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Warren Hull
Hull in 1937
John Warren Hull

(1903-01-17)January 17, 1903
DiedSeptember 14, 1974(1974-09-14) (aged 71)
Resting placeNorth Cemetery
Other namesJ. Warren Hull
Alma materNew York University
Eastman School of Music
Occupation(s)Actor, singer, radio and television personality
Years active1923–1964
Agnes Briggs
(m. 1926; div. 1928)
Dorothy Daye
(m. 1929; div. 1944)
Elouise Gilmore Shea
(m. 1945; div. 1950)
Susan Fossum Stevens
(m. 1951⁠–⁠1974)

John Warren Hull (January 17, 1903 – September 14, 1974), known professionally as Warren Hull, was an American actor, singer and television personality active from the 1930s through the 1960s. He was one of the most popular serial actors in the action-adventure field.

Early years

Warren Hull in 1953

Born in Gasport, New York, Hull was one of three children born to John and Laura (nee Shafer) Hull. Both of his parents were Quakers. Hull attended Lockport High School, graduating in 1922.[1] He then attended New York University with the intention of pursuing a career in business. He later decided to pursue a career in music and enrolled at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied voice. After completing his studies, he moved to New York City, where he became a chorus boy in Shubert operas and operettas. This eventually led to Hull working in two Broadway musicals; starring as Jack Negly in My Maryland (1927) and as Jack Wayne in Rain or Shine (1928).[2]

In 1923, Hull began working as a radio announcer. He was the master of ceremonies for the first Your Hit Parade radio program and also worked as an announcer for The Beatrice Lillie Show.[3]



In the mid-1930s, Hull pursued a screen career.[3] He made his screen debut in 1934 for Educational Pictures, a short-subject studio. He co-starred opposite singer Sylvia Froos in the Young Romance series of musical comedies filmed in New York; Hull often joined Froos in song. In 1935 Hull was signed to a contract by Warner Bros., and spent the next few years playing leading men both in dramas and musicals.

When his Warners contract expired, Hull had no trouble finding work at other studios. He teamed with Patricia Ellis, one of his leading ladies at Warners, for the Republic Pictures musical Rhythm in the Clouds (1937). He also played romantic leads in a string of features for Monogram Pictures. Two of Hull's better-known appearances of this period were opposite Boris Karloff, in The Walking Dead (1936) and Night Key (1937). Some of Hull's early appearances have him billed as "J. Warren Hull."

In 1938, Columbia Pictures terminated its association with the Weiss Brothers, independent producers who had been making adventure serials for Columbia release, and decided to make its own cliffhangers. Warren Hull was signed for Columbia's second (and perhaps best) serial production, The Spider's Web (1938), based on a popular magazine character. Hull played three parts: criminologist Richard Wentworth, his masked-and-caped alter ego The Spider, and, in a second masquerade, lowlife mobster Blinky McQuade. The personable Hull brought a breezy sense of humor to his serial roles; he is probably the only serial hero who ever laughs on screen. Hull kept audiences following the Spider's thrilling exploits, making The Spider's Web the most popular and profitable serial of the year, outstripping such worthy cliffhangers as Buck Rogers and Dick Tracy Returns by a wide margin, according to a tally published in the Motion Picture Herald and The Film Daily.[4]

Pleased with Hull's performance, Columbia cast him as Mandrake the Magician in its 1939 serial. Universal Pictures starred the now-established serial hero in The Green Hornet Strikes Again! (1941) and Columbia put him back in the mask and cloak for The Spider Returns (1941).

Radio and television

In the mid-1940s, Hull returned to radio announcing, appearing with frequency on such programs as Your Hit Parade and Vox Pop. During World War II, Hull traveled about the country and in Canada, putting on Vox Pop before servicemen at camps and bases.[5] After the War, he did Vox Pop broadcasts from France, Britain, Alaska, and Puerto Rico. In 1947, he hosted The Warren Hull Show, for CBS radio. During this time, Hull also hosted Cavalcade of Bands for Dumont radio.

