In the television program Jamie.
|Born||Andre Brandon deWilde
April 9, 1942
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||July 6, 1972
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
|Cause of death||Motor vehicle accident|
|Resting place||Pinelawn Memorial Park
GPS: 40.451264 - 73.232001
|Notable work(s)||The Member of the Wedding, Shane, Blue Denim, Hud|
|Spouse(s)||Susan M. Maw (1963–69) (divorced) 1 child
Janice Gero (1972) (his death)
Andre Brandon deWilde (April 9, 1942 – July 6, 1972) was an American theatre and film actor. He was born into a theatrical family in Brooklyn. Debuting on Broadway at the age of 7, deWilde became a national phenomenon by the time he completed his 492 performances for The Member of the Wedding and was considered a child prodigy.
Before the age of 12 he had become the first child actor awarded the Donaldson Award, filmed his role in The Member of the Wedding, starred in his most memorable film role as Joey Starrett in the film Shane (1953), been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, starred in his own sitcom television series Jamie on ABC and became a household name making numerous radio and TV appearances before being featured on the cover of Life magazine on March 10, 1952, for his second Broadway outing Mrs. McThing.
Into adulthood additional plays, movies and TV appearances followed before his death at age 30 in a motor vehicle accident in Colorado on July 6, 1972.
Early life and career
Brandon deWilde's father, Frederic A. (Fritz) deWilde, was an actor and Broadway production stage manager, and his mother, Eugenia (Wilson) deWilde, was a part-time Broadway actress. The deWilde family moved from Brooklyn to Baldwin, Long Island after he was born. deWilde made his much-acclaimed Broadway debut at the age of 7 in The Member of the Wedding, was the first child actor to win the Donaldson Award and his talent was praised by John Gielgud in the following year. He also starred in the 1952 film version directed by Fred Zinnemann.
In 1952 deWilde acted in the film Shane as Joey Starrett and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance. He had the lead role in his own television series, Jamie (1953–1954), which, although popular, was cancelled due to a contract dispute. In 1956 he was featured with Walter Brennan, Phil Harris, and Sidney Poitier in the coming-of-age Batjac movie production of Good-bye, My Lady, adapted from James Street's book. This movie showcased the then-rare dog breed Basenji, the African barkless dog, to American audiences.
Brooklyn-born, deWilde's soft-spoken manner of speech in his early roles was more akin to a Southern drawl. In 1956 (at age 14) deWilde narrated classical music works Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev and The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra by Benjamin Britten. He also, with his Good-bye, My Lady co-star, Walter Brennan, did a Huckleberry Finn reading in the album The Stories of Mark Twain. All three have been released as MP3 downloads.
DeWilde shared an on-screen camaraderie with both James Stewart and Audie Murphy in the 1957 western Night Passage. In 1958 deWilde continued his career starring in The Missouri Traveler sharing lead billing with Lee Marvin in another coming-of-age film, this one set in the early 1900s. He made a mark onscreen at age 17 as an adolescent father in the 1959 drama Blue Denim, co-starring Carol Lynley, with the then mature theme of abortion, even though the word is never used in the film.
In 1961 Brandon deWilde filmed an episode for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". The show had deWilde playing escaped, retarded youth, Hugo, who could not separate fact from fantasy, and receiving the aid of kindly magician, Victor Sadini, at a carnival playing in Toledo, Ohio. The episode never aired on the NBC network because the finale (by 1960s standards) was deemed "too gruesome", but it was included in Alfred Hitchcock Presents syndication and thrives in public-domain VHS, DVD and video on demand releases.
He appeared in All Fall Down (1962), opposite Warren Beatty and Eva Marie Saint, and in Martin Ritt's Hud (1963) co-starring with Paul Newman, Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas. Although the only lead actor not to be Oscar-nominated for Hud, deWilde accepted the Best Supporting Actor trophy on behalf of co-star Melvyn Douglas (who was in Israel at the time). That same year, he appeared on Jack Palance's ABC circus drama, The Greatest Show on Earth.
