Ron Randell

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This article is about the actor. For the comic book artist, see Ron Randall.
Ron Randell
Kingofkings2.JPG
Randell in King of Kings
Born Ronald Egan Randell
(1918-10-08)October 8, 1918
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died June 11, 2005(2005-06-11) (aged 86)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1942–1983
Spouse(s) ??? (1948–1949) (divorced)
Marie Keith (1952–1955) (divorced)
Laya Raki (1957–2005) (his death)

Ronald Egan "Ron" Randell (October 8, 1918 – June 11, 2005) was an Australian-born American film and stage actor.

Biography[edit]

Australian career[edit]

Randell was born Sydney, Australia. He started his career as a stage and radio performer in his teens. He soon established himself as a leading male juvenile for radio, acting for 2KY Players, George Edwards, BAP and on Lux Playhouse. He also worked as a compere for variety shows, in particular with Jack Davey.[1] The majority of his stage work was done at the Minerva Theatre, including performances in Of Mice and Men and The Voice of the Turtle.

In 1943-44 he toured America, working in theatre and radio in San Francisco and Los Angeles, before returning to Sydney.[2] Around this time he changed his professional name from "Ron Randall" to "Ron Randell" to avoid confusion with actor George Randall.

Randell's break came when he was spotted by producer Nick Perry at the Minerva Theatre performing in While the Sun Shines.[3] This led to Randell being cast as the lead in Smithy, a biographical movie about the pioneering Australian aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, who made the first flight across the Pacific (from the United States to Australia) in 1928. (The film was released as Pacific Adventure in the United States and as Southern Cross in the UK).

Randell had previously appeared in another film, A Son Is Born, opposite Peter Finch and Muriel Steinbeck. Although made before Smithy, its release was held off until after the latter film had come out to take advantage of its publicity.[4]

Hollywood[edit]

Smithy has been made with funds from Columbia Pictures who offered Randell a long-term contract and he moved to Hollywood in October 1946.[5] They cast him as Bulldog Drummond in two low-budget films and he had good support roles in some expensive "A" productions such as It Had to Be You (1947) and The Loves of Carmen (1948). However, the studio seemed to lose enthusiasm for Randell and he wound up mainly playing romantic leads in lower budget films.

However he continued to work in television and theatre and had a number of good roles for other studios, including Kiss Me, Kate (as Cole Porter), I Am a Camera, King of Kings, The She-Creature and The Longest Day.

Arguably his best performance was in King of Kings, as the Roman centurion Lucius, who defends Christ at his trial as a sort of impromptu legal counsel, and presumably becomes converted to Christianity after the Crucifixion.

From October 1954 through December 1955, Randell hosted the ABC anthology series The Vise. In 1957 to 1958 he starred in the lead role in O.S.S.. In 1964 he appeared as Hubert Ambrose in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Illicit Illusion." He guest starred twice on Bewitched in 1964 and 1967 and played a lead role in the two- part The Contenders episodes for the Mission: Impossible series in 1968.

Ron Randell's Broadway credits included Terence Rattigan's The Browning Version (1948), Candida (1952), The World of Suzie Wong (1958), Butley (1972), Mrs. Warren's Profession (1976), Bent (1979), Duet for One (1981), and The School for Scandal (1995).

Personal life[edit]

Randell was married three times. He married his first wife in New Canaan, Connecticut, in October 1948.[6] They divorced in 1949.[7] He was engaged to actress Amanda Blake and they planned to marry in 1951[8] but there seems no evidence they went through with their plans. He was engaged to Marie Keith in September 1952,[9] and they married in October that year. However, they separated in 1953, at which time he was seen with Amanda Blake, who was described as his "former fiancee".[10] Marie Keith and Randell were divorced in 1955.[11]

He married Laya Raki in 1958 and they remained together until his death in 2005[12] following a stroke in Los Angeles, California. He was 86.

Selected credits[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Radio credits[edit]

  • The Fatal Truth (1938)
  • Mutiny of the Bounty (1938)
  • Spy Exchange (1938)
  • Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1939)
  • Another Language (1940)
  • Star Parade (1941) - compere
  • Three Men on a Horse (1942)
  • Prisoner at the Bar (1944) - as Roger Casement
  • How Green was my Valley
  • When a Girl Marries (1946)

Theatre[edit]

  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1940) – Minerva Theatre, Sydney
  • The Voice of the Turtle (1944)
  • The Browning Version / Harlequinade (1949)
  • Candida (1952)
  • The World of Suzie Wong (1958–60)
  • There's a Girl in My Soup (1967) – Australia[13]
  • Butley (1972–73)
  • Sherlock Holmes (1975–76)
  • Mrs Warren's Profession (1976)
  • No Man's Land (1976)
  • Bent (1979–80)
  • Duet for One (1981–82)
  • The School for Scandal (1995)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Richard Lane, The Golden Age of Australian Radio Drama, Melbourne University Press, 1994 p248
  2. ^ ""STARS OF THE AIR" YOUNG ACTOR IN 'FRISCO AND LOS ANGELES.". Kilmore Free Press (Kilmore, Vic. : 1870 - 1954) (Kilmore, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 18 May 1944. p. 3. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  3. ^ '"SMITHY"—ACTOR BY ACCIDENT!', The Canberra Times Tuesday 8 October 1946 p 3
  4. ^ Richard Lane, The Golden Age of Australian Radio Drama, Melbourne University Press, 1994 p250
  5. ^ 'HOLLYWOOD CONTRACT FOR SYDNEY ARTIST', The Canberra Times, Thursday 26 September 1946 p 2
  6. ^ Ron Randell weds secretly. (1948, October 18). Townsville Daily Bulletin, p. 2. [1]
  7. ^ 'RANDELL'S WIFE TO SUE FOR A DIVORCE', The Canberra Times, Saturday 5 February 1949 p 1
  8. ^ 'To Marry Ron Randell', The Canberra Times, Saturday, 21 July 1951 p 2
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ Randell loses a wife. (1955, June 18). The Argus, p. 3
  12. ^ Ron Randell, 86
  13. ^ "RON RANDELL IS HOME AGAIN.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933–1982) (National Library of Australia). 26 November 1969. p. 15. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 

External links[edit]