David Hedison

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David Hedison
10.17.09DavidHedisonByLuigiNovi.jpg
Hedison at the Big Apple Convention in Manhattan, October 17, 2009.
Born Albert David Hedison, Jr.
(1927-05-20) May 20, 1927 (age 87)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Occupation actor
Years active 1949–2014
Spouse(s) Bridget Hedison (1968–present)
Children Alexandra Hedison
Serena Hedison

Albert David Hedison, Jr. (born May 20, 1927) is an American film, television, and stage actor.[1] He was billed as Al Hedison in his early film work. In 1959, when he was cast in the role of Victor Sebastian in the short-lived espionage television series Five Fingers, NBC insisted that he change his name. He proposed that he use his middle name and he has been known as David Hedison ever since. He is most famous for his role as Captain Lee Crane in Irwin Allen's TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

Early life[edit]

Hedison decided he wanted to be an actor after he saw Tyrone Power in the film Blood and Sand. He began his acting career with the Sock and Buskin Players at Brown University before moving to New York to study with Sanford Meisner and Martha Graham at the Neighborhood Playhouse and with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.[2] Hedison joined the United States Navy shortly after World War II.

Career[edit]

Theatre[edit]

His work on the New York stage includes the off-Broadway production of A Month in the Country, directed by Michael Redgrave, which starred Uta Hagen, for which role Hedison won a Theater World Award. Hedison toured with Barbara Anderson and Anita Gillette in Neil Simon's Chapter Two in 1979 and 1980 and appeared in the West Coast premiere of Forty Deuce in 1985. He toured with Elizabeth Ashley in Come into My Parlour in 1988, and was in the world premiere run of Bernard Slade's Return Engagements that same year. He appeared at the Cape Playhouse in 1998 in Alone Together with Anita Gillette. He also starred in the New York City premiere of First Love with Lois Nettleton in 1999. He returned to the Cape Playhouse to appear in Tale of the Allergist's Wife (2002), and at Monmouth University's Pollak Theatre, in Love Letters with Nancy Dussault in 2007.

In 2006, he acted in The Scent of Jasmine at the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles on November 13. In 2008 David performed Uncle Vanya at the Actor's Studio West. He also participated in performances of The Cherry Orchard and I Never Sang for my Father in Los Angeles in 2009. David most recently appeared in The Marriage Play by Edward Albee.

Film[edit]

After his role in A Month in the Country, Hedison signed a film contract with 20th Century-Fox. His first movie with them was the classic war film The Enemy Below, which also starred Robert Mitchum. He followed that up with the 1958 horror classic The Fly. Other films in which he appeared include The Son of Robin Hood, Marines, Let's Go!, The Lost World, The Greatest Story Ever Told; ffolkes and The Naked Face. He also appeared in Fugitive Mind in 1999, the 2001 movie Mach 2, Megiddo: Omega Code 2 in 2003 and the 2004 film Spectres. His most recent role was in 2005's The Reality Trap.

Hedison was the first actor to play James Bond's ally Felix Leiter in more than one film, Live and Let Die and Licence to Kill.[1]

He recorded an interview for the 2007 DVD re-release of The Fly (1958) in London and an audio commentary track in Los Angeles as part of the bonus features on The Fly Collection, which includes all three of the early films.

In 2008, Hedison celebrated the 35th anniversary of Live and Let Die in England, with autograph signings at the Vintage Magazine Shop on March 22 and by attending the memorabilia show in Birmingham March 29–30. He then wrote an introduction to the James Bond comic The Paradise Plot that was released in the United States on July 8.

Hedison spent from June 2007 until March 2008 working on the trade paperback The Fly at 50! in collaboration with Diane Kachmar and David Goudsward. The Fly at 50! was published in 2008 and is available from Amazon.com. Hedison was asked his opinion on the AMC web site about The Fly The Opera which debuted in Paris on July 2, 2008 and then attended the Los Angeles Opera premiere in September. He ended the celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Fly by attending the Chiller Show in Parsippany, NJ, in October and the SuperMegafest show in Framingham, MA (Boston) in November 2008.

He took part in and was interviewed for the Vincentennial celebration - 100 years of Vincent Price - that began in St. Louis In June 2011 and ended in Pittsburgh in late October with a stop in Nashville along the way. In Pittsburgh at Monsterbash, Hedison was "Dad" to two of his sons, Charles Herbert and Brett Halsey, at the first ever The Fly movie reunion.

