John Ireland (actor)
from the trailer for
Vengeance Valley (1951)
John Benjamin Ireland|
January 30, 1914
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
March 21, 1992 (aged 78)|
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Santa Barbara Cemetery, Santa Barbara|
Elaine Sheldon Rosen|
(m. 1940; div. 1948)
(m. 1949; div. 1957)
Daphine Myrick Cameron
(m. 1962; d. 1992)
Ireland was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on January 30, 1914. He lived in New York City from a very early age. Ireland's formal education ended at the 7th grade; and he worked to help his family make ends meet.
He never knew his father. His mother remarried and had three other children, a daughter Kathryn, a son named Tommy (the future actor-comedian Tommy Noonan), and another son, Michael. Their last name was Noone. Ireland never knew for sure where his last name came from. One of his jobs was in a water carnival where he wrestled a dead octopus.
His discovery of acting was by accident, but he fell in love with it and studied Shakespeare as his "formal" education.
20th Century Fox
This was followed by Wake Up and Dream (1946); Behind Green Lights (1946) with Carole Landis; and It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog (1946), again with Landis. He played Billy Clanton in John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946).
Freelance actor and Red River
Ireland had his first lead role in Railroaded! (1947), directed by Anthony Mann for Eagle-Lion. He went back to support parts for The Gangster (1947) for the King Brothers and I Love Trouble (1948) for Columbia.
All the King's Men
Ireland was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his forceful performance as Jack Burden, the hard-boiled newspaper reporter who evolves from devotee to cynical denouncer of demagogue Willie Stark (Broderick Crawford) in All the King's Men (1949), making him the first Vancouver-born actor to receive an Academy Award nomination.
Ireland had a good role of Bob Ford in the low budget I Shot Jesse James (1949) the first movie directed by Sam Fuller. He was a villain in the Western Roughshod (1949) and a love rival for Paulette Goddard in Anna Lucasta (1949). Lippert Pictures gave him the lead in The Return of Jesse James (1950) and he appeared opposite his then-wife Joanne Dru in support parts in Vengeance Valley (1951)
During McCarthyism in the early 50s, he successfully sued two television producers for breach of contract and slander, claiming that they reneged on roles promised to him due to his perceived political undesirability. He received an undisclosed but "substantial" cash settlement.
John Ireland turned director with The Fast and the Furious (1955), an early production from Roger Corman; Ireland also starred. He had the lead in the British thriller The Glass Cage (1955) and the war film Hell's Horizon (1955). He made another for Corman, this time only as an actor - Gunslinger (1956).
In 1959, Ireland appeared as Chris Slade, with Karl Swenson as Ansel Torgin, in the episode "The Fight Back" of the NBC western series, Riverboat. In the storyline, Tom Fowler (Tom Laughlin), the boss of the corrupt river town of Hampton near Vicksburg, Mississippi, blocks farmers from shipping their crops to market. In a dispute over a wedding held on the Enterprise, a lynch-mob led by Fowler comes after series lead-character Grey Holden (Darren McGavin). Karl Swenson also was cast in this episode.
Ireland had a key role as the gladiator Crixus in the Stanley Kubrick 1960 spectacle Spartacus, co-starring with Kirk Douglas. That year he starred as Winch in the CBS western series, Rawhide episode "Incident of the Garden of Eden" and made Faces in the Dark (1960) in England.
From 1960–1962, he starred in the British television series The Cheaters, playing John Hunter, a claims investigator for an insurance company who tracked down cases of fraud. He supported Elvis Presley in Wild in the Country (1961) and had the lead in the British Return of a Stranger (1961).
In 1962, he portrayed the character Frank Trask in the episode "Incident of the Portrait" on CBS's Rawhide. He had a large supporting part in 55 Days at Peking (1963) under Charlton Heston and was Ballomar in another spectacle, The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964).
By the mid-1960s, he was seen as the star of B-movies such as I Saw What You Did with Crawford. In 1965, he played role of Jed Colby, a trail scout in Rawhide on American television. This was the last season for Rawhide.
In 1967, he appeared on Bonanza with Michael Landon in the episode "Judgement at Red Creek". A few years later he again appeared with Landon on two episodes of Little House on the Prairie as a drunk who saves Carrie Ingalls, who had fallen down an abandoned mine shaft in season 3 episode "Little Girl Lost" and season 5 episode "The Winoka Warriors".
He had some leads in Fort Utah (1967), Hate for Hate (1967), and Pistol for a Hundred Coffins (1967) and supported in Villa Rides (1968), Trusting Is Good... Shooting Is Better (1969), One on Top of the Other (1969), and Carnal Circuit (1969).
Ireland was seen in productions like The House of Seven Corpses (1974), Salon Kitty (1976) and Satan's Cheerleaders (1977). He did, however, also appear in big-budget fare such as The Adventurers (1970), also as a police lieutenant in the Robert Mitchum private-eye story Farewell, My Lovely (1975). He was seen in the War of the Worlds episode "Eye for an Eye" in 1988.
