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Dan Duryea
Dan Duryea.jpg
Duryea as "Waco Johnny" Dean in Winchester '73 (1950)
Born(1907-01-23)January 23, 1907
DiedJune 7, 1968(1968-06-07) (aged 61)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Hollywood Hills, California
Years active1933–1968
Helen Bryan
(m. 1932; died 1967)
Children2, including Peter Duryea

Dan Duryea (/ˈdʊri./ DUURR-ee-ay, January 23, 1907 – June 7, 1968) was an American actor in film, stage, and television. Known for portraying a vast range of character roles as a villain, he nonetheless had a long career in a wide variety of leading and secondary roles.[1]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • One way street (1950) - Crime/Drama/Film-Noir /Thriller - Dan Duryea, James Mason & Märta Torén


Early life

Duryea was born and raised in White Plains, New York. He graduated from White Plains High School in 1924 and Cornell University in 1928. While at Cornell, Duryea was elected into the prestigious Sphinx Head Society, Cornell's oldest senior honor society. He majored in English with a strong interest in drama, and in his senior year succeeded Franchot Tone as president of the college drama society.[2]

As his parents did not approve of his choice to pursue an acting career, Duryea became an advertising executive. After six stress-filled years, he had a heart attack that sidelined him for a year.[2]

Acting career

Tallulah Bankhead, Charles Dingle, Carl Benton Reid and Dan Duryea in the original Broadway production of The Little Foxes (1939)
Tallulah Bankhead, Charles Dingle, Carl Benton Reid and Dan Duryea in the original Broadway production of The Little Foxes (1939)


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.[3][4] He also appeared on Broadway in Many Mansions (1937) and Missouri Legend (1938).[5]


With Jane Wyman and John McIntire in television series Wagon Train (1962)
With Jane Wyman and John McIntire in television series Wagon Train (1962)

In 1940, Duryea moved to Hollywood to appear in the film version of The Little Foxes.[6] He continued to establish himself with supporting and secondary roles in films such as The Pride of the Yankees (1942) and None But the Lonely Heart (1944). As the 1940s progressed, he found his niche as the "sniveling, deliberately taunting" antagonist in a number of films noir (Scarlet Street, The Woman in the Window, The Great Flamarion, Criss Cross, Too Late for Tears, Johnny Stool Pigeon), and Westerns such as Along Came Jones and Black Bart, although he was sometimes cast in more sympathetic roles (Black Angel, One Way Street).[6] In 1946, exhibitors voted him the eighth most promising "star of tomorrow".[7]

Duryea co-starred opposite Gary Cooper three times in the 1940s: Ball of Fire, Pride of the Yankees and Along Came Jones. In the 1950s, Duryea co-starred with James Stewart in three films, Winchester '73 (as the dastardly "Waco Johnny" Dean), Thunder Bay, and Night Passage. He was featured in several other westerns, including Silver Lode, Ride Clear of Diablo, and The Marauders, and in more film-noir productions like 36 Hours, Chicago Calling, Storm Fear, and The Burglar.

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!"[8]

In his last years, Duryea reteamed with Stewart for the adventure film The Flight of the Phoenix, about men stranded in the Sahara desert by a downed airplane, appearing as a mild-mannered accountant, closer to his real-life persona. He worked in overseas film productions including the British neo-noir thriller Do You Know This Voice? (1964), the Italian Western The Hills Run Red, aka Un Fiume di dollari, (1966) and the spy thriller Five Golden Dragons (1967) in West Germany, while continuing to find roles on American television. He also appeared twice on the big screen with his son, character actor Peter Duryea, in the low-budget Westerns Taggart (1964) and The Bounty Killer (1965).[1]


Duryea starred as the lead character China Smith in the television series China Smith from 1952 to 1953 and The New Adventures of China Smith from 1954 to 1956.

He later guest-starred as Roy Budinger, the self-educated mastermind of a criminal ring dealing in silver bullion, in the episode "Terror Town" on October 18, 1958 of NBC's western series Cimarron City. On season 1, episode 15 of Wagon Train, he guest-starred as the title character in "The Cliff Grundy Story" (December 1957).

