Don Abney (1923-2000) [Pete Kelly's Blues (1955); Cindy (1978) (TV)] was born in Baltimore, Maryland and became a jazz pianist accompanist to Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Thelma Carpenter, and the Billy Williams Quartet



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Don Abney (1923-2000) [Pete Kelly's Blues (1955); Cindy (1978) (TV)] was born in Baltimore, Maryland and became a jazz pianist accompanist to Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Thelma Carpenter, and the Billy Williams Quartet. He studied music privately in Baltimore and later at the Manhattan School of Music. While serving in the US Army Band during World War II he played French horn and later performed with the orchestras of Bubby Johnson, Eddie Gibbs, Snub Mosely, Wilbur De Paris, Chuck Wayne, the Bill Harris-Kai Winding combo, Sy Oliver, and Louie Bellson.


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Don Adams (1923-2005) [Get Smart, tv] served with the U.S. Marine Corps during WW II in the Pacific. He was wounded during the Battle of Guadalcanal and he contracted malaria, nearly dying of blackwater fever. Upon his recovery and return to the States, he served as a drill instructor.
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Charles Aidman (1925-1993) [Pork Chop Hill (1959); Uncommon Valor (1983)] originally planned a career as an attorney, but was sidetracked during World War II and naval officer training at DePaul university. During a speech class the instructor, who also headed the drama department, saw Aidman as ideal for a role in an upcoming play. "I did the play and enjoyed it. It was the first play I was in, in my life...I've been acting ever since."
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John Agar (1921-2002) [The Woman on Pier 13 (1949); Chisum (1970); Fear (1990)] was born in Chicago, the eldest of four children. In World War II, Sgt. John Agar was a United States Army Air Force physical instructor. His 1945 marriage at the Wilshire Memorial Church to "America's Sweetheart" Shirley Temple put him in the public eye for the first time, and a movie contract with independent producer David O. Selznick quickly ensued. Agar debuted opposite John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Shirley Temple in John Ford's Fort Apache (1948), initial film in the famed director's "Cavalry Trilogy".
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Claude Akins (1926-1994) [From Here to Eternity (1953); The Killers (1964) -- tv, The Night Stalker (1972); Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (1979)]. Served with the US Army Signal Corps in World War II in Burma and the Philippines.
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Eddie Albert (1906-2005) [tv: Green Acres; Film: The Longest Day]. Served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard in the Pacific during WW II. A genuine war hero, he was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions during the Battle of Tarawa in Nov. 1943, when, as a landing ship pilot, he rescued several hundred wounded Marines while under heavy enemy machine-gun fire.
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Robert Altman (1925-2006) [The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947); co-wrote screenplay: Bodyguard (1948)] was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to B.C. (an insurance salesman) and Helen Altman. He entered St. Peters Catholic school at the age six, and spent a short time at a Catholic high school. From there, he went to Rockhurst High School. It was then that he became interested in the art of exploring sound with the cheap tape recorders available at the time. He was later sent to Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri where he attended through Junior College. In 1945, he enlisted in the Air Force and became a B-24 co-pilot with the 307th Bomb Group.. After his discharge from the military, he became fascinated by movies and he and his first wife, LaVonne Elmer, moved to Hollywood.

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Michael Joseph Anderson (1920- ). [Director: Around the World in 80 Days (1956); Logan's Run (1976)]. After serving in World War II (he was with The Royal Corps Of Signals), Anderson first developed his career in British films, becoming a director in 1949 and enjoying his first success with the war movie The Dam Busters (1954). The Dam Busters made good use of limited special effects and is often cited as an inspiration for the climax of the first Star Wars film. Anderson directed the first cinema adaptation of George Orwell's 1984 (1956) and Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his direction. He also directed the 1968 film The Shoes of the Fisherman starring Anthony Quinn, Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud. He settled in Hollywood, California, making such science fiction offerings as Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975) and Logan's Run (1976). Logan's Run was an expensive box-office success, contributing a box office of $50 million worldwide and boosting sales for its distributor, Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
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Keith Andes (1920-2005) [Project X (1949); Back From Eternity (1956); ...And Justice for All (1979)] was born John Charles Andes in Ocean City, New Jersey. While serving with the Air Force during World War II, he performed in the patriotic 1943 Broadway stage show Winged Victory and, after being seen by studio mogul Darryl F. Zanuck, was given a minor part in the film version the following year. Andes returned to Hollywood in the post-war years and won the role of one of Loretta Young's brothers (the others being Lex Barker and James Arness) in the classic film The Farmer's Daughter (1947). In Clash by Night (1952), one of his best roles, he dallied hot and heavy with a young Marilyn Monroe and in Blackbeard, the Pirate (1952) he demonstrated some expert swashbuckling skills.
