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.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Some more interesting careers ?

Another selection of thumbnail career portraits, in the style of one of our Sixties favourite magazines "Who's Who in Hollywood". 

Don Murray. In his late 80s now (born 1929), Murray started out in 1950, and got his big break co-starring with Marilyn Monroe in Logan’s BUS STOP in 1956 – he may have been fine, but it’s the character of the cowboy who is so annoying. He met his first wife Hope Lange here. He followed this with two I have not seen: BACHELOR PARTY and A HATFUL OF RAIN, and then two westerns which I liked as a kid: the engaging FROM HELL TO TEXAS in ’58, and the more sprawling THESE THOUSAND HILLS in 1959, with young Lee Remick, and that other 20th Century Fox boy, Stuart Whitman. 
Gritty realism followed with THE HOODLUM PRIEST and the very Irish saga SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL in 1959. Maybe his last interesting role was as senator Brig Anderson in Otto’s ADVISE AND CONSENT in 1962, who commits suicide when his wartime gay affair is about to be exposed – and we get that first look at a gay bar in American film, as Brig reels back in horror, leaving his wartime buddy lying in the gutter. (review at Murray label).
He was back with Lee Remick in BABY THE RAIN MUST FALL in 1965, but now Steve McQueen was the lead, and it was the era of the new boys like Beatty and Redford. He did a rubbish British film in 1967: THE VIKING QUEEN – we avoided it at the time, but I have now ordered a copy as it seems delirious fun, a certified Trash Classic. Murray continued in a long career, in lesser films and lots of television (like KNOTS LANDING), but like many others had a good late Fifties era.

Richard Beymer, now in his late Seventies (born 1938) was a child actor – he was Jennifer Jones’ son in De Sica’s INDISCRETION OF AN AMERICAN WIFE in 1954, and then after a lot of television, came his run of 20th Century Fox movies in the late Fifties and early Sixties: George Stevens’ THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK in 1959, WEST SIDE STORY, Fox comedies HIGH TIME and BACHELOR FLAT (which we liked at the time), THE STRIPPER with Joanne Woodward and Carol Lynley in 1963 (review at Woodward label) and the lead in HEMINGWAY’S ADVENTURES OF A YOUNG MAN in 1962, as per recent review, below), plus FIVE FINGER EXERCISE and THE LONGEST DAY in 1962. Perhaps Beymer wasn’t distinctive enough, and Fox already had the likes of Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter under contract …. He continued keeping busy, returning to the limelight in David Lynch’s TWIN PEAKS in 1990, and it was interesting seeing him ageing well in items like MURDER SHE WROTE.

Dean Stockwell. Another child actor, born 1936, has clocked up over 200 credits according to IMDB. He was in ANCHORS AWEIGH with Gene Kelly in 1945, Losey’s THE BOY WITH GREEN HAIR in 1948, KIM with Errol Flynn, then came those “sensitive” roles in COMPULSION in 1959, SONS AND LOVERS in 1960, LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT in 1962, RAPTURE in 1965, as well as TV roles in the likes of WAGON TRAIN, DR KILDARE. Later films include that terrific thriller AIR FORCE ONE, PARIS TEXAS, DUNE, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., BLUE VELVET, THE PLAYER and more.

Brandon De Wilde (1942-1972). Another child actor, but less fortunate, in that he was killed in a traffic accident when aged 30, after being a child actor on Broadway when aged 9 in THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING, which role he repeated in the 1953 film.. We have already covered his career in detail, at label, and those films we like, such as ALL FALL DOWN and HUD, and those westerns like SHANE and NIGHT PASSAGE where he has some nice scenes with James Stewart.

Pamela Tiffin. Pamela, born 1942, was the delightfully daffy and attractive alternative to those blondes like Sandra Dee or Carol Lynley, and had some good years in the early Sixties. She started as a model and came to attention in SUMMER AND SMOKE in 1961, when we loved her in Billy Wilder’s ONE TWO THREE. Some zany comedy roles followed in COME FLY WITH ME, THE PLEASURE SEEKERS, STATE FAIR, THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL and HARPER in 1966. She the decamped to European comedies in Italy, co-starring with the likes of Marcello Mastroianni, before giving up acting to concentrate on family life.