In 1959, Duryea appeared as an alcoholic gunfighter in third episode of The Twilight Zone, "Mr. Denton on Doomsday". He guest starred on NBC's anthology series The Barbara Stanwyck Show and appeared in an episode of Rawhide in 1959, "Incident Of The Executioner." On September 15, 1959, Duryea guest-starred as the outlaw Bud Carlin in the episode "Stage Stop", the premiere of NBC's Laramie western series. Duryea appeared again as Luke Gregg on Laramie on October 25, 1960, in the episode "The Long Riders". Duryea also put in a great comic performance in The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in an episode called "Three Wives Too Many" (1964).

Three weeks later, on November 16, 1960, Duryea played a mentally unstable pioneer obsessed by demons and superstitions in "The Bleymier Story" of NBC's Wagon Train. Elen Willard played his daughter; James Drury, his daughter's suitor. Duryea was cast twice in 1960 as Captain Brad Turner in consecutive episodes of the NBC western series Riverboat. He spoofed his tough-guy image in a comedy sketch about a robbery on the Dec. 4, 1960 episode of The Jack Benny Program. Dan also guest starred in a 1962 episode of Tales of Wells Fargo TV western series as Marshal Blake opposite Dale Robertson.

In 1963, Duryea portrayed Dr. Ben Lorrigan on NBC's medical drama, The Eleventh Hour. In 1967, a television version of Winchester '73 was released in which Duryea played the part of Bart McAdam, an uncle to Lin and Dakin McAdam. A notable co-star in the film was John Saxon (Dakin McAdam). From 1967 to 1968, he appeared in a recurring role as Eddie Jacks on the soap opera Peyton Place.[9]

Personal life

Duryea was 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 including, at various times, active membership in the local parent-teacher association and Scout Master of a Boy Scout troop.[2]

On June 7, 1968, Duryea died of cancer at the age of 61. The New York Times tellingly noted the passing of a "heel with sex appeal."[10] His remains are interred in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.[2] His headstone reads: "DAN DURYEA 1907-1968 OUR POP A MAN EVERYBODY LOVED."[11]

