Wendell Corey

Wendell Corey
Wendell Corey

Biography: as per Wikipedia:

He was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, the son of Milton Rothwell Corey (October 24, 1879 – October 23, 1951) and Julia Etta McKenney (April 11, 1882 – June 16, 1947). His father was a Congregationalist clergyman. Wendell was educated in Springfield.

Corey began his acting career on the stage, doing a number of productions in summer stock. While appearing with a Works Progress Administrationtheatre company in the late 1930s, he met his future wife, Alice Wiley. Corey and Wiley had one son and three daughters, Jonathan, Jennifer, Bonnie Alice, and Robin.

His Broadway debut was in Comes the Revelation (1942). After appearing in a number of supporting roles, he scored his first hit as a cynical newspaperman in Elmer Rice‘s comedy Dream Girl (1945). While appearing in the play, Corey was seen by producer Hal Wallis, who persuaded him to sign a contract with Paramount and pursue a motion picture career in Hollywood.

His movie debut came as a gangster in Desert Fury (1947) starring John HodiakLizabeth Scott, and Mary Astor. Corey appeared in Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster, and a year later as Janet Leigh‘s fiancé in the Robert Mitchum romantic comedyHoliday Affair. He co-starred with Stanwyck twice more in 1950 in The File on Thelma Jordon and The Furies, and also opposite Joan Crawford inHarriet Craig, which was released the same year.

Corey’s memorable roles include that of police Lt. Thomas Doyle in Hitchcock‘s Rear Window (1954) starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. He appeared in The Big Knife (1955) starring Jack PalanceIda Lupino and Shelley WintersThe Rainmaker (1956) starring Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn and Loving You (1957) starring Elvis Presley and Lizabeth Scott.

He starred with Casey Walters in the television series Harbor Command (1957–1958), co-starred on The Nanette Fabray Show (1961), and had the lead role in the medical drama The Eleventh Hour (1962–1963). With Fabray, Corey played a widower who married Fabray’s character. Bobby Diamond also starred in the short-lived series. In The Eleventh Hour, Corey appeared as Dr. Theodore Bassett, co-starring with Jack Ging in the role of psychologist Paul Graham. In the second season of The Eleventh Hour, however, Corey was replaced by Ralph Bellamy, who assumed the role of psychiatrist Richard Starke.

Corey made guest appearances on a number of programs, including Target: The Corruptors!ChanningAlfred Hitchcock PresentsThe UntouchablesBurke’s LawThe Road West, and The Wild Wild West. He made a guest appearance during the final season of Perry Mason in 1966 as Jerome Klee in “The Case of the Unwelcome Well.”

Corey served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1961 to 1963 and was a member of the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild. A Republicancampaigner in national politics since 1956, Corey was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in April 1965. The conservative politician ran for the California seat in the United States Congressin 1966, but lost the primary election. He was still a councilman at the time of his death.


Wendell Corey obituary in “The Times” in 1968.

Film star and actor Wendell Corey, the American stage film and television actor, has died in Hollywood at the age of 54. He was an actor who only entered the theatre by chance, and who did not make his film debut until well into middle age.

Corey was born at Dracut, Massachusetts, on March 20, 1914. He was the son of the Rev. Milton R. Corey and was educated at the Central High School in Springfield, Massachusetts. As a young man he considered a variety of professions, including the law, journalism and professional tennis, but finally he began to earn his living selling washing machines. However in 1934 he was given a part in an amateur production of Street Scene in Springfield, and encouraged by this he made his first professional appearance at the Mountain Park casino. Holyoake, Massachusetts, a year later when he played in The Night of January 16th.

His acting career was thereafter reasonably but not outstandingly successful for several years, and when he was auditioned for a part in Robert Sherwood’s The Rugged Path, with Spencer Tracy, but was not chosen, he seriously considered giving up the stage. But he was then given the lead in Dream Girl, in 1945, and was so successful in it that he attracted the attention of Hal Wallis, who took him to Hollywood. Here he made his screen debut in a Hal Wallis-Paramount production. Desert Fury, in 1947 with John Hodiak, Lizabeth Scott, and Burt Lancaster, who was also then at the beginning of his film career. In this same year, which marked the turning point in his career, he appeared with some success on the London stage at the Piccadilly theatre as Bill Page in The Voice of the Turtle by John Van Druten.

The rest of his acting career was devoted largely to the cinema, and later to television, although he did return to the theatre occasionally and notably to New York in 1956 to play in The Night of the Auk. Among the best known films in which he appeared were The Rainmaker and Hitchcock‘s Rear Window

Corey was one of the first of a long line of Hollywood actors to enter politics. He became a member of Santa Monica, California, city council in 1965 and retained the post until his death. A hero of the Second World War, he was awarded the Legion of Honor by Czechoslovakia.

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