November 30, 1928 |
|Spouse(s)||Shirley Hake (1965-present) 3 children
Sanita Pelkey (1962-1963) (divorced)
Joan Johannes (1952-1960) (divorced) 2 children
|Relatives||Rhodes Reason brother|
He is the brother of the late actor Rhodes Reason, who was two years younger. The two bore a strong resemblance and many may have mistakenly assumed they were twins.
He began his stage career in 1948 at the Pasadena Playhouse, performing there for three years before coming to the notice of Hollywood. In 1951 he was given a screen test at Columbia Pictures and was cast as the lead in a starring role in his first picture, a low-budget adventure drama Storm Over Tibet (1952). Reason was under contract for two more years at Columbia until moving to Universal in mid-1953, after making a promising appearance in the sword-and-sandal epic Salome (1953) with Rita Hayworth.
A tall (6'2"), handsome, leading man with a distinctive baritone speaking voice, Reason appeared in several films and television shows throughout the 1950s and 1960s. He made two pictures at Universal Studios under the name "Bart Roberts" before demanding to be able to use his own name, which actually sounds like a Hollywood screen name.
Reason is perhaps best known for his role as stalwart, heroic scientist Dr. Cal Meacham in the science fiction This Island Earth (1955). Reason co-starred as sympathetic scientist Dr. Tom Morgan in the third—and final—installment of Universal International Pictures' Creature from the Black Lagoon horror film series in The Creature Walks Among Us (1956). He also appeared opposite Clark Gable and Sidney Poitier in Band of Angels (WB, 1957). He appeared in Badlands of Montana (1957) as an opponent of a corrupt Mayor played by John M. Pickard. In the story line, Pickard administers ten lashes with a whip to Reason's back.
Reason starred as newspapermen in two television series. The first of those was a syndicated western, Man Without a Gun (1957–1959), in the role of Adam MacLean, editor of the Yellowstone Sentinel newspaper in Dakota Territory. The second was the ABC/Warner Bros. drama, The Roaring Twenties (1960–1962), a crime drama rich in period music, in the role of Scott Norris, reporter for the fictitious New York Record.
He appeared in 1961 as a guest on an NBC interview program, Here's Hollywood, and guest-starred on a number of other television series. In 1962 he played the role of defendant Steve Brock in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Ancient Romeo." His final television appearance was in a 1963 episode of Wagon Train. He was also featured in episodes of Bourbon Street Beat, 77 Sunset Strip, and The Alaskans.
Reason walked out on his film contract with Warner Bros. in the fall of 1961 when he was being considered for a starring role in John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate. The film began as a WB project, but was completed as an independent film and released by United Artists in 1962. The role he was going to play went to Laurence Harvey instead.
After his film and television acting career ended, he worked as a real estate broker and had a second career as a voiceover actor. Reason is retired and lives in Walnut, California, with his third wife, Shirley.