Carleton Carpenter

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Carleton Carpenter
Carleton Carpenter 1951.jpg
Carleton Carpenter in Vengeance Valley (1951)
Born Carleton Upham Carpenter, Jr.
(1926-07-10) July 10, 1926 (age 89)
Bennington, Vermont, U.S.
Occupation Actor, magician, dancer, songwriter
Years active 1944–96

Carleton Carpenter (born Carleton Upham Carpenter, Jr.; July 10, 1926) is an American film, television and stage actor, magician, author and songwriter.[1][2]


Carpenter was born in Bennington, Vermont, where he attended Bennington High School. Before signing with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he was a magician and an actor on Broadway, beginning with David Merrick's first production Bright Boy in 1944, followed by co-starring appearances in Three to Make Ready with Ray Bolger, John Murray Anderson's Almanac and Hotel Paradiso with Bert Lahr and Angela Lansbury. Other stage appearances include Hello, Dolly! (musical) opposite Mary Martin (which toured Vietnam during the war and was filmed as a one-hour NBC-TV special), The Boys in the Band (play), Dylan with Rue McClanahan, Crazy For You, and the City Center revival of Kander and Ebb's 70, Girls, 70.

Carpenter was featured in Lost Boundaries, then signed with MGM, where he had roles in such films as Summer Stock, Father of the Bride, Vengeance Valley, The Whistle at Eaton Falls, and the war dramas Take The High Ground and Up Periscope. He later starred in Sky Full of Moon, Fearless Fagan, Three Little Words, and Two Weeks With Love.

Debbie Reynolds and Carpenter singing Aba Daba Honeymoon in Two Weeks With Love (1950)

He wrote material for Debbie Reynolds, Kaye Ballard, Marlene Dietrich and Hermione Gingold, and also scripts for films and television. He guest-starred on numerous radio and TV shows. Along with Eva Marie Saint, he was one of the featured players on the very early television program Campus Hoopla, which was produced by NBC, via WNBT in New York City, and which aired from 1946-47.Among his television appearances, Carpenter played Gilbert Burton, the recipient of $1,000,000 in a 1959 episode of The Millionaire. In 1963 he played defendant Peter Brent in the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Lover's Leap".

Carpenter composed the songs "Christmas Eve", recorded by Billy Eckstine, "Cabin in the Woods" and "Ev'ry Other Day", which he recorded for MGM Records. In 1943 he wrote the words and melody of the song "Can We Forget."[3] His other song compositions include "I Wouldn't Mind", "A Little Love" and "Come Away".

Carpenter may be remembered as a best-selling mystery novelist in the 1970s and 1980s. One of his books, Deadhead, was turned into a Broadway musical production. Other books included Games Murderers Play, Cat Got Your Tongue? Only Her Hairdresser Knew, Sleight of Deadly Hand, The Peabody Experience and Stumped. He also had short stories published in the Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen mystery magazines.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Carpenter lived rather openly as a gay man during the post World War II-era when such openness could be fatal to a career. He publicly came out as gay in the August 1976 issue of The Advocate.[4]


  1. ^ International Motion Picture Almanac. New York: Quigley Publishing Co., 1986.
  2. ^ David Ragan. 1992. Who's Who in Hollywood. The largest cast of international film personalities ever assembled. New York: Facts on File.
  3. ^ The Library of Congress Copyright Office: Catalog of Copyright Entries Published by Authority of the Acts of Congress of March 3, 1891, of June 30, 1906, and of March 4, 1909. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1943, Part 3, Musical Compositions, New Series, Vol. 38, Pt. 1, #1, pg. 9
  4. ^ Stoneman, Donnell (August 1976). "Carleton Carpenter". The Advocate (197): 27. 

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