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.

Friday, 17 February 2012

People We Like: Brandon de Wilde

The next 'People We Like'* is an actor who would - amazingly - be 70 this year - but the fates had other ideas, as he died aged 30 in an automobile accident in 1972. Brandon de Wilde though, like James Dean and those others who perished in traffic accidents (like Francoise Dorleac, Belinda Lee, Jayne Mansfield) will be forever young ... it would have been interesting though to see how his career would have gone in the '60s and '70s - would he have been a conventional leading man or something more oddball in the Dennis Hopper mould ?

Born in 1942 he was acting on Broadway aged 9 in the theatre production of Carson McCullers' THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING, as the sombre little boy John Henry, which he also played in Zinnemann's 1953 film with co-star Julie Harris (below). That year he was also the little boy in SHANE, George Stevens' classic western. Other roles in the 50s included films like FAREWELL MY LADY (Lady is a dog), THE MISSOURI TRAVELLER and a James Stewart western I like, NIGHT PASSAGE, in 1957 (below). As a teenager he starred in BLUE DENIM (or BLUE JEANS) with Carol Lynley in 1960, a drama about unmarried teenagers having a baby. I did not see this at the time, but have recently got a copy of it, so a fuller report on that in due course. In 1962 he is Clint, the hero of James Leo Herlihy's novel ALL FALL DOWN, a favourite I have written about here several times (1962 label), subject of my next post...

HUD in 1963 was more of the same, with young Lon (De Wilde) losing his hero worship of uncle Paul Newman. Then came roles in Preminger's IN HARM'S WAY in 1965 and other routine movies like THOSE CALLAWAYS and lots of television work. He was touring in the play BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE at the time of his fatal accident, in Denver, Colorado when on the way in a camper van to visit his second wife who was in hospital; he left a son named Jesse.

(* other 'People We Like' here include: David Hemmings, Stewart Granger, Jeffrey Hunter, Stephen Boyd, Stanley Baker, Michael Craig, Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Capucine, Joan Greenwood, Kay Kendall, Dirk Bogarde, Lilli Palmer, Ingrid Thulin, Alida Valli, Silvana Mangano, Romy Schneider, Anouk Aimee, Anne Baxter, Mary Astor, Gladys Cooper etc. See labels
Coming up: Peter Finch, Alan Bates, David Warner.)

1 comment:

  1. Neat "stuff".

    You can learn more about Brandon at our tribute site.