Brian Donlevy

Brian Donlevy

Infobox actor
bgcolour =
name = Brian Donlevy

imagesize = 290px
caption = Brian Donlevy in "Kiss of Death," 1947
birthname = Waldo Bruce Donlevy
birthdate = birth date|1901|2|9
location = Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
deathdate = death date and age|1972|4|5|1901|2|9
deathplace = Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
othername =
yearsactive = 1924–1969
spouse = Yvonne Grey (1928–1936) Marjorie Lane (1936–1938) Lillian Lugosi (1966–1972)
homepage =
academyawards = Nominated: Best Supporting Actor 1939 "Beau Geste"
emmyawards =
tonyawards =

Brian Donlevy (February 9 1901 – April 5 1972) was an American actor, known for many film roles from the 1930s to the 1960s. Particularly known for playing "tough guy" roles, he mainly appeared in supporting roles on screen. Amongst the films for which he was best known were "Beau Geste" (1939) and "The Great McGinty" (1940). For his role as Sergeant Markoff in "Beau Geste" he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

His obituary in "The Times" newspaper in the United Kingdom stated that "any consideration of the American 'film noir' of the 1940s would be incomplete without him."cite news|title=Brian Donlevy - A Famous Film Tough Guy|publisher=The Times|date=1972-04-07|page=16]

Early life

Donlevy was born Waldo Bruce Donlevy in Cleveland, Ohio. Early in his career, Hollywood film bosses established a fictional background of Donlevy having been born in Portadown, County Armagh, Ireland. It remains a popular myth.cite book|last=Hearn|first=Marcus|coauthors=Rigby, Jonathan|year=2003|format=paperback|title=Quatermass 2—Viewing Notes|location=North Harrow|publisher=DD Video|id=DD06155|pages=pp. 7–9]

After lying about his age, Donlevy joined the American army in 1916 and saw service as a pilot during the First World War. After the war, he remained in the army for a short time before he decided to make the move into acting.

Acting career

He began his career in New York in the early 1920s, over the course of the decade appearing in many theatre productions and also winning an increasing number of silent film parts.

Donlevy's break into major film roles came in 1935, when he was cast in the Edward G. Robinson film "Barbary Coast". A large amount of film work followed, with several important parts. In 1939, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Sergeant Markoff in "Beau Geste", although the Oscar went to Thomas Mitchell for "Stagecoach".

The following year, he played the role for which he is perhaps best remembered, that of McGinty in "The Great McGinty" (known as "Down Went McGinty" in the United Kingdom), a role he reprised four years later in "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek". In 1942, Donlevy starred in the Paramount film "Wake Island". In 1955, he played the lead in the British science-fiction horror film "The Quatermass Xperiment" (called "The Creeping Unknown" in the US) for the Hammer Films company, playing the lead role of Professor Bernard Quatermass. The film was based on a 1953 BBC Television serial of the same name. The character had been British, but Hammer cast Donlevy in an attempt to help sell the film to American audiences. Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale disliked Donlevy's portrayal, referring to Donlevy as "a former Hollywood heavy gone to seed". Nonetheless, the film version was a success and Donlevy returned for the sequel, "Quatermass 2" ("Enemy From Space" in the US), in 1957, also based on a BBC television serial. This made Donlevy the only man ever to play the famous scientist on screen twice, although later Scottish actor Andrew Keir would play him two times, once on film and later on the radio.

Throughout his film career, Donlevy also did several radio shows, including a reprise of "The Great McGinty". He went on to feature in a number of films over the following years until his death. He also appeared in a variety of television series from the late 1940s to the mid 1960s, guest starring in episodes of such popular programs as "Perry Mason", "Wagon Train", "Rawhide," as well as in his own series in the 1950s, "Dangerous Assignment". In 1957, he appeared in a CBS production of the A. J. Cronin novel, "Beyond This Place". His last film role was in a picture called "The Winner", released in 1969.

Personal life

Donlevy was married three times: first to Yvonne Grey from 1928-36, then to actress Marjorie Lane from 1936-1938, and finally to Lillian Lugosi (the widow of Bela Lugosi, famous for playing Dracula) from 1966 until his death in 1972.

He died on April 6 1972 in Woodland Hills, California from throat cancer, aged 71, survived by his wife Lillian and a daughter, Judy Donlevy, by his second wife. His ashes were scattered over Santa Monica Bay.

Partial filmography

*"Barbary Coast" (1935)
*"In Old Chicago" (1937)
*"Jesse James" (1939)
*"Union Pacific" (1939)
*"Beau Geste" (1939)
*"Allegheny Uprising" (1939)
*"Destry Rides Again" (1939)
*"The Great McGinty" (1940)
*"Billy the Kid" (1941)
*"Wake Island" (1942)
*"The Glass Key" (1942)
*"Hangmen Also Die!" (1943)
*"The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" (1944)
*"Two Years Before the Mast" (1946)
*"The Virginian" (1946)
*"Canyon Passage" (1946)
*"The Beginning or the End" (1947)
*"Kiss of Death" (1947)
*"Command Decision" (1948)
*"Impact" (1949)
*"Kansas Raiders" (1950)
*"The Big Combo" (1955)
*"The Quatermass Xperiment" (1955) - USA title "The Creeping Unknown" [ Quatermass II: DVD (1957) - ] ]
*"Quatermass 2" (1957) - originally titled "Quatermass II, Enemy from Space"; known in USA as "The Enemy from Space"
*"Cowboy" (1958)
*"Never So Few" (1959)
*"The Errand Boy" (1961)
*"Curse of the Fly" (1965)
*"How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" (1965)
*"Waco" (1966)
*"Gamera" (1965)
*"The Fat Spy" (1966)


External links

*imdb name|id=0002046

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