Victor Mature

Happy birthday to actor VictorMatureVictor Mature, born Jan. 29, 1916 in Louisville, KY. After finishing school and working odd jobs in Kentucky, Mature moved to California to study acting at the Pasadena Community Playhouse. Eventually, he landed a small film role in The Housekeeper’s Daughter (1939), and then got his first lead, as a caveman, in One Million B.C. (1940) with Carole Landis. Prior to enlisting in the Coast Guard during the war, Mature appeared in several more films, including two noirs: I Wake Up Screaming (1941) with Betty Grable and The Shanghai Gesture (1941) with Gene Tierney. After the war, Mature resumed his acting career and became a popular leading man across several genres, including westerns, crime dramas, and comedies. He also appeared in several Biblical epics: Samson and Delilah (1949) with Jean Simmons and Gene Tierney, Androcles and the Lion (1952) with Jean Simmons, The Robe (1953) with Richard Burton, Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) with Susan Hayward, and The Egyptian (1954) with Jean Simmons and Gene Tierney. Throughout the 1940s and 50s, Mature had top billing in several notable noir films: Moss Rose (1947) with Peggy Cummins, Kiss of Death (1947) with Brian Donlevy, Cry of the City (1948) with Richard Conte, Gambling House (1950) with William Bendix, and The Las Vegas Story (1952) with Jane Russell. Mature retired from acting in 1961, but made a comeback in 1966, playing a parody of himself in the Neil Simon comedy, After the Fox with Peter Sellers and Britt Ekland. He also appeared as “The Big Victor” in the Monkees’ psychedelic film, Head (1968). Mature made a handful of film appearances in the 1970s, but preferred to spend his time playing golf. He was known to be self-effacing about his acting abilities, and was once quoted as saying, “I am a golfer. That is my real occupation. I never was an actor. Ask anybody, particularly the critics.” Mature died of leukemia in 1999 at age 86.

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