DeWilde did a 2-picture deal with Disney in 1964–1965. He first starred in The Tenderfoot, a 3-part comedy Western for Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color TV show with Brian Keith. The following year he and Keith did Those Calloways for theatrical release, reuniting deWilde with his Good-bye, My Lady star Walter Brennan. Also in 1965, deWilde filmed a performance as Jere Torry, the screen son of John Wayne in In Harm's Way (1965).
After that point, much of his roles were limited to television guest appearances. "Being small for his age and a bit too pretty ... in his favour as a child ... worked against him as an adult", wrote author Linda Ashcroft after talking with deWilde at a party. "He spoke of giving up movies until he could come back as a forty-year-old character actor".
DeWilde's final western role was in Dino De Laurentiis' 1971 spaghetti western The Deserter, one year before his death. He played adjutant Lieutenant Ferguson who meets with an untimely end. Brandon deWilde made his last screen appearance in Wild In The Sky (1972).
On July 7, 1972, the day after his death, The New York Times wrote, "The professionals he worked with praised him for an unpretentiousness that many found a surprising quality in one so celebrated from his earliest years".
DeWilde had hoped to embark on a music career. He asked his friend, Gram Parsons (of The Byrds), and his band at the time, International Submarine Band, to back him in a recording session. ISB guitarist, John Nuese, claimed that deWilde sang harmony with Parsons better than anyone except Emmylou Harris and bassist Ian Dunlop wrote, "The lure of getting a record out was tugging hard at Brandon".
Parsons and Harris later co-wrote a song entitled "In My Hour Of Darkness", whose first verse refers to the accident that killed deWilde: "Once I knew a young man / Went driving through the night, / Miles and miles without a word / But just his high-beam lights. / Who'd have ever thought they'd build / Such a deadly Denver bend; / To be so strong, to take so long / As it would till the end."
Brandon deWilde died from injuries that resulted from a traffic accident in the Denver suburb of Lakewood. The accident occurred at about 3:25 PM on July 6, 1972. DeWilde was driving a camper van on W. 6th Ave. near Kipling St. when it went off the street, struck a guardrail, then struck a flatbed truck used to install guardrails. It was raining lightly at the time of the accident. DeWilde was alone in his vehicle and not wearing a seatbelt. His camper rolled onto its side, pinning him in the wreckage. He was taken to St. Anthony Hospital, where he died at 7:20 PM of multiple injuries including a broken back, neck, and leg.
DeWilde had been in Denver for a stage production of Butterflies Are Free with Maureen O'Sullivan and Karen Grassle at the Elitch Theatre, which ended July 1. At the time of the accident, deWilde was on his way to Colorado General Hospital to visit his second wife of 3 months. He left a son, Jesse, from his first marriage. He was originally buried in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, but his parents later moved his remains to Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale, New York, in Suffolk County, to be closer to their home on Long Island. Frederic deWilde died in 1980 and Eugenia deWilde died in 1987.
On Christmas Day 2011 it was announced that author, Patrisha McLean, to coincide with the 2012 70th anniversary of his birth and 40th anniversary of his death, would release her biography of Brandon deWilde that had sat "shelved" for the previous 25 years. Updated to include 2012 interviews with deWilde's widow, Janice Gero deWilde, All Fall Down, The Brandon deWilde Story was released on June 19, 2012.