In 1948 he replaced Todd Russell as the host of the radio game show Strike It Rich. Hull continued as host when the show was adapted for television in 1951.[3] This is the TV series for which Warren Hull is best known; Hull remained host for the duration of the series, which ended in 1958.

Hull was also the emcee of Spin to Win, only the second game show created by the team of Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. In 1953–54, former Miss America Bess Myerson co-hosted a game show called "The Big Payoff"; Hull occasionally substituted for regular co-host Robert Paige. During the next two decades he hosted TV programs such as Top Dollar, Beat the Odds, and Public Prosecutor. By the early 1960s, Hull was largely retired and was living in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 1962, he came out of retirement to host the game show Who in the World.[6]

Personal life

Hull was married four times and had four children.[1] His first three marriages ended in divorce. His fourth marriage to Susan Fossum Stevens lasted until his death in 1974.[7]


On September 14, 1974, Hull died of congestive heart failure at Waterbury Hospital in Waterbury, Connecticut, at the age of 71.[3] His funeral was held on September 18 at the Church of the Epiphany in Southbury, Connecticut, after which he was buried at the New North Cemetery in Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut.[7]

For his contributions to the radio and television industry, Warren Hull has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star for radio is located at 6270 Hollywood Boulevard, and the star for television is located at 6135 Hollywood Boulevard.[8]


Year Title Role Notes
1935 Personal Maid's Secret Jimmy
Miss Pacific Fleet Sgt. Tom Foster
1936 Freshman Love Bob Wilson
The Walking Dead Jimmy
The Law in Her Hands Asst. Dist. Atty. Robert Mitchell
The Big Noise Ken Mitchell
Bengal Tiger Joe Larson
Love Begins at 20 Jerry Wayne
Fugitive in the Sky Terry Brewer
1937 Her Husband's Secretary Barton 'Bart' Kingdon
Night Key Jim Travers
Michael O'Halloran Dr. Douglas Bruce
Rhythm in the Clouds Bob McKay
Paradise Isle Kennedy
A Bride for Henry Henry Tuttle
1938 Hawaii Calls Cmdr. Milburn
The Spider's Web Richard Wentworth / The Spider / Blinky McQuade Serial
Smashing the Spy Ring Phil Dunlap
1939 Star Reporter John Randolph / John Charles Benton
Mandrake the Magician Mandrake the Magician Serial
Should a Girl Marry? Dr. Robert Benson
Girl from Rio Steven Ward
Crashing Thru Constable Kelly
1940 Yukon Flight Bill Shipley
Hidden Enemy Bill MacGregor
The Lone Wolf Meets a Lady Bob Penyon
The Last Alarm Frank Rogers
Marked Men Bill Carver
Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride Donald Gregory
Remedy for Riches Tom Stewart
The Green Hornet Strikes Again! Britt Reid / Green Hornet Serial
1941 The Spider Returns Richard Wentworth / The Spider / Blinky McQuade Serial
Bowery Blitzkrieg Tom Brady


  1. ^ a b Fierch, Frederick G. (2010). Royalton, Middleport, and Hartland. Arcadia Publishing. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-738-57238-3.
  2. ^ "Rain or Shine". The Complete Book of 1920s Broadway Musicals. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2019. pp. 298–299, 447–448. ISBN 9781538112823.
  3. ^ a b c d "Warren Hull, veteran radio TV host, was star of 'Strike It Rich' show". St. Petersburg Times. September 19, 1974. pp. 11–B. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  4. ^ Quigley, Martin (1940). The Film Daily (January 2, 1940). Quigley Publishing, Inc. p. 2.
  5. ^ Warren Hull, Radio TV Host of ‘Strike It Rich,’ Dead at 71. The New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  6. ^ Remington, Fred (June 27, 1962). "'Strike It Rich' Was Agony Show For Warren Hull". The Pittsburgh Press. p. 66. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "TV host Warren Hull funeral set for tomorrow". Bangor Daily News. September 17, 1974. p. 22. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  8. ^ "Warren Hull". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 29, 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 23 April 2024, at 18:53
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