Ron Randell

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This article is about the actor. For the comic book artist, see Ron Randall.
Ron Randell
Ron Randell in Follow the Boys.jpg
Randell in Follow the Boys (1963)
Born Ronald Egan Randell
(1918-10-08)October 8, 1918
Sydney, Australia
Died June 11, 2005(2005-06-11) (aged 86)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1942–1983
Spouse(s) Elaine Diana Maltzman (1948–1949) (divorced)
Marie Keith (1952–1955) (divorced)
Laya Raki (1955–2005) (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 had been made with funds from Columbia Pictures who offered Randell a long-term contract and he moved to Hollywood in October 1946.[5][6]

Columbia cast Randell as Bulldog Drummond in two low-budget films, Bulldog Drummond at Bay and Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back. (These were made for an independent company, Venture, but released through Columbia.)[7] Columbia were impressed enough by this to cast Randell in a good support roles in an expensive "A" production, It Had to Be You (1947).[8] This was followed by The Mating of Millie (1947)[9] and the prestigious The Loves of Carmen (1948). Then came Sign of the Ram and two lower budgeted films The Lone Wolf and His Lady and Make Believe Ballroom.[10]

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.

England[edit]

Frustrated at the progress of his career, Randell moved to England in the 1950s.[11] 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..

Later career[edit]

He returned to Hollywood.

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).

He returned to Australia in 1969 to appear in There's a Girl in My Soup.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Randell was married three times. He married his first wife, stage actress Elaine Diana Maltzman, in New Canaan, Connecticut, in October 1948.[13] They divorced in 1949.[14] He was engaged to actress Amanda Blake and they planned to marry in 1951[15] but there seems no evidence they went through with their plans. He was engaged to Marie Keith in September 1952,[16] 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".[17] Marie Keith and Randell were divorced in 1955.[18]

He married Laya Raki in 1955 and they remained together until his death in 2005[19] following a stroke in Los Angeles. 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[20]
  • 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.: 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. ^ "Australian Brides Sail for U.S." New York Times 29 Oct 1946: 10.
  7. ^ "RON RANDELL TO DO FILM FOR COLUMBIA: ONE-THIRD OF CAST" New York Times 23 Nov 1946: 22.
  8. ^ "GROSS BUYS RIGHTS TO FILM MRS. MIKE': Pays $200,000 for Novel by Freedmans -- UA to Release Story of Mountie's Wife" by THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 29 April 1947: 32.
  9. ^ "STUDIO BRIEFS" Los Angeles Times 19 June 1947: A2.
  10. ^ "Aussie Marvels At Movie Love" by Richard L. Coe The Washington Post; Nov 2, 1948; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post pg. 17
  11. ^ "Ran's back in Hollywood.". The Australian Women's Weekly (National Library of Australia). 26 October 1960. p. 91. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "RON RANDELL IS HOME AGAIN.". The Australian Women's Weekly (National Library of Australia). 26 November 1969. p. 15. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Ron Randell weds secretly". (1948, October 18). Townsville Daily Bulletin, p. 2. ]
  14. ^ 'RANDELL'S WIFE TO SUE FOR A DIVORCE', The Canberra Times, Saturday 5 February 1949 p 1
  15. ^ 'To Marry Ron Randell', The Canberra Times, Saturday, 21 July 1951 p 2
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ "Randell loses a wife". (1955, June 18). The Argus, p. 3
  19. ^ Ron Randell, 86
  20. ^ "RON RANDELL IS HOME AGAIN.". The Australian Women's Weekly (National Library of Australia). 26 November 1969. p. 15. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 

External links[edit]