Dan Duryea : biography
Dan Duryea (January 23, 1907 – June 7, 1968) was an American actor, known for roles in film, stage and television. Known for portraying a vast range of character roles as a villain, he nonetheless had a long career in leading and secondary roles.Gaita, Paul. Tunrer Classic Movies. Retrieved: May 14, 2013.
Duryea was quite different from the unsavoury characters he often portrayed. He was married for 35 years to his wife, Helen, until her death in January 1967. The couple had two sons: Peter (who worked for a time as an actor), and Richard, a talent agent. At home, Duryea lived a quiet life at his house in the San Fernando Valley, devoting himself to gardening, boating and community activities that included, at various times, active membership in the local parent-teacher association and command of a Boy Scout troop. Dan Duryea Central. Retrieved: May 14, 2013.
On June 6, 1968, Duryea died of cancer at the age of 61. The New York Times tellingly noted the passing of a "heel with sex appeal". His remains are interred in Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Returning to his earlier love of acting and the stage, Duryea made his name on Broadway in the play Dead End, followed by The Little Foxes, in which he portrayed Leo Hubbard. ReelZ TV about Movies, 2013. Retrieved: May 14, 2013. Fandango.Retrieved: May 14, 2013. In 1940, Duryea moved to Hollywood to appear in the film version of The Little Foxes.Maltin 1994, p. 252. He continued to establish himself with supporting and secondary roles in films such as The Pride of the Yankees and None But the Lonely Heart. As the 1940s progressed, he found his niche as the "sniveling, deliberately taunting" antagonist in a number of film noir subjects: (Scarlet Street, The Woman in the Window, Criss Cross, Too Late for Tears) and westerns such as Winchester ’73, although he was sometimes cast in more sympathetic roles (Black Angel, Ministry of Fear, One Way Street). In 1946, exhibitors voted him the eighth most promising "star of tomorrow". Sydney Morning Herald , September 10, 1946, p. 17. Retrieved: April 24, 2012.
When interviewed by Hedda Hopper in the early 1950s, Duryea spoke of career goals and his preparation for roles: "Well, first of all, let’s set the stage or goal I set for myself when I decided to become an actor … not just ‘an actor’, but a successful one. I looked in the mirror and knew with my "puss" and 155-pound weakling body, I couldn’t pass for a leading man, and I had to be different. And I sure had to be courageous, so I chose to be the meanest s.o.b. in the movies … strictly against my mild nature, as I’m an ordinary, peace-loving husband and father. Inasmuch, as I admired fine actors like Richard Widmark, Victor Mature, Robert Mitchum, and others who had made their early marks in the dark, sordid, and guilt-ridden world of film noir; here, indeed, was a market for my talents. I thought the meaner I presented myself, the tougher I was with women, slapping them around in well produced films where evil and death seem to lurk in every nightmare alley and behind every venetian blind in every seedy apartment, I could find a market for my screen characters."
"At first it was very hard as I am a very even-tempered guy, but I used my past life experiences to motivate me as I thought about some of the people I hated in my early as well as later life … like the school bully who used to try and beat the hell out of me at least once a week … a sadistic family doctor that believed feeling pain when he treated you was the birthright of every man inasmuch as women suffered giving birth … little incidents with trade-people who enjoyed acting superior because they owned their business, overcharging you. Then the one I used when I had to slap a woman around was easy! I was slapping the over-bearing teacher who would fail you in their ‘holier-than-thou’ class and enjoy it! And especially the experiences I had dealing with the unbelievable pompous ‘know-it-all-experts’ that I dealt with during my advertising agency days … almost going ‘nuts’ trying to please these ‘corporate heads’ until I finally got out of that racket!" IMDb. Retrieved: May 14, 2013.