from the trailer for the film Public Enemy's Wife (1936).
|Born||John Nicholas Foran
June 18, 1910
Flemington, New Jersey, US
|Died||August 10, 1979
Panorama City, California , US
|Resting place||San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Los Angeles, California|
|Spouse(s)||Ruth Piper Hollingsworth (1937–1940; divorced)
Carole Gallagher (1943–1944; divorced)
Susanne Rosser (1951–1979; his death)
Life and career
Foran was born in Flemington, New Jersey, the first of five sons to Arthur F. and Elizabeth Foran. His father Arthur F. Foran was a Republican member of the New Jersey Senate, as was Dick Foran's younger brother, Walter E. Foran. After graduation he attended the Hun School, a college preparatory school in nearby Princeton, and then enrolled at Princeton University, pursuing a degree in geology. He played on the football team while taking courses in the arts, where he developed an interest in the theater.
Foran studied music at the Leibling Studio in New York before singing on radio. After becoming a lead singer in a band and later forming his own orchestra, Foran, who stood 6-foot-2 and had red hair, was hired by Warner Bros. as a supporting actor. He would also croon when called upon in films such as Change of Heart (1934) with Janet Gaynor, made for Fox Film Corporation. His handsome appearance and good-natured personality made him a natural choice for the supporting cast. He first appeared as a singing cowboy in his first starring role, in Moonlight on the Prairie (1935). Other singing cowboy features included Song of the Saddle (1936), Guns of the Pecos (1937), Empty Holsters (1937) and Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938).
In 1938 Foran moved to Universal Studios, where he acted in many different genres of film from horror to comedies with Abbott and Costello such as Ride 'Em Cowboy (1942). In 1942, Foran starred as Lon Prentice in a 68-minute war support film, Private Buckaroo.
He appeared in at least four episodes of Science Fiction Theatre (1955). One of these, "The Miracle Hour" (aired December 22, 1956), is about a man who never gives up hope that his fiancee's blind six-year-old son won't have to spend the holidays in darkness. The show featured Jean Byron as the fiancee and Charles Herbert as the child. Foran appeared three times (1955–1956) as Father Brophy on the ABC anthology series Crossroads. He guest starred in the syndicated crime drama Sheriff of Cochise, starring John Bromfield. He was cast as a lawman in the episode "The Third Rider" in the first season (1957) of the ABC/Warner Brothers Western series Maverick, with Jack Kelly.
Foran portrayed the character Tuck Degan in the 1957 episode "Final Payment" of another ABC/WB Western series, Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. In the January 1959 episode of "The Spur", he portrayed Sheriff Wilkes on "Wanted: Dead or Alive" with Steve McQueen. In 1959, Foran portrayed defendant Dr. David Craig on CBS's Perry Mason, in the episode "The Case of the Bedeviled Doctor." Later that year, he played defendant Steve Benton in another Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Garrulous Gambler." He was also featured as Perry Mason's client in the 1961 episode "The Case of the Renegade Refugee."
In 1962, Foran appeared with Marie Windsor in the roles of Frank and Ann Jesse in the episode "The Wanted Man" of the ABC/Warner Brothers Western series Lawman, starring John Russell as Marshal Dan Troop. In the story line, Ann dies in childbirth, and Frank, who is wanted and frequently absent from their farm, orders their grown son, Ben (Jan Stine), to turn him over to Marshal Troop in order to collect the $5,000 reward and thus be able to rear his surviving infant brother, whom he names Frank. Meanwhile, Troop counters Joe Street (Alan Baxter), a bounty hunter seeking the same reward.
Foran starred in The Petrified Forest (1936), The Sisters (1938), Rangers of Fortune (1940), The Mummy's Hand (1940) and Keep 'Em Flying (1941). In 1954, Foran guest starred on NBC's Justice, a legal drama starring Dane Clark and Gary Merrill, on CBS's The Public Defender starring Reed Hadley and Hugh Beaumont, and on NBC's The Martha Raye Show, a comedy/variety show starring comedian Martha Raye. He also appeared as Burt, a carnival hustler, in 1957 on NBC's Father Knows Best, with Robert Young.
In 1959, Foran was cast as David Steele in the episode "The Adjuster" of the NBC crime drama series Richard Diamond, Private Detective, starring David Janssen. Dabbs Greer and DeForest Kelley also appear in this episode.
Foran later appeared as Gabriel Marion, brother of title character Francis Marion (Leslie Nielsen), in the Walt Disney Presents miniseries The Swamp Fox. In 1968 Foran was cast in the role of "Fred Haines" in Season 1, Episode 13, of the NBC television series Adam-12.
One of his last film roles was a small one in Donovan's Reef (1963), starring his longtime friend John Wayne. His final film appearance was as the prospector "Old Timer" in the sentimental film Brighty of the Grand Canyon (1967) with Joseph Cotten, Pat Conway and Karl Swenson.
Foran has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television, at 1600 Vine Street.
- Phillips, Robert W. Singing Cowboy Stars. Salt Lake City: Gibbs-Smith, 1994. pp. 26–27.
- "Colt .45". ctva.biz. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- ""The Wanted Man", April 8, 1962". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- ""The Adjuster", Richard Diamond, Private Detective, December 7, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
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