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, and 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 Summer Stock with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, Father of the Bride with Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor, Vengeance Valley with Burt Lancaster, The Whistle at Eaton Falls with Lloyd Bridges, and the war dramas Take The High Ground and Up Periscope.

He was teamed with Debbie Reynolds in Three Little Words and Two Weeks With Love. 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 to 1947.

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." Coincidentally, Marvin Miller, who starred in The Millionaire, also appeared in that Perry Mason episode, as attorney F.J. Weatherby.

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

Carpenter is remembered in the 1970s and 1980s as a best-selling mystery novelist. 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] He was a trailblazer in that he was one of the first American film actors to publicly reveal himself as gay.


  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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