Dan Duryea

Happy birthday to actor Dan Duryea, born Jan. 23, 1907 in White Plains, NY.  Duryea graduated from Cornell University in 1928, where he studied English and drama, and was president of the drama society.  Although he loved acting, he decided to pursue a more practical line of work and took a job as an advertising executive.  danduryea2But after six years, the stressful pace of the business world caused Duryea to have a mild heart attack, so he quit his job and devoted himself to acting.  He made his Broadway debut in 1935 as a bit player and quickly progressed to playing lead roles, culminating with a national tour in The Little Foxes.  When MGM produced the film version in 1940, Duryea reprised his stage role on film and never looked back.  In Hollywood, he became a popular character actor and also had some lead roles.  Duryea developed a unique screen persona that was ideally suited for playing snide, slick-haired, mean-spirited, wise-cracking villains – characters that audiences loved to hate.  He was a consistent fixture in classic film noir, appearing in more than 15 noir films: Ministry of Fear (1944), The Woman in the Window (1944), The Great Flamarion (1945), Scarlet Street (1945), Black Angel (1946), Larceny (1948), Criss Cross (1949), Manhandled (1949), Too Late for Tears (1949), Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949), The Underworld Story (1950), One Way Street (1950), World for Ransom (1954), Storm Fear (1955), Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957), and The Burglar (1957).  Duryea also appeared in many westerns, among them: Winchester 73 (1950), Silver Lode (1954), Ride Clear of Diablo (1954), and The Marauders (1955).  In 1952, Duryea starred in the television series China Smith (1952-56) and The New Adventures of China Smith (1953-54).  Duryea appeared in many television shows in the early 1960s, including Rawhide, Route 66, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and The Twilight Zone.  He continued working in film and television up until his death in 1968 of cancer.  He was 61.

 

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