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James Arness (1923-2011) [Island in the Sky (1953); tv Gunsmoke (1955-1975)]. Served in the U.S. Army during WW II and was severely wounded in the Battle of Anzio, leading to a lifelong limp. His military awards and medals include: the Bronze Star; the Purple Heart; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three bronze star devices; World War II Victory Medal; and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.
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Richard Attenborough (1923- ) ["Big X" in The Great Escape (1963); Jurassic Park (1993)], actor, director, producer, was born in Cambridge, England. Attenborough was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester and at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). His film career began in 1942 as a deserting sailor in In Which We Serve, a role which would help to type-cast him for many years as a coward in films like London Belongs to Me (1948), Morning Departure (1950), and his breakthrough role as a psychopathic young gangster in the film of Graham Greene's novel Brighton Rock (1947). During World War II Attenborough served in the Royal Air Force. Lord Attenborough was appointed a CBE in 1967, knighted in 1976 and created a life peer in 1993.
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Gene Autry (1907-1998) [singing cowboy in westerns] joined the Army Air Forces in 1942 and became Sgt. Gene Autry. During the war he ferried fuel, ammunition, and arms in the China-India-Burma theater of war and flew over the Himalayas, the hazardous air route known as "The Hump." When the war ended, Autry was reassigned to Special Services where he toured with a USO troupe in the South Pacific before resuming his movie career in 1946.
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Lew Ayres (1908-1996) [Young Dr. Kildare (1938); Johnny Belinda (1948)]. Star of the 1930 antiwar film All Quiet on the Western Front, he was so affected by the film's message he became a conscientious objector. Ayres' star status was boosted in 1938 when he was hired to play Dr. Kildare in MGM's long-running series of Kildare B-pictures. After appearing in nine Kildare films, he declared himself a conscientious objector and refused to bear weapons when called to duty in World War II. He was publicly perceived to be a coward and MGM dropped his contract. After the war, the public learned of Ayres' bravery under fire as a non-combatant medical corpsman and he was permitted to resume his career.


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Parley Baer (1914-2002) [Comanche Territory (1950); Last of the Dogmen (1995)] was born Parley Edward Baer in Salt Lake City, Utah and became a hefty balding character actor of mostly comedy hijinks who, during his six-decade career, proved a durable, hot-headed foil for TV's top sitcom stars such as Lucille Ball, Ozzie Nelson and on The Andy Griffith Show as Mayor Roy Stoner replacing Dick Elliott (Mayor Pike) who died in December of the second season. Earlier he had played "Chester" on the Gunsmoke radio series which ran from 1952 to 1961 (Dennis Weaver played the Chester role in the Gunsmoke TV series). Baer was the voice of Ernie Keebler on the Keebler cookies commercials. Served in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific theater in World War II, earning seven battle stars and a presidential citation. Attained rank of captain.
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Conrad Bain (1923- ) [A Lovely Way to Die (1968); Postcards from the Edge (1990)] was born Conrad Stafford Bain in Lethbridge, Alberta. He is a Canadian-American television actor, best known for his tv roles of Dr. Arthur Harmon in Maude (1972-1978) and Phillip Drummond in Diff'rent Strokes (1978-1986). He enjoyed typically Canadian sports growing up (ice hockey, speed skating), but picked up an interest in acting while in high school, electing to train at Alberta's Banff School of Fine Arts after graduating. He subsequently joined the Canadian Army during World War II, then proceeded to pick up from where he left off following his discharge and study at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Marrying Monica Marjorie Sloane, an artist, in 1945, the actor became a naturalized U.S. citizen the following year. The couple went on to have three children.