In 2012, Hedison was interviewed about his work in The Fly for the documentary Monsters, Martians and Mad Scientists: Horror in the Atomic Age. In April he appeared with two other Bond actors (Barbara Bouchet and Tanya Roberts) at the Hollywood show in Burbank, CA to celebrate 50 years of James Bond. Hedison made two more appearances for the 50th anniversary, the first in Bloomington, MN at Crypticon, September 28 and 29 and another appearance at Memorabilia in Birmingham, UK at the NEC on November 24 and 25.

David attended a screening of Licence to Kill at the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA on April 2, 2013. David was interviewed by George Pappy, Jr. for the documentary, The Green Girl, about the life of actress Susan Oliver. David attended a preview screening of this documentary in Santa Monica, March 15, 2014.

Television[edit]

Much of Hedison's acting career has been on television. In 1961, he appeared with Geraldine Brooks (1925–1977) in an episode of ABC's Bus Stop with Marilyn Maxwell, for which Brooks was nominated for an Emmy Award. In 1962 he was cast as defendant Damion White in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Dodging Domino." He was cast as a counter espionage agent who traveled the world as a Hollywood talent agent in the 16-episode series Five Fingers. He followed that up with a starring role as Captain Lee Crane in the ABC television version of Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea with Richard Basehart. Hedison had been the original choice for Captain Crane in the motion picture Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea but turned down the role as he was dissatisfied with Allen's The Lost World.[3] The show ran for four years. He also had a semi-regular role on ABC's The Colbys.

In 1990, he was the series host for Phenomenal World. He appeared in the television movie A.D. as well as The Saint, Family, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, The Bob Newhart Show, Charlie's Angels, The A-Team, Knight Rider, and Wonder Woman, among many others. He played Spencer Harrison on the American soap opera Another World from 1991 to 1996. He followed that up in 2004 with a role on The Young and the Restless as Arthur Hendricks.

Fox released the first episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea on DVD on February 21, 2006, and Hedison was interviewed extensively for that release and for several subsequent releases after that through October 23, 2007. All three season releases included clips from Hedison's interview for The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen in 1995. The final season was released in 2010 and 2011. The entire run was released in Region 2 DVD in the UK in 2011.

In the summer and fall of 2006 and into 2007, Hedison worked on four audio books. The first, McKnight's Memory, was first released in October 2007. The second, The King, McQueen and the Love Machine was released June 15, 2008. The third project was an 12 minute introduction to the reissue of The James Bond Lifestyle that came out June 7, 2007. His fourth audio book project, The Casino Caper, was released in August 2007.

Hedison attended the Megacon convention February 18–20, 2007. In 2009, he attended Wondercon in San Francisco in February and spent time in Spain and Italy in the late summer. He made two appearances in the Fall of 2009; the Big Apple Con Comic Con in New York City in October 16–18 and the Winter Memorabilia Show in Birmingham, UK, November 2009.

He visited England in March and appeared at two autograph shows in the Los Angeles area. In March 2011, Hedison headlined a 1960s sci-fi reunion at Monster Mania in Cherry Hill, NJ, with Lee Meriwether and Robert Colbert of Time Tunnel, Batman and Maverick and Roy Thinnes of The Invaders.

David was most recently was featured on Piers Morgan's Life Stories as one of the actors who was interviewed for the premiere episode of Season 8, in which Roger Moore was profiled. The program aired September 14, 2012 on ITV1 in London and throughout the United Kingdom. The interview was then posted on You Tube.

Personal life[edit]

His parents were Albert David Hedison (Heditisian), Sr. and Rose Boghosian. They were Armenian. He and wife Bridget were married in London on June 29, 1968, and they have two adult children, actress/director/photographer Alexandra Hedison and editor/producer Serena Hedison. Alexandra Hedison has appeared in L.A. Firefighters and The L Word and is married to actress and director Jodie Foster.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "David Hedison". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. 
  3. ^ p.157 Weaver, Tom David Hedison Interview in Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers McFarland, 01/06/2007

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Norman Burton
Felix Leiter actor
1973
Succeeded by
John Terry
Preceded by
John Terry
Felix Leiter actor
1989
Succeeded by
Jeffrey Wright