Corey Allen

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Corey Allen
Alan Cohen

(1934-06-29)June 29, 1934
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
DiedJune 27, 2010(2010-06-27) (aged 75)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeHillside Memorial Park Cemetery
Alma materUCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
Occupation(s)Actor, director, producer, writer
Years active1954–2009

Corey Allen (born Alan Cohen; June 29, 1934 – June 27, 2010) was an American film and television director, writer, producer, and actor. He began his career as an actor but eventually became a television director. He is best known for playing the character Buzz Gunderson in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause (1955). He is the son of Carl Cohen.

Life and career[edit]

Allen was born as Alan Cohen in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 29, 1934. He was the son of Carl and Fran Cohen; his father was an illegal bookie and gambling operator for the Mayfield Road Mob in Cleveland,[2] and later became an important gambling executive at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.[3][4] Alan attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received his start in acting and was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1954.[4]

Allen was best known for his role as gang leader Buzz Gunderson in Nicholas Ray's 1955 film Rebel Without A Cause. James Dean starred as Jim Stark, a disaffected teenager who has moved to Los Angeles to start a new life, only to find more problems in his new home. After a show at the Griffith Observatory, Buzz challenges Jim to a knife fight, which Stark wins by subduing Buzz with his switchblade. During the filming of the knife fight both Allen and Dean, aficionados of method acting, used real knives and Dean was injured when Allen lunged at him with his knife.[4] The gang challenges Jim to a chickie run, in which two stolen cars will be raced towards a cliff and the winner will be the last one to jump out.[4] Before the two embark on their death race, Buzz and Jim stand at the edge of the cliff, looking down at the fall they might face if they remain in their cars to the end. Jim questions why they are going ahead with this race. Buzz responds, "You got to do something, don't you".[1] Allen would later recall that his classic line was "the underlying question of each generation. Here we are: What do we do?".[5] As the cars are heading to the cliff, Buzz attempts to jump out but is unable to escape when his leather jacket gets caught on the car door handle; he is killed in the crash on the beach below.[4]

He appeared in some minor film roles before Rebel and afterward was seen in The Chapman Report, Darby's Rangers, Juvenile Jungle, Party Girl, Sweet Bird of Youth, in addition to guest appearances on Bonanza, Dr. Kildare, Gunsmoke, Have Gun, Will Travel and Perry Mason.[1] In 1960 Allen played murderer Rennie Foster in "The Case of the Red Riding Boots", and in 1962 he played murder victim Lester Menke in "The Case of the Borrowed Baby".

He was actively involved in theatrical productions in the Los Angeles area, creating the touring company Freeway Circuit Inc. in 1959 and the Actors Theater in 1965. He was also involved in teaching theater at The Actors Workshop.[1]

Allen turned to directing starting in the 1960s, where he worked on such television programs as Dallas, Hawaii Five-O, Hill Street Blues, Ironside, Mannix, Murder, She Wrote, Police Woman, The Rockford Files, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Streets of San Francisco.[4] He won an Emmy Award, in 1984, for directing an episode of Hill Street Blues.[6]

In 1967, Corey and his business partner Gary Stromberg met with Charles Manson early in both of their careers, as new director and cult leader respectively. Manson was invited to help them write a film treatment called Black Jesus (later produced by an Italian company in 1968) and Manson's "family" was allowed to live briefly in Corey's small acting studio on Western Ave. After Corey's then-girlfriend expressed her concerns about Manson, he broke ties with him.[7]

He died from complications of Parkinson's disease at his home in Hollywood on June 27, 2010, two days before his 76th birthday.[1][4] He is buried in grave 7-51-2 in the Sunset Slope section of Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles.[8]


As director[edit]

As actor[edit]

Title Year Role Notes
The Mad Magician 1954 Gus the Stagehand Uncredited
A Time Out of War 1954 Connor Short
The Bridges at Toko-Ri 1954 Enlisted Man Uncredited
The Night of the Hunter 1955 Young Man in Town Uncredited
Rebel Without a Cause 1955 Buzz Gunderson
Alfred Hitchcock Presents 1956 Gil Dalliford Episode: "Jonathan"
The Shadow on the Window 1957 Gil Ramsey
The Big Caper 1957 Roy
The Restless Gun 1958 George Episode "Friend in Need"
Darby's Rangers 1958 Pvt. Pittsburgh Tony Sutherland
Juvenile Jungle 1958 Hal McQueen
Party Girl 1958 Cookie La Motte
Private Property 1960 Duke
Key Witness 1960 Magician
Sea Hunt 1961 Young Episode: "Quicksand"
Sweet Bird of Youth 1962 Scotty
The Chapman Report 1962 Wash Dillon
Combat! 1964 Pvt. Garrett Episode: A Rare Vintage
Original: Do Not Project 1972 Psychiatrist
The Works 2004 Mr. M
Quarantined 2009 Mr. Eagle Voice, (final film role)


  1. ^ a b c d e "Corey Allen dies at 75; actor played gang leader in 'Rebel Without a Cause'". Los Angeles Times. June 30, 2010.
  2. ^ Levy, Shawn (1999). Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the Last Great Show Biz Party. Crown/Archetype. p. 77. ISBN 0385500254.
  3. ^ Levy (1999), pp. 78-79.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Nagourney, Eric. "Corey Allen, Actor and Director, Dies at 75", The New York Times, June 30, 2010. Accessed July 1, 2010.
  5. ^ Fujiwara, Chris. "The Rebel: Fifty years ago, Nicholas Ray's 'Rebel Without a Cause' changed American culture. But did it call for rebellion, conformity, or both?", The Boston Globe, October 30, 2005. Accessed July 1, 2010.
  6. ^ "Corey Allen Obituary". Archived from the original on July 3, 2010.
  7. ^ "Are Any Rebel Without a Cause Cast Members Still Alive?". MovieWeb. October 27, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  8. ^ Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More than 14000 Famous Persons (entry 181) by Scott Wilson

External links[edit]