Darryl Hickman

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Darryl Hickman
Image: 150 pixels
Darryl Hickman in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)
Born Darryl Gerard Hickman
(1931-07-28) July 28, 1931 (age 84)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1937–99
Spouse(s) Pamela Lincoln Hickman (married 1959–1982, divorced); 2 sons
Lynda Farmer Hickman (19??–present)
Relatives Dwayne Hickman (brother)

Darryl Gerard Hickman (born July 28, 1931) is an American film and television actor, television executive, and acting coach.

Child actor in the 1930s and 1940s[edit]

Hickman was born in Hollywood, California, on July 28, 1931, to Milton and Katherine Hickman. His father sold insurances and his mother was a housewife. In the mid-1930s, Darryl was discovered by a dance school director and subsequently became a student there. The following year, the famed Hollywood studio Paramount signed a contract with the child actor. His first film role was as Ronald Colman's son in The Prisoner of Zenda in 1937.[1] He attended Paramount's school in California and had classmates like Gene Nelson and Jackie Cooper.[2]

In preparation for the 1939 Bing Crosby movie The Star Maker, Paramount casting agents, led by Leroy Prinz, interviewed over 1000 children. Hickman won one of the parts in the film. Pleased with Hickman's performance, Crosby notified his older brother and talent agent Everett Crosby of the young actor.[3][4] After this, he went on to appear in multiple motion pictures throughout the 1930s and 1940s in a wide array of genres. A busy performer, he would sometimes work at different films simultaneously.[5]

In 1940, he was cast in 20th Century Fox's film adaption of John Steinbeck's best-selling novel from 1939 The Grapes of Wrath, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford. He portrayed the role of 'Winfield Joad', the youngest member of a family trying to cope with the hardships of The Great Depression.[6] The film was a critical and commercial success, with Ford winning an Academy Award for best director, while actress Jane Darwell won for Best Supporting Actress.[7] He has fond recollections from being on the set, learning a lot about acting and film-making from people like Fonda and Ford.[8] Another notable role during this time included the war-time melodrama The Human Comedy, where he played a mentally slow child. He made a featured appearance in the 1942 Our Gang comedy Going to Press.

In 1946, he played the younger version of Van Heflin's character 'Sam Masterson' in the film noir The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. In order to make it seem credible that Hickman looked like a young Van Heflin, the latter provided a picture of himself as a teenager to the makeup artist Wally Westmore.[9] He acted alongside Gene Tierney and Cornel Wilde in the 1946 film Leave Her to Heaven. Being the sole survivor among the cast, he provided extra commentary in the DVD release of the movie. His experience of working with Tierney was mixed, considering her to have been aloof and not given her best performance. Yet, it won Tierney her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.[10] In 1947, Hickman was lauded by a newspaper as "one of Hollywood's top juveniles".[11] Looking back, Hickman was critical of child acting, stating the deprivation of a real childhood. He opted to get therapeutical assistance for several years in order to come to terms with his past.[12][13]

Adult years as an actor[edit]

Darryl Hickman graduated from Cathedral High School in Los Angeles in 1948 (his brother Dwayne graduated from the same school in 1952).[14]

Finding it hard to adjust to adulthood after being in the limelight for most of his childhood, Hickman retired from show business to enter a monastery in 1951. He returned to Hollywood only a year later.[15] He continued acting, but in fewer roles than in the peak of his career. Around this period, he began acting in the then-new entertainment medium television for the first time. The switch didn't always turn out successfully as many shows were cancelled for various reasons.[16] Between 1954 and 1956, Hickman was in the U.S. Army.[17]

Hickman appeared on younger brother Dwayne Hickman's CBS sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, playing his older brother Davey in six different episodes. Aside from film and television, Hickman also starred in Broadway productions such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning play How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in 1963, where he substituted for Robert Morse.[16]

After a 17-year long hiatus from movies, Hickman had a minor role as Bill Herron in the 1976 film Network.[18][19]

Television executive and acting coach[edit]

Hickman eventually became a television executive, producer and occasionally screenwriter, mainly working in New York.[13] He wrote the script for a few episodes of The Loretta Young Show in 1961.[20] In the early 1970s, Hickman was associate producer of the long-running CBS soap opera Love of Life.[13] He was also one of the producers of the comedy television show A Year at the Top together with Norman Lear in 1977. He was reunited with guest-star Mickey Rooney with whom he had acted alongside in the Boys Town sequel Men of Boys Town in 1941.[21]

Hickman's book about acting techniques, The Unconscious Actor: Out of Control, In Full Command, was published in April 2007.[22] Hickman's approach to acting evolved through his interactions with the various actors and directors he worked with over the years. Among his most important influences came from working with Spencer Tracy and George Cukor in the 1942 movie Keeper of the Flame, praising their patience and ability to give due attention to inexperienced actors such as himself.[23] In a 2002 interview, he stated that the current generation of young Hollywood actors were talented, but lacked the proper coaching and ambition.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Hickman married actress Pamela Lincoln, with whom he had acted alongside in the movie The Tingler, on November 28, 1959.[25] She is reportedly a descendant of former American President Abraham Lincoln.[26] The couple had two sons. They divorced in 1982. Their youngest son, Justin Hickman, committed suicide at the age of 19 in 1985.[15]

