Victor Kilian

Last updated
Victor Kilian
Born
Victor Arthur Kilian

(1891-03-06)March 6, 1891
DiedMarch 11, 1979(1979-03-11) (aged 88)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US
Cause of deathHomicide during a robbery
Resting place Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
OccupationActor
Years active1909—1979
Spouse(s)Daisy Johnson (1915-1961) (her death)

Victor Arthur Kilian (March 6, 1891 – March 11, 1979) was an American actor who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses in the 1950s.

Hollywood blacklist people banned from American entertainment for suspected Communism

The Hollywood blacklist was the popular term for what was in actuality a broader entertainment industry blacklist put in effect in the mid 20th century in the United States during the early part of the Cold War. The blacklist involved the practice of denying employment to entertainment industry professionals believed to be or to have been Communists or sympathizers. Not just actors, but screenwriters, directors, musicians, and other American entertainment professionals were barred from work by the studios. This was usually done on the basis of their membership, alleged membership in, or even just sympathy with the Communist Party USA, or on the basis of their refusal to assist congressional investigations into the party's activities. Even during the period of its strictest enforcement, from the late 1940s through to the late 1950s, the blacklist was rarely made explicit or verifiable, but it quickly and directly damaged or ended the careers and income of scores of individuals working in the film industry.

Contents

Early life and career

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Victor Kilian began his career in entertainment at the age of eighteen by joining a vaudeville company. In the mid-1920s he began to perform in Broadway plays and by the end of the decade had made his debut in motion pictures. For the next two decades he made a good living as a character actor in secondary or minor roles in films such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938). He was frequently cast as a villain. While staging a fight scene with John Wayne for a 1942 film, Kilian suffered a serious injury that resulted in the loss of one eye.

Jersey City, New Jersey City in Hudson County, New Jersey, U.S.

Jersey City is the second most populous city in the U.S. state of New Jersey, after Newark. It is the seat of Hudson County as well as the county's largest city. As of 2017, the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program calculated that Jersey City's population was 270,753, with the largest population increase of any municipality in New Jersey since 2010, an increase of about 9.4% from the 2010 United States Census, when the city's population was at 247,597. ranking the city the 75th-most-populous in the nation.

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 18th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, 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.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

From Unknown World (1951), L-R: Otto Waldis, Bruce Kellogg, Marilyn Nash and Victor Kilian Unknown World (1951) 1.jpg
From Unknown World (1951), L-R: Otto Waldis, Bruce Kellogg, Marilyn Nash and Victor Kilian

He was an early resident of Free Acres, a social experimental community developed by Bolton Hall in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. [1]

Free Acres, New Jersey Unincorporated community in Union County, New Jersey, U.S.

Free Acres is an unincorporated community located along the border of Berkeley Heights in Union County and Watchung in Somerset County, in New Jersey, United States. Free Acres was created in 1910 as a social experiment by Bolton Hall, an Irish-born New York entrepreneur, reformer and follower of Leo Tolstoy. Hall believed in the idea of economist Henry George of single taxation, under which residents pay a land value tax to the community based on the value of the land alone, and in turn, the community pays a lump sum to the municipality.

Bolton Hall (activist) American lawyer, author and activist

Bolton Hall was an American lawyer, author, and Georgist activist who worked on behalf of the poor and starting the back-to-the-land movement in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.

Berkeley Heights, New Jersey Township in Union County, New Jersey, U.S.

Berkeley Heights is a township in Union County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 13,183, reflecting a decline of 224 (-1.7%) from the 13,407 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,427 (+11.9%) from the 11,980 counted in the 1990 Census.

During the McCarthyism of the 1950s, Kilian was blacklisted for his political beliefs but because the Actors' Equity Association refused to go along with the ban, Kilian was able to earn a living by returning to perform on stage. After Hollywood's blacklisting ended, he began doing guest roles on television series during the 1970s. He is best known for his role as Grandpa Larkin (aka The Fernwood Flasher) in the television soap opera spoof Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976). Kilian's wife, Daisy Johnson, to whom he had been married for 46 years, died in 1961.

McCarthyism Phenomenon in the US of making accusations of subversion or treason without evidence

McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term refers to U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) and has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting from the late 1940s through the 1950s. It was characterized by heightened political repression and a campaign spreading fear of Communist influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet agents.

Actors Equity Association

The Actors' Equity Association (AEA), commonly referred to as Actors' Equity or simply Equity, is an American labor union representing the world of live theatrical performance, as opposed to film and television performance. However, performers appearing on live stage productions without a book or through-storyline may be represented by the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). As of 2010, Equity represented over 49,000 theatre artists and stage managers.

<i>Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman</i> television series

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman is an American satirical soap opera that aired in daily (weekday) syndication from January 1976 to May 1977. The series was produced by Norman Lear, directed by Joan Darling, Jim Drake, Nessa Hyams, and Giovanna Nigro, and starred Louise Lasser. The series writers were Gail Parent and Ann Marcus.

