David Wayne

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This article is about the actor. For the singer, see David Wayne (singer).
David Wayne
David Wayne in Adams Rib trailer.jpg
from the trailer for Adam's Rib (1949)
Born Wayne James McMeekan
(1914-01-30)January 30, 1914
Traverse City, Michigan, U.S.
Died February 9, 1995(1995-02-09) (aged 81)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Cause of death Lung Cancer
Residence Santa Monica, California
Nationality American
Occupation Actor, singer
Years active 1938–1994
Home town Bloomingdale, Michigan
Spouse(s) Jane Gordon (1941–1993; her death)
Children Kearney Wayne,
Melinda Wayne,
Timothy Wayne
Awards Tony Award (1947), (1954)

David Wayne (January 30, 1914[1] – February 9, 1995) was an American stage and screen actor with a career spanning nearly 50 years.

Early life and career[edit]

Wayne was born Wayne James McMeekan in Traverse City, Michigan, the son of Helen Matilda (née Mason) and John David McMeekan. His mother died when he was 4.[1] He grew up in Bloomingdale, Michigan. When World War II began Wayne volunteered as an ambulance driver with the British Army in North Africa. When the United States entered the war he joined the United States Army.

Wayne's first major Broadway role was Og the leprechaun in Finian's Rainbow, for which he won the Theatre World Award and the first ever Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. While appearing in the play, he and co-star Albert Sharpe were recruited by producer David O. Selznick to play Irish characters in the film Portrait of Jennie (1948).

It was in 1948 as well that Wayne became one of those fortunate 50 applicants (out of approximately 700) granted membership in New York's newly formed Actors Studio.[2] He was awarded a second Tony for Best Actor in a Play for The Teahouse of the August Moon and was nominated as Best Actor in a Musical for The Happy Time. He originated the role of Ensign Pulver in the classic stage comedy Mister Roberts and also appeared in Say, Darling, After the Fall, and Incident at Vichy.

Later career[edit]

In films, Wayne most often was cast as a supporting player, such as the charming cad and singer/songwriter/neighbor opposite Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in Adam's Rib (1949). He portrayed the child killer, originally played by Peter Lorre, in the remake of M (1951), a chance to see him in a rare leading role, even rarer as an evil character. He costarred in The Tender Trap (1955) with Frank Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, and Celeste Holm.

Wayne also appeared in four films with Marilyn Monroe (more than any other actor): As Young as You Feel (1951), We're Not Married (1952), O. Henry's Full House (1952) (although he shared no scenes with Monroe), and How to Marry a Millionaire (1953).

Wayne appeared in the late 1950s on ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom and the Twilight Zone episode "Escape Clause". He starred as Darius Woodley in two 1961 episodes of NBC's The Outlaws television series with Barton MacLane. Wayne was also noted for his portrayal of Dr. Charles Dutton in the 1971 film version of Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain. He also played the Mad Hatter, one of the recurring villains in the 1960s television series Batman. In 1964, he guest-starred in the series finale, "Pay Now, Die Later", of CBS's drama, Mr. Broadway, starring Craig Stevens as public relations specialist Mike Bell. In the storyline, Wayne's character, the wealthy John Zeck, hires Bell to prepare Zeck's obituary before his death.

Wayne and Jean Peters in the As Young as You Feel trailer, 1951

In the 1960s, Wayne was a radio host on NBC's magazine program Monitor. Wayne appeared as Uncle Timothy Jamison in the NBC sitcom, The Brian Keith Show. He co-starred with Jim Hutton in the 1976 television series Ellery Queen (as Inspector Richard Queen). In 1978, Wayne played Digger Barnes in 4 episodes of the CBS soap opera Dallas. Wayne left that show to co-star in the 1979-82 television series House Calls with Lynn Redgrave and later Sharon Gless in the role of Dr. Amos Weatherby. Wayne's friend, Keenan Wynn, replaced Wayne in the role of Digger Barnes. Wayne made a guest appearance in a 1975 episode of Gunsmoke titled "I have promises to keep". His leading role in this episode is considered one of his best performances.

Later life[edit]

Wayne was married to Jane Gordon in 1941 and had two daughters, Kearney Wayne and Melinda Wayne, and a son, Timothy. Timothy disappeared and was presumed drowned during a rafting trip in August, 1970. His wife died in 1993.

Death[edit]

On February 9, 1995, Wayne died in his Santa Monica, California home from complications of lung cancer at the age of 81. He was survived by his twin daughters and two grandchildren.[1] His remains were cremated and given to his family.

Awards[edit]

Wayne won two Tony Awards, one in 1947 for Finian's Rainbow and one in 1954 for The Teahouse of the August Moon.[1]

Filmography[edit]

Features:

Short Subjects:

  • Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Awards (1951)
  • Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Night Life (1952)
  • Anatomy of an Accident (1961)
  • John F. Kennedy: 1917-1963 (1979) (narrator)

Television Work[edit]

Stage Appearances[edit]

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1952 Stars in the Air Good Sam[3]
1953 Lux Radio Theatre Wait 'Till the Sun Shines, Nellie[4]

References and Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Lueck, Thomas J. (February 13, 1995). "David Wayne, Sprightly and Versatile Actor, Is Dead at 81". New York Times. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Dick Kleiner: "The Actors Studio: Making Stars Out of the Unknown," The Sarasota Journal (Friday, December 21, 1956), p. 26. "That first year, they interviewed around 700 actors and picked 50. In that first group were people like Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Tom Ewell, John Forsythe, Julie Harris, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden, E.G. Marshall, Margaret Phillips, Maureen Stapleton, Kim Stanley, Jo Van Fleet, Eli Wallach, Ray Walston and David Wayne."
  3. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 9, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 42. Retrieved May 23, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  4. ^ Kirby, Walter (May 3, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 52. Retrieved June 26, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read

External links[edit]

David Wayne at Find a Grave