Selected filmography[edit]

Features[edit]

Year Title Role
1937 The Prisoner of Zenda Bit role (uncredited)
1938 If I Were King Child
1939 The Star Maker Boots
1940 The Grapes of Wrath Winfield Joad
Young People Tommy
1941 Men of Boys Town Flip
1942 Young America David Engstrom
1943 The Human Comedy Lionel
1944 Meet Me in St. Louis Johnny Tevis
Song of Russia Peter Bulganov
1945 Kiss and Tell Raymond Pringle
Leave Her to Heaven Danny Harland
1946 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Young Sam Masterson
1947 The Devil on Wheels Micky Clark
1948 Big Town Scandal Skinny Peters
1949 A Kiss for Corliss Dexter Franklin
1950 The Happy Years 'Tough' McCarty
1951 Lightning Strikes Twice String
Submarine Command Jack Wheelwright
1953 Island in the Sky Swanson
1954 Prisoner of War Merton Tollivar
1955 Many Rivers to Cross Miles Henderson
1956 Tea and Sympathy Al
1957 The Iron Sheriff Benjie Galt
1959 The Tingler David Morris
1976 The Network Bill Herron
1981 Looker Dr. Jim Belfield
Sharky's Machine Smiley
1982 The Tragedy of King Lear Earl of Kent
1986 GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords Marbles/Hornet (voice)

Short Subjects[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Darryl Hickman Right In His Element In Kiss For Corliss". Annapolis Capital. January 30, 1950. p. 10. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  2. ^ "The Hollywood Round-Up". Amarillo Globe-News. September 12, 1939. p. 13. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Darryl Hickman finds brother is now his boss". The Mercury. August 5, 1977. p. 24. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  4. ^ Neville, Lucie (June 25, 1939). "Pooh for Shirley! They're in the Movies Now!". San Bernardino County Sun. p. 32. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Civil War Theme-'The Americans' Eagerly Watched By Americans". Wilson Daily Times. May 2, 1961. p. 13. Retrieved July 1, 2016. 
  6. ^ Nugent, Frank (January 25, 1940). "Twentieth Century-Fox Shows a Flawless Film Edition of John Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ "The 13th Academy Awards (1941) Nominees and Winners". Oscars. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  8. ^ King, Susan (January 11, 2001). "'Grapes' Memories". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 3, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Photographers Serve As Makeup Models". Brownsville Herald. February 10, 1946. p. 28. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  10. ^ Henderson, Eric (May 28, 2013). "Leave Her to Heaven". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  11. ^ "'Devil On Wheels' Is Lesson Film". Camden News. June 28, 1947. p. 2. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  12. ^ Sifford, Darrell (October 29, 1984). "Former child star learns to cope". Boca Raton News. p. 6. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b c Dunn, Bill (May 29, 1971). "Actor Now Producing And Writing". The Tribune (Seymour). p. 18. Retrieved July 1, 2016. 
  14. ^ Wakelee-Lynch, Joseph (November 17, 2011). "The Careers of Dwayne Hickman ’56". Loyola Marymount University. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  15. ^ a b "Overview for Darryl Hickman". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b "Darryl Hickman He Has TV Scars". Doylestown Intelligencer. December 21, 1963. p. 21. Retrieved July 1, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Darryl Hickman". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved July 3, 2016. 
  18. ^ Crosby, Joan (September 29, 1977). "Ex-child actor busy in adult behind-camera work". El Paso Herald-Post. p. 44. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  19. ^ Monaco, James (1992). Network. Perigee Trade. p. 617. ISBN 9780399517808. 
  20. ^ Witbeck, Charles (July 2, 1961). "Darryl Hickman's Growing Up". Chicago Tribune. p. 8. Retrieved July 3, 2016. 
  21. ^ "'A Day at the Top' Norman Lear's Latest". Findlay Courier. January 5, 1977. p. 13. Retrieved July 1, 2016. 
  22. ^ Hickman, Darryl (2007). The Unconscious Actor: Out of Control, In Full Command. Small Mountain Press. ISBN 978-0977680924. 
  23. ^ Curtis, James (2011). Spencer Tracy: A Biography. Knopf. ISBN 978-0307262899. 
  24. ^ Koseluk, Chris (February 14, 2002). "Acting Out". Backstage. Retrieved July 3, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Actor Darryl Hickman Marries in Hollywood". Racine Journal Times. November 29, 1959. p. 10. Retrieved July 1, 2016. 
  26. ^ Morris, Eric (2015). The Diary of a Professional Experiencer: An Autobiographical Journey Into the Evolution of an Acting System. Ermor Enterprises. ISBN 978-0962970955. 

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