Forrest Tucker

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Forrest Tucker
Forrest Tucker Music Man 1962.JPG
Tucker in the title role of The Music Man (stage musical)
Born
Forrest Meredith Tucker

(1919-02-12)February 12, 1919
DiedOctober 25, 1986(1986-10-25) (aged 67)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park
OccupationActor
Years active1933–1986
Spouse(s)
Sandra Jolley
(m. 1940;div. 1950)
(one child)
Marilyn Johnson
(m. 1951;her death 1960)

Marilyn Fisk
(m. 1961;div. 1985)
(two children)
Sheila Forbes
(m. 1986;his death 1986)
Children3

Forrest Meredith Tucker (February 12, 1919 – October 25, 1986) was an American actor in both movies and television who appeared in nearly a hundred films. [1] Tucker worked as a vaudeville straight man aged fifteen years old. A mentor provided funds and contacts for a trip to California, where party hostess Cobina Wright persuaded guest Wesley Ruggles to give Tucker a screen test, based on his photogenic good looks, thick wavy hair and height of six feet, five inches. Tucker was a sight reader who needed only one take and his film career started well despite a perception in most Hollywood studios that blond men were not photogenic, but he enlisted during WW2. After twenty years spent mainly in Westerns and action roles, he returned to his roots, showing versatility as a comedic and stage musical actor. In the television series F Troop , he became identified with the character of Cavalry Sgt. Morgan O'Rourke (a manipulative character quite similar to Phil Silvers' role as MSgt. Ernie Bilko). Tucker struggled with a drinking problem that began to affect his performances in the later years of his career.

Film sequence of images that give the impression of movement

A film, also called a movie, motion picture, moving picture, or photoplay, is a series of still images that, when shown on a screen, create the illusion of moving images.

Television telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images

Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in colour, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.

Vaudeville genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s

Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 1700s. A vaudeville is a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation. It was originally a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, usually a comedy, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of Vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.

Contents

Early life and education

Tucker described himself as a farm boy. He was born in Plainfield, Indiana on February 12, 1919, a son of Forrest A. Tucker and his wife, Doris Heringlake. [1] His mother has been described as an alcoholic. [2] Tucker began his performing career at age 14 at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, pushing the big wicker tourist chairs by day and singing "Throw Money" at night. After his family moved to Washington, D.C., Tucker attracted the attention of Jimmy Lake, the owner of the Old Gaiety Burlesque Theater, by winning its Saturday night amateur contest on consecutive weeks. After his second win, Tucker was hired full-time as Master of Ceremonies at the theatre. However, his initial employment there was short-lived, as it was soon discovered that Tucker was underage. Tucker graduated from Washington-Lee High School, Arlington, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., in 1938. Tucker joined the United States Cavalry. He was stationed at Fort Myer in Arlington County, Virginia, but was discharged when his age became known. He returned to work at the Old Gaiety after his 18th birthday.

Plainfield, Indiana Town in Indiana, United States

Plainfield is a town in Guilford, Liberty, and Washington townships, Hendricks County, Indiana, United States. The population was 27,631 at the 2010 census, and in 2017 the estimated population was 32,865.

Century of Progress 1933 world exhibition in Chicago, Illinois, USA

A Century of Progress International Exposition was a World's Fair registered under the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), which was held in Chicago, as The Chicago World's Fair, from 1933 to 1934 to celebrate the city's centennial. The theme of the fair was technological innovation. The fair's motto was "Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Adapts". Its architectural symbol was the Sky Ride, a transporter bridge perpendicular to the shore on which one could ride from one side of the fair to the other.

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

Career

Hollywood

When Lake's theatre closed for the summer in 1939, Tucker was helped by a wealthy mentor to travel to California and try to break into film acting. He made a successful screen test, and began auditioning for movie roles. In his own estimation, Tucker was in the mold of large "ugly guys" such as Wallace Beery, Ward Bond and Victor McLaglen, rather than a matinee idol. [3] His debut was as a powerfully built farmer who clashes with the hero in The Westerner (1940), which starred Gary Cooper. Tucker stood out in a fight scene with Cooper. Tucker had a support role in The Great Awakening (1941) for United Artists. Overcoming a feeling in Hollywood that fair hair did not photograph well, he quickly attained leading man status, starring in PRC's Emergency Landing (1941). He signed a contract with Columbia Pictures.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 8.8 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city and the fifth-most densely populated county.

