Preston Foster was the onetime operatic basso who became a movie and television star.
Foster worked as a shipping clerk, paymaster, bus driver, advertising salesman and—briefly—as a professional wrestler before his first appearance on a stage.
That was as a spear-carrying supernumerary with the Philadelphia Grand Opera. He quickly moved into starring roles and sang basso parts in Carmen, Othello and Rigoletto before switching to the New York Stage.
It was a stage role, the second lead in "Two Seconds," that brought him to the attention of Hollywood producer-director Mervyn LeRoy, who offered him the same role in the movie version of the play, opposite Edward G. Robinson in 1932.
Foster never returned to the stage, but remained in Hollywood to appear in more than 120 films, including leading roles in "Last Days of Pompeii," "The Informer," "Guadalcanal Diary," "Strange Triangle," "The Harvey Girls" and Valley of Decision."
His last film appearance was in "Chubasco," in 1967.
In 1954, he moved into the television field, starring as tugboat captain John Herrick in the "Waterfront" series. He also played roles in other television shows.
Although a star bearing Foster's name was laid down first during a demonstration project of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1958 — he had been selected by lottery — it was producer Stanley Kramer who became the first celebrity immortalized when construction officially began two years later.