Steve Cochran

Last updated
Steve Cochran
Steve Cochran in The Chase (1946).jpg
Cochran in The Chase (1946)
Born
Robert Alexander Cochran

(1917-05-25)May 25, 1917
DiedJune 15, 1965(1965-06-15) (aged 48)
Off the coast of Guatemala
Alma mater University of Wyoming
OccupationActor
Years active1944–1965
Spouse(s)
Florence Lockwood
(m. 1935;div. 1946)

(m. 1946;div. 1948)

Jonna Jensen
(m. 1961)
Children1
Relatives Alex Johns (grandson)

Steve Cochran (born Robert Alexander Cochran, May 25, 1917 – June 15, 1965) was an American film, television and stage actor. He attended the University of Wyoming. After a stint working as a cowboy, Cochran developed his acting skills in local theatre and gradually progressed to Broadway, film and television.

Contents

Early life and career

Cochran was born in Eureka, California, [2] but grew up in Laramie, Wyoming, the son of a logger. While he appeared in high school plays, he spent more time delving into athletics, particularly basketball.

After stints as a cowpuncher and railroad station hand, he studied at the University of Wyoming, where he also played basketball. Impulsively, he quit college in 1937 and decided to go straight to Hollywood to become a star. [3]

Theatre

Working as a carpenter and department store detective during his early adulthood, Cochran also gained experience appearing in summer stock. In the early 1940s he worked with the Shakespeare Festival in Carmel, California, where he played Orsino in Twelfth Night, Malcolm in Macbeth, Horatio in Hamlet and the title role in Richard III. [ citation needed ] He then performed in plays for the Federal Theatre Project in Detroit.

Cochran was rejected for military service in World War II because of a heart murmur, but he directed and performed in plays at a variety of Army camps. [4]

He was appearing with Constance Bennett in a touring production of Without Love in December 1943 when he was signed by Sam Goldwyn. [5]

On Broadway, Cochran appeared in Hickory Stick (1944). [6]

Hollywood

Sam Goldwyn

Samuel Goldwyn brought Cochran to Hollywood in 1945. [2] Goldwyn made only a few films a year, so he loaned Cochran to Columbia Pictures for Booked on Suspicion (1945), a Boston Blackie movie.

Goldwyn then put him in Wonder Man (1945), a Danny Kaye movie co-starring Virginia Mayo and Vera-Ellen in which Cochran played a gangster. Columbia then used him in another Boston Blackie film, Blackie's Rendezvous (1945), in which he played a villain, and in The Gay Senorita (1945) with Jinx Falkenburg.

Goldwyn then used Cochran in another Danny Kaye movie with Mayo and Vera-Ellen, The Kid from Brooklyn (1946). After United Artists borrowed him to play a gangster in The Chase (1946), Cochran appeared in the prestigious drama The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), playing a man who has an affair with a woman played by Virginia Mayo that continues even after her husband (played by Dana Andrews) returns from war. The movie was a huge critical and commercial success.

Cochran had a supporting role opposite Groucho Marx in Copacabana (1947) for United Artists. Goldwyn got him to play another gangster opposite Kaye and Mayo in A Song is Born (1948), directed by Howard Hawks.

He made his TV debut in "Dinner at Antoine's" for The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse (1949) and followed this with "Tin Can Skipper" for NBC Presents (1949).

He then returned to Broadway to support Mae West in a shortlived revival of her play Diamond Lil . This revived Hollywood's interest in him. [7]

Warner Bros.

In 1949 Cochran went over to Warner Bros., playing Big Ed Somers, a power-hungry henchman to James Cagney's psychotic mobster in White Heat (1949) opposite Virginia Mayo. Warner Bros. eventually took over Cochran's and Mayo's contracts from Goldwyn.

Cochran supported Joan Crawford in The Damned Don't Cry (1950), after which he was given his first lead role, in Highway 301 (1950), playing a gangster. He was a villain to Gary Cooper's hero in Dallas (1950) and played a Ku Klux Klan member in Storm Warning (1951) with Ginger Rogers and Doris Day.

Cochran was a villain in Canyon Pass (1951), a western, and then was given the lead in Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison (1951), which inspired Johnny Cash to write his song "Folsom Prison Blues".[ citation needed ]

Warners gave him another lead in Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951), a film noir with Ruth Roman that was originally intended for Burt Lancaster. [8]

He returned to supporting parts in Jim Thorpe – All-American (1951) with Burt Lancaster.