Carol Lynley. Another young model, also born 1942, had a longer career, starting with Walt Disney in THE LIGHT IN THE FOREST in 1958, and then at Fox in that favourite, HOUND DOG MAN with Fabian and Stuart Whitman, THE STRIPPER, HOLIDAY FOR LOVERS, BLUE DENIM with Brandon De Wilde, RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE, THE LAST SUNSET. I did not want to see UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE where she co-stars with Jack Lemmon, and she was also in Otto’s THE CARDINAL in 1963, and the lead in his BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING in 1965, with Olivier (right) and Keir Dullea (also featured here, see label). She was later in THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE in 1972 in hotpants, and was a long time companion of David Frost’s. She kept busy in lesser films (THE SHUTTERED ROOM wasn’t too bad), but then there was that 1965 cheapo version of HARLOW reviews of some of these at Lynley label.

Vera Miles. Now in her late 80s and retired for years, Vera Miles is probably the biggest name featured here – it was a long if fairly ordinary career but her two each for John Ford and Hitchcock will ensure she is long remembered, as THE SEARCHERS, THE WRONG MAN, PSYCHO and THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALLANCE will always be screened somewhere. She began in 1950 and early roles included some routine westerns, ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS television shows (he had her under personal contract – like he had Tippi Hedren – and was building VERTIGO for Miles, but she had got pregnant by husband Gordon Scott – she had done one of his TARZAN pictures. She wears that unflattering wig in PSYCHO as she had done a downbeat war movie FIVE BRANDED WOMEN for Martin Ritt in Italy and had her head shaved for it. She is glamorous though in A TOUCH OF LARCENCY in 1960, and suitably nasty in AUTUMN LEAVES with Crawford in 1956, and BACK STREET in ‘61. Other leads included 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET, HELLFIGHTERS with Wayne in 1968, and lots more television.  

Next lot to include Tuesday Weld, Carolyn Jones, Paula Prentiss, Barry Coe, Farley Granger, Earl Holliman,  and some Europeans and British ....


  1. Michael! I love this post, no surprise given that I admire all the players to whom you pay tribute. One bit of trivia: By the time Don Murray made "Baby, the Rain Must Fall," his former wife Hope Lange was married to the film's producer, Alan J. Pakula. Murray was not in great demand by then and I assume that Pakula hired him as something of a nice gesture. I guess that Murray and Lange had an amicable break-up.

  2. Nice brief synopsis. I think the thing these men, with the exception of Brandon De Wilde who had a different energy and of course never had the chance to go far, had in common was they were missing that extra little POP that Beatty, McQueen, Redford etc had.

    The Bachelor Party is an excruciating exercise in misery except when Carolyn Jones shows up, but her part is super brief how she scored a nomination for it I don't get. Hatful of Rain is also dour but at least it has a point.

    Beymer was extremely attractive but just sort of there, easily eclipsed by pretty much any scene partner.

    Vera Miles never went as far as it seemed she should but I was always glad to see her turn up in whatever project she was in and sorry when she called it a day and withdrew from sight.

    I LOVED Pamela Tiffin and couldn't stand Carol Lynley. All through The Poseidon Adventure I kept hoping they would leave her behind!

  3. Don Murray and Hope Lange must have remained cordial; they did "Same Time Next Year" together on Broadway!

  4. Nice comments. I also covered Keir Dullea, Tom Tryon, Hope Lange and the recently departed (at 92) Lola Albright, in a previous "Careers" post - at label. It seems Murray and Beymer while kept busy did not have that extra something, and there are also younger people arriving - Beatty and Redford and McQueen certainly had it in spades ...

  5. I agree with the comments above; I like these posts. You have a habit of picking very gorgeous guys, a little less so with the girls. What about Bradford Dillman? I watched COMPULSION again recently and was reminded just how good he and Stockwell could be. I was surprised to find he had been married to Suzy Parker for many years.

  6. Dillman wasn't very charismatic - he is a dull ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI. Suzy Parker was marvellous to look at, if no great shakes as an actress. Ditto Julie London, another I might "appraise".