Rory Calhoun

Born Francis Timothy McCown in Los Angeles, California on August 8, 1922 , Rory Calhoun was an American television and film actor, screenwriter and producer. The son of a professional gambler, he was of Scot-Irish and Spanish ancestry and spent his early years in Santa Cruz, California. He occasionally went by Frank Durgin, using the last name of his step-father, his father having died when Rory was still quite young. As a youth, he was in and out of trouble with the law. He was thirteen when he stole a revolver and was sent to the California Youth Authority's Preston School of Industry reformatory at Ione, California, but he escaped in a stolen car, was recaptured and was sentenced to three years in prison, serving his sentence at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. He was transferred to San Quentin prison on other charges. He was paroled shortly before his twenty-first birthday. During several random jobs in 1943, Rory was riding horseback in the Hollywood Hills when he met actor Alan Ladd. Ladd's wife was an agent who landed Calhoun a one-line role in "The Bullfighters," a Laurel and Hardy comedy. The Ladds helped launch his into a movie career. It was talent agent Henry Willson who renamed him "Rory Calhoun" and got him roles in Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound," "Adventure Island" with Rhonda Fleming, "The Red House" with Edward G. Robinson and "That Hagen Girl" with Shirley Temple. Becoming mostly known for westerns, musicals and comedies, he also appeared in two Marilyn Monroe movies, "How to Marry a Millionaire" with Betty Grable and "River of No Return." The last two films featured Marilyn Monroe. Willson revealed Calhoun's criminal past publicly in 1955, but the disclosure had no negative effect on Calhoun's career, only solidifying his public "bad boy" image.
Calhoun formed a production company in 1957 with Victor Orsatti to make their own movies and release the TV Series, "The Texan." Through the Sixties and Seventies the 1970s and 1980s, Calhoun made numerous TV appearances "Rawhide," "Gilligan's Island," "Hawaii Five-O," "Alias Smith and Jones" and "Starsky and Hutch." He was offered the role of J.R. Ewing in the series, "Dallas," turning it down because he was playing too many villains, but after Larry Hagman became a star in the role, he began regretting his choice. His family persuaded him to star in the series "Capitol," and he stayed with the series until 1987. His final role was that of rancher Ernest Tucker in the series "Pure Country" in 1992. He was married twice; his first wife divorcing him over frequent reports of his infidelities. He died in Burbank, California at the age of 76 from complications resulting from emphysema and diabetes on April 28, 1999, he was survived by both his wives and seven daughters.


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