak - he tested Wagner several times but would never cast him whereas he used Hunter in 3 of his films .... They were free-lancing by the early '60s when a whole new raft of teen idols were appearing, so both hit the Euro-route - Wagner was luckier getting plum roles in hits like THE PINK PANTHER and arty fare like De Sica's THE CONDEMNED OF ALTONA with award-winners Loren and Schell, and then went successfuly into television. Despite KING OF KINGS for Nick Ray Jeff found himself in sword-and-sandal fare like GOLD FOR THE CAESARS and dabbled with STAR TREK but did not stay with it and alas died in 1969 aged 42. He will always be Martin Pawley though....
Above: Jeff being made up for WHITE FEATHER, 1955


  1. "Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter - friends or rivals?"

    Based on Wagner's touching tribute to Hunter in a "Fox Hour of Stars" opening intro, they were very good friends. About ten years ago, when the FXM cable network was rerunning restored episodes of the old "20th Century-Fox Hour", hosted by Wagner, the actor introduced the episode, "The Empty Room", starring Hunter.

    As I remember, Wagner said that Hunter had been one of his closest friends on the Fox lot, gave tribute to his acting talent, and said how much he still missed his friend, who'd died much too young. By the end of the piece, Wagner had tears in his eyes. I also seem to recall him mentioning that he and Natalie Wood had regularly double-dated with Hunter and his then-wife, Barbara Rush.

  2. Thanks for those interesting comments, only seen them today.