In 1979, Kilian appeared in an episode of All in the Family , "The Return of Stephanie's Father", portraying a desk clerk in a seedy hotel. In the same episode fellow veteran Hollywood character actor Charles Wagenheim (1896-1979) appeared as a ‘bum’ in the hotel’s lobby. Just weeks before the episode aired, on March 6, 1979 (Kilian’s birthday), the 83 year-old Wagenheim was bludgeoned to death in his Hollywood apartment after he was surprised coming home from grocery shopping during an act of robbery. Five days later, on March 11, 1979, Kilian, who lived alone in Hollywood just blocks from Wagenheim, was also beaten to death by burglars in his apartment.

<i>All in the Family</i> American television series

All in the Family is an American sitcom TV-series that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network for nine seasons, from January 12, 1971 to April 8, 1979. The following September, it was continued with the spin-off series Archie Bunker's Place, which picked up where All in the Family had ended and ran for four more seasons.

On March 20, 1979, All in the Family posthumously aired the episode "The Return of Stephanie's Father", with Wagenheim’s and Kilian’s last screen performances. Victor Kilian's cremated remains were scattered in the rose garden at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.

Selected filmography

See also

Related Research Articles

Pedro de Cordoba actor

Pedro de Cordoba was an American actor.

John Rummel Hamilton was an American actor, who played in many movies and television programs. He is probably remembered best for his role as the blustery newspaper editor Perry White in the 1950s television program Adventures of Superman.

Dick Elliott American actor

Richard Damon Elliott was an American character actor who played in over 240 films from the 1930s until the time of his death.

Henry ONeill American film actor

Henry O'Neill was an American film actor known for playing gray-haired fathers, lawyers, and similarly dignified roles during the 1930s and 1940s.

George Chandler American film and television actor

George Chandler was an American actor who starred in over 140 feature films, usually in smaller supporting roles, and he is perhaps best known for playing the character of Uncle Petrie Martin on the television series Lassie.

Alan Bridge American actor

Al Bridge was an American character actor who played mostly small roles in over 270 films between 1931 and 1954. Bridge's persona was an unpleasant, gravel-voiced man with an untidy moustache. Sometimes credited as Alan Bridge, and frequently not credited onscreen at all, he appeared in many westerns, especially in the Hopalong Cassidy series, where he played crooked sheriffs and henchmen.

Pierre Frank Watkin was an American character actor in many films, serials, and television series from the 1930s through the 1950s, especially westerns. He is perhaps best remembered for being the father of Eleanor Twitchell, the lady who captures Lou Gehrig's heart in Pride of the Yankees (1942)

Georges Renavent actor

Georges Renavent was a French-American actor in film, Broadway plays and operator of American Grand Guignol. He was born in Paris, France. In 1914, he immigrated to the United States, crossing the frontier between Canada and Vermont.

Stanley Andrews American actor

Stanley Andrews was an American actor perhaps best known as the voice of Daddy Warbucks on the radio program Little Orphan Annie and later as "The Old Ranger", the first host of the syndicated western anthology television series, Death Valley Days.

Hobart Cavanaugh American actor

Hobart Cavanaugh was an American character actor in films and on stage.

Cyrus Willard Kendall was an American film actor. He appeared in more than 140 films between 1935 and 1950. Kendall's heavy-set, square-jawed appearance and deep voice were perfect for wiseguy roles such as policemen and police chiefs, wardens, military officers, bartenders, reporters, and mobsters. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri and died in Woodland Hills, California.

Joe Sawyer was a Canadian film actor. He appeared in more than 200 films between 1927 and 1962, and was sometimes billed under his birth name. He was born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Olin Howland actor

Olin Ross Howland was an American film and theatre actor.

Harry Cording British actor

Hector William "Harry" Cording was a British character actor.

Ralph Dunn was an American film, television, and stage actor.

Joseph Crehan actor

Joseph Crehan was an American film actor. He appeared in more than 300 films between 1916 and 1965, and notably played Ulysses S. Grant nine times between 1939 and 1958, most memorably in Union Pacific and They Died With Their Boots On.

William "Billy" Benedict American actor

William Benedict was an American actor, perhaps best known for playing "Whitey" in Monogram Pictures' The Bowery Boys series.

James Millican was an American actor with over 200 film appearances mostly in western movies.

Edward Keane was an American film actor. He appeared in more than 300 films between 1921 and 1955.

Ray Walker was an American actor, born Warren Reynolds Walker in Newark, New Jersey, who starred in Baby Take a Bow (1934), Hideaway Girl (1936), The Dark Hour (1936), The Unknown Guest (1943) and It's A Wonderful Life (1946).

References

  1. Buchan, Perdita. "Utopia, NJ", New Jersey Monthly , February 7, 2008. Accessed February 27, 2011. "Free Acres had some famous residents in those heady early days: actors James Cagney and Jersey City–born Victor Kilian, writers Thorne Smith (Topper) and MacKinlay Kantor (Andersonville), and anarchist Harry Kelly, who helped found the Ferrer Modern School, centerpiece of the anarchist colony at Stelton in present-day Piscataway."