Complete filmography

Year Film Role Director Notes
1934 The Tango on Broadway Laurita's Boyfriend Louis J. Gasnier uncredited
1941 The Little Foxes Leo Hubbard William Wyler
1941 Ball of Fire Duke Pastrami Howard Hawks
1942 The Pride of the Yankees Hank Hanneman Sam Wood
1942 That Other Woman Ralph Cobb Ray McCarey
1943 Sahara Jimmy Doyle Zoltán Korda
1944 Man from Frisco Jim Benson Robert Florey
1944 Mrs. Parkington Jack Stilham Tay Garnett
1944 None But the Lonely Heart Lew Tate Clifford Odets
1944 The Woman in the Window Heidt / Tim, the Doorman Fritz Lang
1944 Ministry of Fear Cost / Travers the Tailor Fritz Lang
1945 Main Street After Dark Posey Dibson Edward L. Cahn
1945 The Great Flamarion Al Wallace Anthony Mann
1945 The Valley of Decision William Scott Jr. Tay Garnett
1945 Along Came Jones Monte Jarrad Stuart Heisler
1945 Lady on a Train Arnold Waring Charles David
1945 Scarlet Street Johnny Prince Fritz Lang
1946 Black Angel Martin Blair Roy William Neill
1946 White Tie and Tails Charles Dumont Charles Barton[12]
1948 Black Bart Charles E. Boles / Black Bart George Sherman
1948 River Lady Beauvais George Sherman
1948 Another Part of the Forest Oscar Hubbard Michael Gordon
1948 Larceny Silky Randall George Sherman
1949 Criss Cross Slim Dundee Robert Siodmak
1949 Manhandled Karl Benson Lewis R. Foster
1949 Too Late for Tears Danny Fuller Byron Haskin
1949 Johnny Stool Pigeon Johnny Evans William Castle
1950 One Way Street John Wheeler Hugo Fregonese
1950 Winchester '73 Waco Johnny Dean Anthony Mann
1950 The Underworld Story Mike Reese Cy Endfield
1951 Chicago Calling William R. Cannon John Reinhardt
1951 Al Jennings of Oklahoma Al Jennings Ray Nazarro
1953 Thunder Bay Gambi Anthony Mann
1953 Sky Commando Col. Ed (E.D.) Wyatt Fred F. Sears
1953 Terror Street Major Bill Rogers
1954 World for Ransom Mike Callahan / Corrigan Robert Aldrich (uncredited)
1954 Ride Clear of Diablo Whitey Kincade Jesse Hibbs
1954 Rails Into Laramie Jim Shanessy Jesse Hibbs
1954 Silver Lode Fred McCarty Allan Dwan
1954 This Is My Love Murray Myer Stuart Heisler
1955 Foxfire Hugh Slater Joseph Pevney
1955 The Marauders Avery Gerald Mayer
1955 Storm Fear Fred Blake Cornel Wilde
1956 Battle Hymn Sergeant Herman Douglas Sirk
1957 The Burglar Nat Harbin Paul Wendkos
1957 Night Passage Whitey Harbin James Neilson
1957 Slaughter on Tenth Avenue John Jacob Masters Arnold Laven
1958 Kathy O' Harry Johnson Jack Sher
1960 Platinum High School Maj. Redfern Kelly Charles Haas
1962 Six Black Horses Frank Jesse Harry Keller
1965 Daniel Boone Simon Perigore
1964 He Rides Tall Bart Thorne R. G. Springsteen
1964 Do You Know This Voice? John Hopta
1964 Walk a Tightrope Carl Lutcher Frank Nesbitt
1964 Taggart Jay Jason R. G. Springsteen
1965 The Bounty Killer Willie Duggan Spencer Gordon Bennet
1965 The Flight of the Phoenix Standish Robert Aldrich
1966 Incident at Phantom Hill Joe Barlow Earl Bellamy
1966 Un Fiume di dollari Col. Winny Getz
1967 Winchester '73 Bart McAdam TV Movie
1967 Five Golden Dragons Dragon #1 Jeremy Summers
1967 Stranger on the Run O.E. Hotchkiss Don Siegel TV Movie
1968 The Bamboo Saucer Hank Peters Frank Telford final film role

Partial television appearances

Radio performances



  1. ^ a b Gaita, Paul. Dan Duryea Biography." Tunrer Classic Movies. Retrieved: May 14, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Obituary." Dan Duryea Central. Retrieved: May 14, 2013.
  3. ^ "Dan Duryea." Archived 2012-03-30 at the Wayback Machine ReelZ TV about Movies, 2013. Retrieved: May 14, 2013.
  4. ^ "Dan Duryea: Biography." Fandango.Retrieved: May 14, 2013.
  5. ^ "("Dan Duryea" search results)". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on February 12, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Maltin 1994, p. 252.
  7. ^ "The Stars of To-morrow." Sydney Morning Herald, September 10, 1946, p. 17. Retrieved: April 24, 2012.
  8. ^ CineMata
  9. ^ "Dan Duryea." Retrieved: May 14, 2013.]
  10. ^ "Dan Duryea, Actor, Dies at 61". New York Times. June 8, 1968. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  11. ^ "Dan Duryea (1907-1968) - Find a Grave Memorial".
  12. ^ "White Tie and Tails (1946)". The British Film Institute. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  13. ^ open access
  14. ^ access
  15. ^ Kirby, Walter (April 6, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 52. Retrieved May 16, 2015 – via open access


  • Maltin, Leonard. "Dan Duryea". Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia. New York: Dutton, 1994. ISBN 0-525-93635-1.

Further reading

  • Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Dan Duryea". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 94–96. ISBN 978-1-7200-3837-5.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 March 2023, at 01:02
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