Wallace Beery American actor

Wallace Fitzgerald Beery was an American film actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Bill in Min and Bill (1930) opposite Marie Dressler, as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1934), as Pancho Villa in Viva Villa! (1934), and his titular role in The Champ (1931), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Beery appeared in some 250 films during a 36-year career. His contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer stipulated in 1932 that he would be paid $1 more than any other contract player at the studio, making him the highest-paid actor in the world. He was the brother of actor Noah Beery Sr. and uncle of actor Noah Beery Jr.

Ward Bond American film actor

Wardell Edwin Bond was an American film character actor who appeared in more than 200 films and the NBC television series Wagon Train from 1957 to 1960. Among his best-remembered roles are Bert, the cop, in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Captain Clayton in John Ford's The Searchers (1956).

Columbia Pictures

At Columbia Tucker had a support role in one of their Lone Wolf pictures, Counter-Espionage (1942), followed by a Boston Blackie entry, Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood (1942). He was borrowed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for Keeper of the Flame with Tracy and Hepburn. [4]

Counter-Espionage is a 1942 American comedy film directed by Edward Dmytryk. Counter-Espionage was the ninth film in Columbia's Lone Wolf series, based on characters created by Louis Joseph Vance. It is also known as The Lone Wolf in Scotland Yard.

Boston Blackie

Boston Blackie is a fictional character created by author Jack Boyle. Blackie, a jewel thief and safecracker in Boyle's stories, became a detective in adaptations for films, radio and television—an "enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friend."

Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood is a 1942 American crime film, fourth of the fourteen Boston Blackie films of the 1940s Columbia's series of B pictures based on Jack Boyle's pulp-fiction character.

World War Two

Like many other movie actors at the time, Tucker enlisted in the United States Army during World War II; he earned a commission as a second lieutenant.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Post War

Tucker resumed his acting career at war's end. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer borrowed him for the classic film The Yearling (1946). Warners borrowed him to play Errol Flynn's love rival with Eleanor Parker in Never Say Goodbye the same year. [5]

Errol Flynn Australian actor

Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn was an Australian-born American actor during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Considered the natural successor to Douglas Fairbanks, he achieved worldwide fame for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films, as well as frequent partnerships with Olivia de Havilland. He was best known for his role as Robin Hood in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938); his portrayal of the character was named by the American Film Institute as the 18th greatest hero in American film history. His other famous roles included the eponymous lead in Captain Blood (1935), Major Geoffrey Vickers in The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), as well as a number of Westerns, such as Dodge City (1939), Santa Fe Trail (1940), and San Antonio (1945).

Eleanor Parker American actress

Eleanor Jean Parker was an American actress who appeared in some 80 movies and television series. An actress of notable versatility, she was called Woman of a Thousand Faces by Doug McClelland, author of a biography of Parker by the same title.

<i>Never Say Goodbye</i> (1946 film) 1946 film by James V. Kern

Never Say Goodbye is a 1946 romantic comedy film about a divorcing couple and the daughter who works to bring them back together. It was Errol Flynn's first purely comedic role since Four's a Crowd (1938), although Footsteps in the Dark (1941) had been a screwball comedy.

Back at Columbia Pictures, he was in Coroner Creek (1948) with Randolph Scott.

Republic Pictures

In 1948, Tucker left Columbia and signed with Republic Pictures. His first films for them were Hellfire (1949) and The Last Bandit (1949) with Wild Bill Elliott. He made Montana Belle for Republic with Jane Russell; it was sold to RKO.

Tucker had a good role in Republic's Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), as PFC Thomas, a Marine with a score to settle with John Wayne's Sergeant Stryker. He went back to Columbia to support Scott again in The Nevadan (1950).

Tucker was promoted to star roles with California Passage (1950). He followed this with Rock Island Trail (1950).