Warners starred him in The Tanks Are Coming (1951) and in a rare sympathetic role in The Lion and the Horse (1952). [9] He co-starred with Cornel Wilde in Operation Secret (1952) and supported Virginia Mayo in She's Back on Broadway (1953). In The Desert Song (1953), Cochran played Gordon Macrae's rival for Kathryn Grayson. [10] He then left Warners[ why? ].

Post-Warners

Cochran starred in the low-budget action film Shark River (1953) for United Artists and was a villain in Back to God's Country (1953), which starred Rock Hudson, at Universal.

He returned to television, appearing in episodes of Lux Video Theatre ("Three Just Men" (1953)), and Studio One in Hollywood ("Letter of Love" (1953)). He reportedly made a film in Mexico called Embarcardero, which he co wrote, directed and starred in alongside Edward Norri. [11]

Cochran then went to Germany to make Carnival Story (1954) for the King Brothers. It was his first film in Europe. [12]

Back in Hollywood, he co-starred in Private Hell 36 (1954) with Ida Lupino for Don Siegel. His TV roles included "Foreign Affair" (1954) for Robert Montgomery Presents ; "The Role of a Lover" (1954) and "The Most Contagious Game" (1955) for Studio One; "Trip Around the Block" (1954) and "The Menace of Hasty Heights" (1956) for The Ford Television Theatre ; "The After House" (1954), "Fear is the Hunter" (1956), and "Bait for the Tiger" (1957) for Climax! ; and "The Seeds of Hate" (1955) for General Electric Theatre .

Republic Pictures hired him to play Ann Sheridan's love interest in Come Next Spring (1956). [13] Cochran then went to the UK to play the lead in The Weapon (1956).

Cochran supported Van Johnson in MGM's Slander (1957). He went to Italy to star in Il Grido (1957) for Michelangelo Antonioni alongside Alida Valli and Betsy Blair; filming took seven months. [14]

On television, he appeared in "Outlaw's Boots" (1957) for Schlitz Playhouse , "Debt of Gratitude" (1958) for Zane Grey Theater , "Strictly Personal" (1958) for The Loretta Young Show , and an episode of The Twilight Zone, “What You Need”, in 1959.

Cochran played the lead roles in Quantrill's Raiders (1958), an Allied Artists western, and in I Mobster (1959), a Roger Corman gangster film. Albert Zugsmith used him for the lead roles in The Beat Generation (1959) and The Big Operator (1959).

Later career

After 1959, Cochran worked mostly in television, guest-starring in series such as Bonanza (Season 6, episode 26, "The Trap", aired on March 28, 1965), The Untouchables , Route 66 , Bus Stop , Stoney Burke , The Naked City , Shirley Temple's Storybook , The Dick Powell Theatre , The Virginian , Route 66 , Death Valley Days , Mr. Broadway , and Burke's Law .

He had the lead in the TV movie The Renegade (1960) and was in Sam Peckinpah's debut feature, The Deadly Companions (1961). They had first worked together when Peckinpah was dialogue director on the film noir Private Hell 36 (1954).

Cochran was Merle Oberon's co star in Of Love and Desire (1963), shot in Mexico. He had the lead in Mozambique (1964) for Harry Alan Towers.

Producer

In 1953 Cochran formed his own production company, Robert Alexander Productions, which attempted to make some television series, [15] and films such as The Tom Mix Story (with Cochran as Mix), Hope is the Last Thing to Die, about the Mexican War, and Klondike Lou. [14] [16] None of these was ever produced, but his company did make a television pilot, Fremont the Trailblazer, in which he played John C. Frémont and co-starred with Barbara Wilson and James Gavin. [17] [18] Cochran also wrote, produced, directed and starred in Tell Me in the Sunlight (1965).

Personal life

Cochran was a notorious womanizer and attracted tabloid attention for his tumultuous private life, which included well-documented affairs with numerous starlets and actresses. Mamie Van Doren later wrote about their sex life in graphic detail in her tell-all autobiography Playing the Field: My Story (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1987). He was also married and divorced three times, to actress Fay McKenzie, Florence Lockwood and Jonna Jensen. He and Lockwood had one daughter, Xandra, [19] through whom he is the grandfather of film and television producer Alex Johns, who was a co-executive producer for more than seventy episodes of the animated television series Futurama . [20] In the 2002 documentary The Importance of Being Morrissey, Steven Morrissey claims that his parents named him after Steve Cochran.

