Gerald Mohr

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Gerald Mohr
Gerald Mohr 1951.JPG
Born (1914-06-11)June 11, 1914
New York City, New York, USA
Died November 9, 1968(1968-11-09) (aged 54)
Stockholm, Sweden
Cause of death
Heart attack
Resting place
Columbarium of Lidingö Kyrkogård in Sweden
Spouse(s) Rita Deneau (1938-1957) (divorced)
Mai Dietrich (1958-1968, his death)

Gerald Mohr (June 11, 1914 – November 9, 1968) was an American radio, film and television character actor who appeared in more than 500 radio plays, 73 films and over 100 television shows.

Life and career[edit]

Mohr was born in New York City, the son of Henrietta (née Neustadt), a singer, and Sigmond Mohr.[1] He was educated in Dwight Preparatory School in New York City, where he learned to speak fluent French and German and also learned to ride horses and play the piano. At Columbia University, where he was on a course to become a doctor, Mohr was struck with appendicitis and was recovering in a hospital when another patient, a radio broadcaster, realised Mohr's pleasant baritone voice would be ideal for radio. Mohr was hired by the radio station and became a junior reporter. In the mid-1930s, Orson Welles invited him to join his formative Mercury Theatre. During his time with Welles, Mohr gained theatrical experience on Broadway in The Petrified Forest and starred in Jean Christophe.

Mohr made more than five hundred appearances in radio roles throughout the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. He starred as Raymond Chandler's hardboiled detective, Philip Marlowe, 1948–1951, in 119 half-hour radio plays. He also starred in The Adventures of Bill Lance,[2] was one of the actors who portrayed Archie Goodwin in Nero Wolfe, frequently starred in The Whistler and acted in different roles in multiple episodes of Damon Runyon Theater and Frontier Town. Other radio appearances include Our Miss Brooks, The Shadow of Fu Manchu, Box 13, Escape and Lux Radio Theatre.

Mohr began appearing in films in the late 1930s, playing his first villain role in the 15-part cliffhanger serial Jungle Girl (1941). After three years' service in the US Army Air Forces during World War II, he returned to Hollywood, starring as Michael Lanyard in three movies of "The Lone Wolf" series in 1946-47. He also made cameo appearances in Gilda (1946) and Detective Story (1951), and co-starred in "The Magnificent Rogue" (1946) and The Sniper (1952). In 1949 he was co-announcer, along with Fred Foy, and narrator of twelve of the shows of the first series of The Lone Ranger, starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels.

From the 1950s on, he appeared as a guest star in more than one hundred television series, including the westerns The Californians, Maverick, Johnny Ringo, The Alaskans, Lawman, Cheyenne, Bronco, Overland Trail (as James Addison Reavis, "the Baron of Arizona", in the episode "The Baron Comes Back"), Sugarfoot, Bonanza, The Rifleman, the Wanted: Dead or Alive (episode "Till Death do us Part"), and Rawhide.

Mohr also guest starred on Crossroads, The DuPont Show with June Allyson, Harrigan and Son, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Perry Mason, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Lost in Space, and many other series of the era, especially those being produced by Warner Brothers Studios and Dick Powell's Four Star Productions.[3]

Mohr made guest appearances in comedy shows, including The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1951), How to Marry a Millionaire (1958), The Jack Benny Program (1961 & 1962), The Smothers Brothers Show (1965) and The Lucy Show (1968). He had the recurring role of newsman Brad Jackson in My Friend Irma (1952). Mohr is remembered for his performance as "Ricky's friend" psychiatrist 'Dr. Henry Molin' (real life name of the assistant film editor on the show) in the classic February 1953 I Love Lucy episode, "The Inferiority Complex". Mohr's repeated line was, "Treatment, Ricky. Treatment".

In 1954-1955, he starred as Christopher Storm in 41 episodes of the third series of "Foreign Intrigue - Cross Current", produced in Stockholm for American distribution. During several episodes of "Foreign Intrigue", but most noticeably in "The Confidence Game" and "The Playful Prince", he can be heard playing on the piano his own musical composition, "The Frontier Theme", so called because Christopher Storm was the owner of the Hotel Frontier in Vienna. "Foreign Intrigue" was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1954 under the category "Best Mystery, Action or Adventure Program" and again in 1955 under the category "Best Mystery or Intrigue Series".

Mohr guest starred seven times in the 1957-1962 television series Maverick, twice playing Western outlaw Doc Holliday, a role he reprised once more in "Doc Holliday in Durango", a 1958 episode of the television western series Tombstone Territory starring Pat Conway and Richard Eastham. In one of the other "Maverick" episodes he portrayed Steve Corbett, a character based on Bogart's in Casablanca. That episode, "Escape to Tampico," used the set from the original film, this time as a Mexican saloon where Bret Maverick (James Garner) arrives to hunt down Mohr's character for an earlier murder. In his 2012 autobiography The Garner Files (pp. 62–63), Garner cited Mohr as one of the two most memorable guest stars on the Maverick television series (the other being Kathleen Crowley):

Gerald Mohr was the one I had the most fun working with on Maverick. He appeared in several episodes, including one as Doc Holliday. Mohr was well educated. He was fluent in several languages, and he'd been a medical student when the radio bug bit him. He was good enough to be a member of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre ensemble, and he did hundreds of shows during the 1930s and '40s, the golden age of radio. He made the transition to television and was one of the busiest actors in Hollywood for many years. He could tell a joke better than anybody, and he had a bunch of them. Never repeated himself. And he was a pro. I learned a few things about acting from him.

Mohr made four guest appearances on Perry Mason between 1961-1966. In his first appearance he played Joe Medici in "The Case of the Unwelcome Bride." In 1963, he played murder victim Austin Lloyd in "The Case of the Elusive Element." In 1964, he played the murderer, Alan Durfee, in "The Case of a Place Called Midnight." In 1966, he played agent Andy Rubin in the series' final episode, "The Case of the Final Fadeout."

In 1964 Mohr, together with his second wife Mai, planned the formation of an international film company, headquartered in Stockholm, with Swedish and American writers. The company was to have featured comedy, adventure, crime and drama shows for worldwide distribution. By then fluent in Swedish, he also planned to star in a film for TV in which his character, a newspaperman, would speak only Swedish. In 1964 he made a comedy Western, filmed in Stockholm and on location in Yugoslavia, called Wild West Story (see Swedish Wikipedia link) in which, unusually, the good guys spoke Swedish and the bad guys (Mohr, inter alia) spoke in English.

He continued to market his powerful voice, playing Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic) in the Fantastic Four cartoon series during 1967 and Green Lantern in the 1968 animated series Aquaman. Also in 1968 he appeared in his last film role, as con-man 'Tom Branca' in William Wyler's classic musical Funny Girl before guest starring in the TV Western series The Big Valley.

He then flew to Stockholm in September 1968, to star in the pilot of a proposed television series called Private Entrance, featuring Swedish film and TV actress Christina Schollin. Shortly after the completion of filming, Mohr died of a heart attack in the evening of November 9, 1968, in Södermalm, Stockholm, at the age of 54. Mohr is interred in the columbarium of Lidingö kyrkogård in Lidingö, Stockholms län, Sweden.

Selected filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Actor Mohr Dies; Played 'Lone Wolf'". Chicago Tribune. November 11, 1968. 
  2. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984:A Catalog of Over 1800 Shows. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0351-9. 
  3. ^ Best of the Badmen by Boyd Magers, Bob Nareau and Bobby Copeland (2005). ISBN No. 978-0-944019-43-6. Page 230/1.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]