Tucker was back to supporting actor for Hoodlum Empire (1952) then over at Paramount he co-starred with Sterling Hayden in Flaming Feather (1952) and supported Charlton Heston in Pony Express (1953).

Tucker went to England in support of British film star Margaret Lockwood in Laughing Anne (1953), a co-production with Republic.

Back in the United States, he went back to work for Republic: San Antone (1953) with Rod Cameron; Flight Nurse (1953) and Jubilee Trail (1954) with Joan Leslie.

England and Crunch and Des

He returned to England to make another with Lockwood, Trouble in the Glen (1954), and stayed on to make Break in the Circle (1955) for Hammer Films.

Tucker made some films for Allied Artists, Paris Follies of 1956 (1955) and Finger Man (1955) in support of Frank Lovejoy, and then supported Randolph Scott once more in Rage at Dawn (1956).

Tucker had a two-year stint on television in the series Crunch and Des from 1955 to 1956 with Sandy Kenyon, featuring Forrest as a charter-boat captain in the Bahamas, was well received.

He was top billed in Fox's The Quiet Gun (1957) and supported Charlton Heston in Three Violent People (1957). Hammer Films in Britain asked him back to play the lead in The Abominable Snowman (1957). He stayed on in England for The Strange World of Planet X (1957), and The Trollenberg Terror (1958).

Auntie Mame

The year 1958 brought another turning point in his career, when he won the role of Beauregard Burnside, Mame's first husband in Auntie Mame , the highest grossing U.S. film of the year. Tucker showed a flair for light comedy under the direction of Morton DaCosta that had largely been unexplored in his roles in Westerns and science fiction films. [6]

He supported Joel McCrea in Fort Massacre (1958) and had the lead in Counterplot (1959).

Stage

Tucker was cast as Professor Harold Hill in the national touring production of The Music Man in 1958 [7] and played the role 2,008 times over the next five years, including a 56-week run at the Shubert Theatre in Chicago.[ citation needed ]

Following his Music Man run, Tucker starred in the Broadway production of Fair Game for Lovers (1964).

Tucker played the outlaw Bob Dalton in the 1963 episode "Three Minutes to Eternity" of the syndicated Western series, Death Valley Days , a dramatization of the simultaneous bank robberies by the Dalton gang in Coffeyville, Kansas. Tom Skerritt portrayed the surviving Emmett Dalton; Jim Davis was cast as Grat Dalton. The episode was narrated by Stanley Andrews, known as "The Old Ranger". [8]

F Troop

Tucker turned to television for his most famous role, starring as frontier capitalist Sgt. Morgan O'Rourke in F Troop (1965–67). Though F Troop lasted only two seasons on ABC, the series has been in constant syndication since, reaching three generations of viewers. (Two of his Gunsmoke episodes feature Tucker in his cavalry uniform again, as the comic Sergeant Holly (1970), who in one scene "marries" and spends a hectic night with Miss Kitty.)

He appeared in many television series, including CBS's Appointment with Adventure in the 1956 series finale titled "Two Falls for Satan", ABC's Channing a drama about college life that aired during the 1963–64 season. In 1961, Tucker appeared on NBC in Audie Murphy's short-lived western series Whispering Smith .

Later career

After the close of F Troop, Tucker returned to films in character roles like The Night They Raided Minsky's (1969), Barquero (1970), Chisum (1970), Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol (1972), and Cancel My Reservation (1972). He had the lead in The Wild McCullochs (1975), and was a supporting actor in the television movie A Real American Hero (1978).

On television, Tucker was a frequent guest star, including a total of six appearances on Gunsmoke and the recurring role of Jarvis Castleberry, Flo's estranged father on the 1976-1985 TV series, Alice and its spinoff, Flo .

Tucker was a regular on three series after F Troop : Dusty's Trail (1973) with Bob Denver; The Ghost Busters (1975) which reunited him with F Troop co-star Larry Storch; guest star on The Bionic Woman as J.T. Conners and Filthy Rich playing the second Big Guy Beck. (1982–83). He continued to be active on stage as well, starring in the national productions of Plaza Suite , Show Boat and That Championship Season .

