Place of Death
Burbank, California, USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
How to Marry a Millionaire
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Profile Bio Text
Rory Calhoun was an American television and film actor, screenwriter, and producer best known for his roles in Westerns.
Born Francis Timothy McCown in Los Angeles, California, Calhoun was raised in Santa Cruz, California. When he was nine months old, his father died. After his mother remarried, he occasionally used the last name of his stepfather, Durgin. At the age of thirteen, his theft of a revolver landed him in the California Youth Authority`s Preston School of Industry reformatory at Ione, Ca. He escaped while in the adjustment center (jail within the jail) and never told how he managed it. After robbing several jewelry stores, he stole a car and drove it across state lines. This offense sent him to the federal penitentiary in Springfield, Missouri, for three years. When he finished his sentence, he was incarcerated in San Quentin on other charges and remained there until he was paroled just before his twenty-first birthday.
After his release from San Quentin, Calhoun worked several odd jobs. In 1943, while horseback riding in the Hollywood Hills, he met actor Alan Ladd, whose wife was an agent. Sue Carol Ladd landed him a one-line role in the Laurel and Hardy comedy The Bullfighters under the name Frank McCown. Shortly after, the Ladds hosted a party to which Sue invited David O. Selznick employee Henry Willson, an agent known for his stable of young, attractive, marginally talented actors with unusual names. Willson signed him to a contract and initially christened him Troy Donahue, then changed his name to Rory Calhoun. As he did with all his protégés, Willson carefully groomed him and taught him basic social manners.
Calhoun`s first public appearance in the film capital was as Lana Turner`s escort to the premiere of Alfred Hitchcock`s Spellbound (1945), a Selznick production. The glamorous blonde and her swarthy date drew the attention of the papparazzi, and photos of the couple appeared in several newspapers and fan magazines. Selznick loaned his now in-demand contract player to other studios, where Calhoun appeared in Adventure Island with Rhonda Fleming, The Red House with Edward G. Robinson, and That Hagen Girl with Shirley Temple.
Calhoun`s career gained momentum and he appeared in several westerns, musicals, and comedies including Way of a Gaucho with Gene Tierney, With a Song in My Heart with Susan Hayward, How to Marry a Millionaire, and River of No Return with Marilyn Monroe.
Willson maintained careful control over his rising star, arranging his social life and nixing his engagement to French actress Corinne Calvet.
In 1955, Willson disclosed information about Calhoun`s years in prison to Confidential magazine in exchange for the tabloid not printing an exposé about the secret homosexual life of Rock Hudson, another Willson client. The disclosure had no negative effect on Calhoun`s career and only served to solidify his bad boy image. Shortly after the story was published, Rachel and the Stranger was released and became a top box office attraction.
In 1958, Calhoun starred in CBS`s The Texan, a western series that ran on Monday evenings until 1960. On March 26, 1959, he appeared as himself in the episode "Rory Calhoun, The Texan" of the CBS sitcom December Bride starring Spring Byington in the title role, then in its last season of production. While filming The Texan, Calhoun began to produce episodes and would continue to produce and write screenplays throughout his career. After The Texan was canceled, he continued to appear in both television and film throughout the 1970s and 1980s including Thunder in Carolina, Rawhide, Gilligan`s Island, Hawaii Five-O, Alias Smith and Jones, Starsky and Hutch, and Motel Hell. In 1982, Calhoun had a regular role on the soap opera Capitol. He stayed with the series until 1987.
His final role was that of grizzled family patriarch and rancher Ernest Tucker in the 1992 film Pure Country.
Calhoun was married twice and had four daughters, three with Lita Baron, whom he divorced in 1970, and one with journalist Sue Rhodes (1971–1999).
Calhoun died in Burbank, California at the age of 76 from complications resulting from emphysema and diabetes.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Calhoun has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7007 Hollywood Blvd. and a second star at 1750 Vine Street for his work in television.
Full Name at Birth
Francis Timothy McCown
Vic Orsatti, David O. Selznick, Guy Madison, Debbie Reynolds, Gail Russell, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Michael Dante, Barbara Bates
Nathaniel Durgin (step father)
Actor/Actress, Producer, Writer
Rory Calhoun (August 8, 1922 – April 28, 1999) was an American television and film actor, screenwriter, and producer.
Couple Profile Source
Actor, screenwriter, producer
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