In 1950 Cochran hired future screenwriter and actor Montgomery Pittman as a gardener at Cochran's Beverly Hills home. [21]

Cochran was in trouble with the police a number of times in his life, including a reported assault and a charge of reckless driving in 1953. [22] [23]

Death

Cochran recruited three young women to accompany him on a sailing trip from Acapulco to Costa Rica, ostensibly to take part in an upcoming film. A few days into the trip, the yacht lost one of its two masts in a storm. Shortly thereafter, Cochran fell ill, and died two days later on June 15, 1965 at the age of 48, of what was later determined to be an acute lung infection. The women who were accompanying him did not know how to sail the boat, and were trapped with the decomposing body for ten days, before being rescued out at sea. The boat, still carrying his corpse, was later found drifting off the coast of Guatemala. [24] [25] [26] [27]

Cochran's widow was given half of his estate of $25,000. She shared it with his daughter by another marriage. [28]

Cochran was buried in Monterey, California. [29]

Legacy

Cochran has a star at 1750 Hollywood Boulevard in the Motion Pictures section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was dedicated February 8, 1960. [30]

Filmography

YearTitleRoleNotes
1945 Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion Jack HigginsAlternative title: Booked on Suspicion
1945 Wonder Man Ten Grand Jackson
1945 Boston Blackie's Rendezvous Jimmy CookAlternative title: Blackie's Rendezvous
1945 The Gay Senorita Tomas Obrion aka Tim O'Brien
1946 The Kid from Brooklyn Speed McFarlane
1946 The Chase Eddie Roman
1946 The Best Years of Our Lives CliffAlternative titles: Glory for Me and Home Again
1947 Copacabana Steve Hunt
1948 A Song Is Born Tony CrowAlternative title: That's Life
1949 White Heat Big Ed Somers
1950 The Damned Don't Cry Nick Prenta
1950 Highway 301 George Legenza
1950 Dallas Bryant Marlow
1951 Storm Warning Hank Rice
1951 Raton Pass Cy Van CleaveAlternative title: Canyon Pass
1951 Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison Chuck Daniels
1951 Tomorrow Is Another Day Bill Clark / Mike Lewis
1951 Jim Thorpe – All-American Peter AllendineAlternative title: Man of Bronze
1951 The Tanks Are Coming Francis Aloysius 'Sully' Sullivan
1952 The Lion and the Horse Ben Kirby
1952 Operation Secret Marcel Brevoort
1953 She's Back on Broadway Rick Sommers
1953 The Desert Song Captain Claude Fontaine
1953 Shark River Dan Webley
1953 Back to God's Country Paul Blake
1954 Carnival Story Joe Hammond
1954 Private Hell 36 Cal Bruner
1956 Come Next Spring Matt Ballot
1956 The Weapon Mark Andrews
1957 Slander H.R. Manley
1957 Il Grido Aldo
1958 Quantrill's Raiders Capt. Alan Wescott
1959 I Mobster Joe Sante
1959 The Beat Generation Dave Culloran
1959 The Big Operator Bill GibsonAlternative title: Anatomy of the Syndicate
1961 The Deadly Companions Billy Keplinger
1963 Of Love and Desire Steve Corey
1965 Mozambique Brad Webster
1967 Tell Me in the Sunlight DaveFilmed in 1965; released posthumously (final film role)

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joseph Cotten</span> American actor (1905–1994)

Joseph Cheshire Cotten Jr. was an American film, stage, radio and television actor. Cotten achieved prominence on Broadway, starring in the original stage productions of The Philadelphia Story and Sabrina Fair. He then gained worldwide fame in three Orson Welles films: Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), and Journey into Fear (1943), for which Cotten was also credited with the screenplay.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ricardo Montalbán</span> Mexican actor (1920–2009)

Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino, KSG was a Mexican and American film and television actor. Montalbán's career spanned seven decades, during which he became known for performances in a variety of genres, from crime and drama to musicals and comedy. He portrayed Armando in the Planet of the Apes film series from the early 1970s, starring in both Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971) and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972). As the villain Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically enhanced human, he starred in both the original Star Trek television series (1967) and the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). During the 1970s and 1980s, he was a spokesman in automobile advertisements for Chrysler, including those in which he extolled the "rich Corinthian leather" used for the Cordoba's interior.