Tucker returned to the big screen, after an absence of several years, in the Cannon Films action film Thunder Run (1986), playing the hero, trucker Charlie Morrison. His final film appearance was Outtakes, a low-budget imitation of The Groove Tube .

Death

Tucker, who had battled lung cancer for more than a year, as well as having a series of minor illnesses, collapsed and was hospitalized, for the second time in a week, on his way to the ceremony for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 21, 1986. [9] [10] He died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital on October 25, 1986, a few months after the theatrical release of Thunder Run and Outtakes. [1] He was interred in Forest Lawn–Hollywood Hills Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills [11] [12] .

Physique and gossip

At six feet five inches, Tucker tied Sterling Hayden as the tallest star in Hollywood. [13] Co-star Marie Windsor recalled that she was delighted to play opposite someone her 'own size'. [14] [15] According to one story, while playing golf with friends he was denied a gimme and objected that the distance was so short that he could knock the ball in with his member. On being challenged, he accomplished the feat. [16]

Personal life

Tucker married four times:

  1. Sandra Jolley (1919–1986) in 1940, divorced in 1950, daughter of the character actor I. Stanford Jolley (who also died of emphysema) and the sister of the Academy Award-winning art director Stan Jolley. They had a daughter, Pamela "Brooke" Tucker. [17]
  2. Marilyn Johnson on March 28, 1950 (died on July 19, 1960).
  3. Marilyn Fisk on October 23, 1961. They had a daughter, Cindy Tucker, and son, Forrest Sean Tucker.
  4. Sheila Forbes on April 15, 1986.

Tucker was a Republican. [18]

Selected filmography

Television

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Edwrad Hudson (October 27, 1986). "Forrest Tucker, 67, Is Dead. Film, TV, and Stage Veteran". New York Times .
  2. Raised by the Stars: Interviews with 29 Children of Hollywood Actors By Nick Thomas, chapter 12.
  3. John Kendall (October 27, 1986). "Forrest Tucker, Stage, TV and Film Star, Dies". Los Angeles Times .
  4. February 16, 2012, Just Shy of Respect: The Hollywood Life and Death of Alan Ladd
  5. "Fox to Star Boyer in Gambling Film: 'Any Number Can Play' to Be Based on Novel by Heth-- 'John L.' Held Over Here". The New York Times. 7 August 1945.
  6. The Milwaukee Sentinel - Jul 2, 1963
  7. Hudson, Edward. "Forrest Tucker, 67, Is Dead; Film, TV and Stage Veteran", The New York Times , October 27, 1986, accessed February 7, 2017
  8. "Three Minutes to Eternity on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base . Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  9. http://articles.latimes.com/1986-10-27/local/me-7684_1_forrest-tucker
  10. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1986/10/27/actor-forrest-tucker-dies-at-67/90573c83-32a5-49d4-add4-6a36479a0263/
  11. http://articles.latimes.com/1986-10-27/local/me-7684_1_forrest-tucker
  12. https://books.google.com/books?id=FOHgDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA760&lpg=PA760&dq=Forrest+Tucker+Forest+Lawn+scott+wilson&source=bl&ots=UkTBMyEyM5&sig=ACfU3U1kdGMNvBa99l9Fv2j-mXYRIXO2OA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiOueOFlrfgAhVPNd8KHTYwDc4Q6AEwB3oECAUQAQ#v=onepage&q=Forrest%20Tucker%20Forest%20Lawn%20scott%20wilson&f=false
  13. Raised by the Stars: Interviews with 29 Children of Hollywood Actors, Nick Thomas, chapter 12.
  14. Celebrity Diss and Tell: Stars Talk About Each Other, Boze Hadleigh p.181.
  15. Playbill - Issues 1-12 - (1992), p. 50.
  16. The Legend Of Forrest Tucker (1997)
  17. Emily Mae Jolley - Entertainment News, Obituary, Media - Variety.
  18. https://books.google.com/books?id=QfHXAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA173&dq=Martha+Tilton+Republican&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwir-8ivuLDTAhUM8IMKHU_XAPUQ6AEILjAC#v=onepage&q=Forrest%20Tucker&f=false
  19. "Three Minutes to Eternity on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base . Retrieved 25 February 2017.