Steve Cochran, an actor known for playing tough guys in the movies, had his career launched when Mae West signed him to appear with her on Broadway in "Diamond Lil."
When West broke her ankle and left the show, Cochran came to Hollywood to make "White Heat" with Warner Bros. Other movie roles followed: "The Damned Don't Cry," "Storm Warning," "I, Mobster," "The Beat Generation," "Dallas," "Jim Thorpe - All American" and "The Story of Folsom."
The circumstances surrounding Cochran's death were highly unusual. His 40-foot schooner, the Rogue, was discovered drifting off the coast of Guatemala by the Guatemalan Coast Guard on June 26, 1965.
Two teenage girls and a woman, all from Mexico, were found aboard the yacht. They had been been stranded on the vessel with Cochran's dead body for 12 days. Officials later determined Cochran had died after an infection swelled his lung.
After his death his female companions, ages 14, 19 and 25, did not know how to pilot the boat and were forced to let it drift in the ocean.
The passengers, all from Acapulco, said they met the colorful movie "heavy" through an advertisement in a newspaper that said Cochran was seeking young girls to work on his boat and play bit movie parts.
The plot: a romantic captain sets sail with an all-woman crew. The working title of the script was "Captain O'Flynn."
Cochran had previously looked for young female sailors closer to his Los Angeles home. One of them, Sandra Danielson, said after his death: "You are supposed to speak well of the dead but he put me in a very compromising situation. I told him I didn't need a job that bad."
By the time he died at age 48, Cochran had long had a reputation as a swashbuckling ladies man. He rode a motorcycle around Los Angeles and kept a collection of offbeat pets including goats and monkeys and dog he claimed could play piano.
In 1952, Cochran was sued for more than $400,000 by an ex-professional boxer he assaulted at a New Year's Eve party.