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Bob Baker (1910-1975) [Courage of the West (1937); Wild Horse Stampede (1943)] was home on the Hollywood range only a few years but Bob "Tumbleweed" Baker (nee Stanley Leland Weed) still made his mark by the time he rode off into the sunset. Born in Forest City, IA, his family eventually moved to Colorado and then to Arizona during his growing years. He enlisted in the Army when he was 18 and earned the nickname "Tumbleweed" while also learning how to play the guitar. He later served during World War II and the Korea War. Baker made an initial name for himself on radio. A chance audition for Universal Pictures, which was on the lookout to groom a new singing cowboy star after the meteoric success of Gene Autry, was his big break, beating out such other sagebrush hopefuls as Roy Rogers.
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Martin Balsam (1914-1996) was an American character actor. He studied dramatics at the New School in New York City and then served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. In 1947 he was selected by Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg to be a player in the Actors' Studio television program and went on to appear in a number of television plays in the 1950s and returned frequently to television as a guest star on numerous dramas. Balsam appeared in such film as On the Waterfront (1954); as Juror #1 in 12 Angry Men (1957); Psycho (1960); as the police chief in Cape Fear (1962); Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961); Seven Days in May (1964); Catch-22 (1970); and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970). In 1967 he won a Tony Award for his appearance in the 1967 Broadway production of You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running.
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John Baragrey (1918-1975) [The Loves of Carmen (1948); Pardners (1956)] was a "tall, dark and handsome" variety on 50s Broadway and in Hollywood. He found steady work on TV soaps and in guest spots, but found regrettably few film offers...and those he did find were for the most part highly unmemorable. Born in Haleyville, Alabama in 1919, he attended the University of Alabama and decided to make a go of it in acting, moving to New York for study. He toured the South Pacific with the USO play "Petticoat Fever" from 1943 to 1945 and met actress Louise Larabee, whom he later married. From 1962 to 1964 he appeared on the daytime soap The Secret Storm (1954).
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Eric Barker (1912-1990) [Tom Brown's Schooldays (1916); Carry on Emmannuelle (1978)] was born Eric Leslie Barker in Thornton Heath, Surrey, England, and became one of the most familiar faces in British comedy. He got his start in show business during World War II, when he was part of the armed forces radio show Merry Go Round. After the war the show continued, though renamed The Waterlogged Spa, with Barker and his wife, Pearl Hackney. The show's success led to Barker's starring in other radio shows, where he achieved a rather sizable following due to his versatility at doing voices. By the mid-1950s Barker had made the move to films, and found his niche in playing variations on the busybody sticking his nose in everyone's business, or, in the case of the Carry On comedies, the gang's boss or some other authority figure who was usually on the receiving end of their shenanigans, most memorably in Carry on Constable (1960).
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Lex Barker (1919-1973) [The Farmer's Daughter (1947); Away All Boats (1956)] was born Alexander Crichlow Barker Jr. in Rye, New York. He is best known as the tenth actor to play Tarzan in the movies, and starred in nearly thirty movies in the 1940s and 1950s. During this time he enlisted as a private to fight in World War II and eventually rose to the rank of Major. In 1957, as he found it harder and harder to find work in American films, Lex moved to Europe and found popularity and starred in over forty European films, especially in Germany.
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Richard Barthelmess (1895-1963) [Just a Song at Twilight (1916); The Mayor of 44th Street (1942)] was born in Southampton, New York into a theatrical family in which his mother was an actress. While attending Trinity College in Connecticut, he began appearing in stage productions. While on vacation in 1916, a friend of his mother, actress Alla Nazimova, offered him a part in War Brides (1916), and Richard never returned to college. Barthelmess made 75 films in the twenty years between his first feature in 1916 and his semi-retirement from the screen in 1936. He appeared in only six more films between 1936 and 1942. His silent films number 57. His early talkies number 19. Richard joined the Navy Reserve in 1942 and served for the duration of World War II. When the war ended he retired to Long Island and lived off his real estate investments.