<i>Neville Brand</i> American actor (1920–1992)

Lawrence Neville Brand was an American soldier and actor. He was known for playing villainous or antagonistic character roles in Westerns, crime dramas, and films noir, and was nominated for a BAFTA Award for his performance in Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Boyer</span> French-American actor (1899–1978)

Charles Boyer was a French-American actor who appeared in more than 80 films between 1920 and 1976. After receiving an education in drama, Boyer started on the stage, but he found his success in American films during the 1930s. His memorable performances were among the era's most highly praised, in romantic dramas such as The Garden of Allah (1936), Algiers (1938), and Love Affair (1939), as well as the mystery-thriller Gaslight (1944). He received four Oscar nominations for Best Actor. He also appeared as himself on the CBS sitcom I Love Lucy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dana Andrews</span> American actor (1909–1992)

Carver Dana Andrews was an American film actor who became a major star in what is now known as film noir. A leading man during the 1940s, he continued acting in less prestigious roles and character parts into the 1980s. He is best known for his portrayal of obsessed police detective Mark McPherson in the noir Laura (1944) and his critically acclaimed performance as World War II veteran Fred Derry in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zachary Scott</span> American actor (1914–1965)

Zachary Scott was an American actor who was known for his roles as villains and "mystery men".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Raft</span> American actor (1901–1980)

George Raft was an American film actor and dancer identified with portrayals of gangsters in crime melodramas of the 1930s and 1940s. A stylish leading man in dozens of movies, Raft is remembered for his gangster roles in Quick Millions (1931) with Spencer Tracy, Scarface (1932) with Paul Muni, Each Dawn I Die (1939) with James Cagney, Invisible Stripes (1939) with Humphrey Bogart, Billy Wilder's comedy Some Like It Hot (1959) with Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon, and as a dancer in Bolero (1934) with Carole Lombard and a truck driver in They Drive by Night (1940) with Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino and Bogart.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Conte</span> American actor

Nicholas Peter Conte, known professionally as Richard Conte, was an American actor. He appeared in more than 100 films from the 1940s through 1970s, including I'll Cry Tomorrow, Ocean's 11, and The Godfather.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Boone</span> American actor (1917–1981)

Richard Allen Boone was an American actor who starred in over 50 films and was notable for his roles in Westerns, including his starring role in the television series Have Gun – Will Travel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brian Donlevy</span> American actor (1901–1972)

Waldo Brian Donlevy was an American actor, noted for playing dangerous tough guys from the 1930s to the 1960s. He usually appeared in supporting roles. Among his best-known films are Beau Geste (1939), The Great McGinty (1940) and Wake Island (1942). For his role as the sadistic Sergeant Markoff in Beau Geste, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Virginia Mayo</span> American actress (1920–2005)

Virginia Mayo was an American actress and dancer. She was in a series of comedy films with Danny Kaye and was Warner Brothers' biggest box-office money-maker in the late 1940s. She also co-starred in the 1946 Oscar-winning movie The Best Years of Our Lives and White Heat (1949).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brian Aherne</span> English actor

William Brian de Lacy Aherne was an English actor of stage, screen, radio and television, who enjoyed a long and varied career in Britain and the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tom Drake</span> American actor (1918–1982)

Tom Drake was an American actor. Drake made films starting in 1940 and continuing until the mid-1970s, and also made TV acting appearances.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wendell Corey</span> American actor and politician (1914–1968)

Wendell Reid Corey was an American actor and politician. He was President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was a board member of the Screen Actors Guild.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jon Hall (actor)</span> American actor (1915–1979)

Jon Hall was an American film actor known for playing a variety of adventurous roles, as in 1937's The Hurricane, and later when contracted to Universal Pictures, including Invisible Agent and The Invisible Man's Revenge and six films he made with Maria Montez. He was also known to 1950s fans as the creator and star of the Ramar of the Jungle television series which ran from 1952 to 1954. Hall directed and starred in two 1960s sci-fi films in his later years, The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965) and The Navy vs. the Night Monsters (1966).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Carlson (actor)</span> American actor, director, and screenwriter

Richard Dutoit Carlson was an American actor, television and film director, and screenwriter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Barry Sullivan (American actor)</span> American actor (1912–1994)

