Anthony Dexter

Anthony Dexter was born in 1913 in Nebraska.   He served in Europe with the American forces during World War Two.   He won the lead role of Rudolph Valentino in his first film “Valentino” in 1951.   His films include “The Brigand”, “Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl” and his final film in 1967, “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.    He died in 2001.

IMDB entry:

Sporting the name Walter Craig when out of the limelight and the stage name Anthony Dexter when in it, he rounded out his years teaching high school English, Speech, and Drama classes at Eagle Rock High School (circa 1968-78) in the Los Angeles area. His best-known role as an actor, however, occurred when he landed the part of Rudolph Valentino in the actor’s biopic Valentino (1951). He was reputed to have won the role from a competitive field of 75,000 aspiring Valentinos. The film’s producer, ‘Edward Small’, claimed to have made 400 screen tests for the part until discovering Dexter–the perfect fit. So much alike was Dexter in appearance to Valentino that Valentino fan clubs, upon learning of Dexter, applauded the choice of him to play their star. Even the press lauded Dexter as “incredible. The same eyes, ears, mouth–the same grace in dancing” (according to a 1950 Los Angeles Times article quoting George Melford, who directed Valentino in The Sheik (1921). Although “Valentino” was not the success its producers had hoped for, Dexter managed to garner future parts in movies similar to the roles the real Valentino had played: John Smith in Captain John Smith and Pocahontas (1953); Captain Kidd in Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl (1954); a pirate leader in The Black Pirates (1954); Christopher Columbus in The Story of Mankind (1957). After these roles, his career gradually diminished until ultimately he was cast in a bit part in Julie Andrews‘ vehicle Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967).

Dexter grew up on a farm in Talmadge, Nebraska, where he played such good football in high school that he earned a scholarship to St. Olaf’s College in Minnesota. There he began his pursuit of stage and screen, singing first in the college’s choir before going on to the University of Iowa to get his M.A. in speech and drama. Even during World War II, Dexter–then a sergeant with the Army Special Services–toured England and other parts of the European theater of war doing the show “Claudia.” Having not limited himself to movies, he did at least one notable run at summer theatre in San Francisco in “The King and I” and added to his credits parts in the Broadway shows “The Three Sisters,” “Ah, Wilderness” and “The Barretts of Wimpole Street.” He died at the age of 88 in Greeley, Colorado.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Patrick King <> (qv’s & corrections by A. Nonymous)

The above IMDB entry can also be accessed online here.

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