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Famous Like Me > Actor > D > Brian Donlevy

Profile of Brian Donlevy on Famous Like Me

Name: Brian Donlevy  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 9th February 1901
Place of Birth: Portadown, County Armagh, Ireland. [now Portadown, Craigavon District, Northern Ireland, UK]
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Donlevy (right) with costar Ella Raines in Impact (1949)

Brian Donlevy (born Waldo Bruce Donlevy on February 9, 1901 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA; died April 6, 1972 in Woodland Hills, California, USA) was an American actor, known for many film roles from the 1930s through to the 1960s. Early in his career, Hollywood film bosses established a fictional background of Donlevy having been born in Portadown County Armagh Ireland. This was not true, although it remains a popular biographical myth.

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. 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 successful film work followed, with several important parts, before 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 the best remembered, that of McGinty in The Great McGinty (known as Down Went McGinty in the UK), a role he reprised four years later in The Miracle of Morgan's Creek.

In 1955, he starred 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, in which the character had been British, but Hammer cast Donlevy in an attempt to help sell the film to American audiences, much to the displeasure of Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale who disliked Donlevy's portrayal of the character, 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, Mr. Donlevy also did several radio shows including a reprisal of his "Great McGinty" film. He went on to feature in a number of further film roles over the following years until his death, although also appearing increasingly in the newly-popular medium of television. He appeared in a variety of television series from the late 1940s to the mid 1960s, guesting in episodes of such popular programmes as Perry Mason, Wagon Train and Rawhide, including his own series in the 1950s, "Dangerous Assignment."

His last film role was in a picture called The Winner, released in 1969, and three years later he died of throat cancer at the age of seventy-one. His ashes were scattered over Santa Monica Bay.

Donlevy was married three times: firstly to Yvonne Grey from 1928 to 1936, then to actress Marjorie Lane from 1936 to 1938, and finally to Lillian Lugosi (the widow of Bela Lugosi famous for playing "Dracula") from 1966 until his death from cancer at the age of 71. He had one daughter, Judy Donlevy, by his second wife.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Brian Donlevy