Patrick Barry Sullivan was an American movie actor who appeared in over 100 movies from the 1930s to the 1980s, notably The Bad and the Beautiful opposite Kirk Douglas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ralph Meeker</span> American actor

Ralph Meeker was an American film, stage, and television actor. He first rose to prominence for his roles in the Broadway productions of Mister Roberts (1948–1951) and Picnic (1953), the former of which earned him a Theatre World Award for his performance. In film, Meeker is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Mike Hammer in Robert Aldrich's 1955 Kiss Me Deadly.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jeff Richards (actor, born 1924)</span> American baseball player and actor

Jeff Richards was an American minor league baseball player with the Portland Beavers, who later became an actor. He was sometimes credited as Dick Taylor and Richard Taylor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ray Danton</span> American actor, director and producer

Ray Danton was a radio, film, stage, and television actor, director, and producer whose most famous roles were in the screen biographies The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960) and The George Raft Story (1962). He was married to actress Julie Adams from 1954 to 1981.

References

  1. Geoff Mayer (2012). Historical Dictionary of Crime Films. Scarecrow Press. pp. 89–. ISBN   978-0-8108-6769-7.
  2. 1 2 Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 136. ISBN   9781557835512 . Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  3. The Life Story of STEVE COCHRAN Picture Show; London Vol. 59, Iss. 1530, (Jul 26, 1952): 12.
  4. John Austin, Tales of Hollywood the Bizarre SP Books, 1992, p. 70.
  5. "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. December 3, 1943. p. 27.
  6. "("Steve Cochran" search results)". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Archived from the original on 29 April 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  7. Actor Steve Cochran Believed to Be Dead in Boat Off Guatemala Shore: STEVE COCHRAN Los Angeles Times 27 June 1965: B.
  8. Steve Cochran Set for Dramatic Role Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times 15 Dec 1950: 30.
  9. Steve Cochran Star in Sympathetic Role Los Angeles Times 11 Aug 1951: A8.
  10. "SHAVED DOWN". The Sun . No. 2567. Sydney. 6 July 1952. p. 50. Retrieved 1 November 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  11. Steve Cochran Plans Directing Career; 'Space Station' Put on Roster Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]22 May 1953: B9.
  12. Hedda Hopper, "Steve Cochran to Do First Film in Europe", Los Angeles Times 20 May 1953, p. 22.
  13. "Ann Sheridan, Steve Cochran Starring in Arkansas Story By John Beaufort", Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 1956: 7.
  14. 1 2 HOWARD THOMPSON (Oct 20, 1962). "PLANS DISCUSSED BY STEVE COCHRAN: Film Actor-Producer, Here on Visit, Talks of Future". New York Times. p. 13.
  15. Profile of Steve Cochran at Google Books
  16. p.142 Parrish, Robert & DeCarl, Lennard Hollywood Players: The Forties 1976 Arlington House Publishers
  17. "Steve Cochran at Brian's Drive-In Theater".
  18. Clemens, Samuel. "Barbara Wilson", Classic Images . October 2022
  19. O'Brian, Jack (March 15, 1970). "Goading Them A New Sport". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. South Carolina, Spartanburg. p. B 10. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  20. Cavna, Michael (2010-08-13). "Remembering 'FUTURAMA' producer Alex Johns, 43". Washington Post . Retrieved 2010-09-05.
  21. "Search | 1950 Census".
  22. "Shot stopped actor's car". The Argus . No. 33, 443. Melbourne. 10 November 1953. p. 1. Retrieved 1 November 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  23. "FILM GOSSIP". The Sun . No. 2618. New South Wales, Australia. 28 June 1953. p. 53. Retrieved 1 November 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  24. Intermission by Anne Baxter
  25. "SEA PUZZLE Inquiry into actor's death". The Canberra Times . Vol. 39, no. 11, 194. 29 June 1965. p. 5. Retrieved 1 November 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  26. "SEA PUZZLE Inquiry into actor's death". Canberra Times. 29 June 1965.
  27. "Steve Cochran".
  28. "Steve Cochran Widow Given Half of Estate", Los Angeles Times October 13, 1965, p. 22.
  29. Wilson, Scott (August 22, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 144. ISBN   9780786479924 via Google Books.
  30. "Steve Cochran". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 29 April 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2017.