|Year||Award||Result||Category||Series or film|
|1949-50||Donaldson Awards||Won||Best Male Debut||The Member of the Wedding (play)|
|1953||Academy Awards||Nominated||Best Supporting Actor||Shane|
|1954||Golden Globe Awards||Won||Juvenile Performance||The Member of the Wedding (film)|
|1951 to 1952||The Philco Television Playhouse||2 episodes|
|1952||The Member of the Wedding||John Henry|
|1953||Shane||Joey Starrett||Nominated: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1953 to 1954||Jamie||Jamie McHummer||22 episodes|
|1955 to 1956||Climax!||Robbie Eunson
|1956||Good-bye, My Lady||Skeeter|
|1956||Screen Director's Playhouse||Terry Johnson||Episode: "Partners"|
|1957||Night Passage||Joey Adams|
|1958||The Missouri Traveler||Biarn Turner|
|1957||The United States Steel Hour||David||Episode: "The Locked Door"|
|1959||Alcoa Theatre||George Adams||Episode: "Man of His House"|
|1959||Blue Denim||Arthur Bartley||Alternative title: Blue Jeans|
|1959 to 1961||Wagon Train||Danny Benedict
|1961||Thriller||Tim Branner||Episode: "Pigeons from Hell"|
|1961||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Hugo||Episode: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"|
|1962||All Fall Down||Clinton Willart|
|1962 to 1970||The Virginian||Various||3 episodes|
|1963||Hud||Lon "Lonnie" Bannon|
|1963||The Nurses||Paul Marker||Episode: "Ordeal"|
|1964||The Greatest Show on Earth||Vic Hawkins||Episode: "Love the Giver"|
|1964||The Wonderful World of Disney||Jim Tevis||3 episodes|
|1964||12 O'Clock High||Cpl. Ross Lawrence||Episode: Here's to Courageous Cowards"|
|1965||Those Calloways||Bucky Calloway|
|1965||In Harm's Way||Ens. Jeremiah "Jere" Torrey|
|1965||The Defenders||Roger Bailey, Jr.||Episode: "The Objector"|
|1966||Combat!||Wilder||Episode: "A Sudden Terror"|
|1966||ABC Stage 67||Carl Boyer||Episode: "The Confession"|
|1969||The Name of the Game||Bobby Currier||Episode: "The Bobby Currier Story"|
|1969||Journey to the Unknown||Alec Worthing||1 episode|
||Arnold Potter||Episode: "King Kamehameha Blues"|
|1969||Love, American Style||Jimmy Devlin||Segment: "Love and the Bachelor"|
|1970||The Young Rebels||Young Nathan Hale||Episode: "To Hang a Hero"|
|1971||The Deserter||Lieutenant Ferguson||Alternative titles: The Devil's Backbone
Ride to Glory
|1971||Night Gallery||Johnson||Episode: "Death in the Family/The Merciful/Class of '99/Witches' Feast"|
|1971||Ironside||George Whittaker||Episode: "In the Line of Duty"|
|1972||Wild in the Sky||Josh||Alternative titles: Black Jack
God Bless the Bomb
- RememberingBrandon.net discusses the spelling and pronunciation of Brandon deWilde's name and documents his death.
- Obituary Variety, July 12, 1972.
- The New York Times, July 7, 1972
- Aylesworth, Thomas G., Hollywood Kids c. 1987, E. P. Dutton, New York, NY, ISBN 0-525-24562-6 (pp. 233–235)
- Turner Classic Movies
- Lillian and Helen Ross, The Player: A Profile of an Art, c. 1961, New York, NY. "Brandon De Wilde," p. 43 First Limelight Edition, 1984
- Grams, Martin and Patrik Winstrom, The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion c. 2001, OTR Publishing, Churchville, MD, ISBN 0-9703310-1-0 (pp. 385–388)
- Internet Archive
- Ashcroft, Linda, Wild Child: Life With Jim Morrison c. 1997, Thunder's Mouth Press, New York, NY, Da Capo Press, c. 1999, ISBN 1-56025-249-9
- Wildest Westerns Magazine
- Remembering Brandon.net/Jamming With Brandon
- The Denver Post, July 7, 1972, page 3
- Remembering Brandon.net/A Word on the Elitch Theatre
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brandon deWilde.|
- Brandon deWilde at the Internet Broadway Database
- Brandon deWilde at the Internet Movie Database
- Brandon deWilde at the TCM Movie Database
- Brandon deWilde on What's My Line?
- Brandon deWilde at RememberingBrandon.net
- Brooklyn Daily Eagle / Gifted Young Brooklynite
- Brandon deWilde at Classic Movie Kids
- Brandon deWilde at Find a Grave