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Benny Bartlett (1924-1999) [Timothy's Quest (1936); Dig That Uranium (1955)] was not only an actor but also an accomplished musician. In fact, he was such a child prodigy on the piano that, at eight years of age, he appeared in an RKO musical, Millions in the Air (1935), playing the piano. The next year he appeared in a short for Paramount, performing a composition he had written at the age of nine! The studio signed him to a contract soon afterwards. Bartlett began appearing with many of Paramount's biggest stars, and became such a hot property that he was often loaned out to other studios. By the early 1940s, though, he had reached the awkward age where he couldn't play juveniles anymore but wasn't quite ready for adult roles. The problem was solved when he joined the military and served in World War II. After his enlistment was over he resumed his acting career, and was cast as a member of the gang in the Bowery Boys comedies. He exited the series in 1955, and shortly afterwards left the film business entirely.
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Alan Baxter (1909-1976) [Thirteen Hours by Air (1936); South Pacific (1957)] was born in East Cleveland, Ohio, the son of a Cleveland Trust Company VP. Following high school he studied drama at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he forged a strong friendship with fellow collegiate and future directing icon Elia Kazan. Once they graduated in 1930, the pair went on to attend the Yale School of Drama. He was too old for the draft in World War II but following a series of films including the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller Saboteur (1942), in which he appeared as the meek-voiced, mustachioed, bespectacled, peroxide blond Nazi spy Freeman, Alan, at age 35, signed up for the Army Air Force in 1943, and made an appearance in the Broadway production of Moss Hart's Winged Victory, which later was turned into the 1944 movie version of the same name, also featuring Alan.
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Geoffrey Bayldon (1924- ), a British actor, was born in Leeds, Yorkshire. He served in the Royal Air Force prior to training to be an actor. He trained at Old Vic Theatre School, 1947-1949. After playing roles in dramas of Shakespeare, he became famous with the role of Catweazle in the early 1970s and also played the Crowman in Worzel Gummidge. Bayldon made several film appearances in the 1960s and 1970s, including King Rat (1965), Casino Royale (1967) and the film version of the television series Porridge (1979). He also had a guest appearance in the long running BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who as Organon in The Creature from the Pit. More recently, he has also performed in two audio plays based on the Doctor Who television series by Big Finish Productions in the Doctor Who Unbound series - Auld Mortality and A Storm of Angels.
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Don Beddoe (1891-1991) [Dear Old Dad (1938); Nickel Mountain (1984)] was an American character actor. Raised in New York City and Cincinnati, Ohio, Beddoe was the son of a professor at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music who happened also to be the world-famous Welsh tenor, Dan Beddoe. Although Don Beddoe intended a career in journalism, he took an interest in theatre and became involved first with amateur companies and then with professional theatre troupes. He debuted on Broadway in 1929 and kept up a decade-long career on the stage. Although said to have made some minor appearances in silent films, Beddoe made his real transfer to film work in 1938. He appeared in a wide range of supporting roles in literally scores of films, often as either a fast-talking reporter or as a mousey sort. He became one of the most readily familiar faces in Hollywood movies, despite remaining almost unknown by name outside the industry. Following service in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he continued to work steadily in small roles, complementing them with television work. Despite advancing (and very ripe old) age, he remained quite active, supplementing his acting work with a second career in real estate.
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Harry Belafonte (1927- ) [Carmen Jones (1954); Uptown Saturday Night (1974)] was born in New York City. He attended George Washington High School, where he was on the track team. In 1944 he left high school and joined the Navy and served during World War II. His wife, Julie Robinson, was a featured dancer in Katherine Dunham's dance troupe. Both Harry and Julie were, and still are, extremely active fighting for civil rights for blacks by abasing, demeaning and devaluing other races. Belafonte is a communist sympathizer. He is an admirer and personal friend of Fidel Castro, the tyrant that has ruled Cuba since 1959. Belafonte was a close friend of Burt Lancaster and the other U.S. haters that penetrated and took control of Hollywood political thought after the Korean War.
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