Stuart Whitman is a film and television actor whose fresh personality in the 1950s had a tremendous effect on the film industry. His dark hazel eyes hardened to a slate gray when he played a bad man or turned on the heat in a love scene. Audiences were known to sit up and say “Who dat?” when he came into camera range.
Whitman claimed to be “a real American” having “a little bit of English, Irish, Scotch and Russian” and admits to having been a juvenile delinquent before he hit Hollywood High. “I went to 26 different schools before [high school]. My parents married while in their teens and were always traveling around.”
During his adulthood, Whitman’s uncle pushed him to become a heavyweight boxer and secretly trained him but his father wanted him to join his law firm. Whitman chose to pursue acting instead and landed a small part in “Ten North Frederick” (1958) that launched his career.
Whitman became a contract star for 20th Century Fox and appeared in “The Comancheros” (1961) opposite John Wayne. He also starred in “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines” (1965) and “The Mark” (1961), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor.
Whitman also had a strong effect on television, playing Marshal Jim Crown in the western show “Cimarron Strip” and later Clark Kent's father on “Superboy.”
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