Ireland regularly returned to the stage throughout his career and co-directed two features in the 1950s: the acclaimed Western drama Hannah Lee (1953) and the carjacking B-movie The Fast and the Furious (1955).
Occasionally Ireland's name was mentioned in tabloids of the times, in connection with much younger starlets, namely Natalie Wood, Barbara Payton, and Sue Lyon. He attracted controversy by dating 16-year-old actress Tuesday Weld when he was 45. Ireland also had an affair with co-star Joan Crawford while on the set of Queen Bee (1955). A decade later, Ireland and Crawford would co-star again in William Castle's horror flick I Saw What You Did.
He was married three times. His first wife, from 1940 to 1949, was Elaine Sheldon, by whom he had two sons, John and Peter. From 1949 to 1957, he was married to actress Joanne Dru (whose younger brother, entertainer Peter Marshall, was originally best known for his comedy act with Ireland's half-brother Tommy Noonan). Finally, from 1962 until his death, Ireland was married to Daphne Myrick Cameron, with whom he had a daughter named Daphne and a son named Cameron.
In his later years, he owned a restaurant, Ireland's, in Santa Barbara, California. An accomplished chef, he regularly worked in the kitchen and concocted "Ireland Stew", combining whatever ingredients were available on a given night. He was also a regular at the restaurant's bar, greeting patrons and buying drinks for friends.
For his contribution to the television industry, he was commemorated with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1610 Vine Street.
|1945||A Walk in the Sun||Pfc. Windy Craven|
|1946||Behind Green Lights||Det. Engelhofer|
|1946||It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog||Benny Smith|
|1946||My Darling Clementine||Billy Clanton|
|1946||Wake Up and Dream||Howard Williams|
|1947||The Gangster||Frank Karty|
|1948||I Love Trouble||Reno|
|1948||Open Secret||Paul Lester|
|1948||A Southern Yankee||Capt. Jed Calbern|
|1948||Red River||Cherry Valance|
|1948||Joan of Arc||Jean de la Boussac, St. Severe|
|1949||I Shot Jesse James||Bob Ford|
|1949||The Walking Hills||Frazee|
|1949||The Doolins of Oklahoma||Bitter Creek|
|1949||Anna Lucasta||Danny Johnson|
|1949||Mr. Soft Touch||Henry "Early" Byrd|
|1949||All the King's Men||Jack Burden||Academy Award nomination for Ireland, the film won the Oscar for Best Picture|
|1950||The Return of Jesse James||Johnny Callum|
|1951||Vengeance Valley||Hub Fasken|
|1951||The Scarf||John Howard Barrington|
|1951||Little Big Horn||Lt. John Haywood|
|1951||The Basketball Fix||Pete Ferreday|
|1951||The Bushwackers||Jefferson Waring|
|1951||Red Mountain||Gen. William Quantrill|
|1952||Hurricane Smith||Hurricane Smith|
|1953||The 49th Man||Investigator John Williams|
|1953||Hannah Lee||Marshal Sam Rochelle||Also co-director. Released in color and 3-D, re-released "flat" in B&W; a.k.a. Outlaw Territory|
|1954||The Good Die Young||Eddie Blaine|
|1955||The Glass Cage||Pel Pelham|
|1955||The Fast and the Furious||Frank Webster||Also co-director.|
|1955||Queen Bee||Judd Prentiss|
|1955||Hell's Horizon||Capt. John Merrill|
|1957||Gunfight at the O.K. Corral||Johnny Ringo|
|1958||Stormy Crossing||Griff Parker|
|1958||No Place to Land||Jonas Bailey|
|1958||Party Girl||Louis Canetto|
|1959||Med mord i bagaget||Johnny Greco|
|1960||Faces in the Dark||Max Hammond|
|1961||Return of a Stranger||Ray Reed|
|1961||Wild in the Country||Phil Macy|
|1963||55 Days at Peking||Sgt. Harry|
|1964||The Fall of the Roman Empire||Ballomar|
|1965||I Saw What You Did||Steve Marek|
|1967||Fort Utah||Tom Horn|
|1967||Hate for Hate||James Arthur Cooper|
|1968||Villa Rides||Client in barber shop||Uncredited|
|1968||Trusting Is Good... Shooting Is Better||The Colonel|
|1968||Pistol for a Hundred Coffins||Douglas|
|1968||Cost of Dying||Dan El|
|1969||Carnal Circuit||Walter Salinger|
|1969||One on Top of the Other||Inspector Wald|
|1970||The Adventurers||Mr. James Hadley|
|1972||Escape to the Sun||Jacob Kagan|
|1972||Northeast of Seoul||Flanagan|
|1974||The House of Seven Corpses||Eric Hartman|
|1974||The Phantom of Hollywood||Lieutenant Gifford||TV movie|
|1974||Welcome to Arrow Beach||Sheriff Duke Bingham|
|1975||Farewell, My Lovely||Det. Lt. Nulty|
|1975||We Are No Angels||Mr. Shark|
|1976||The Swiss Conspiracy||Dwight McGowan|
|1977||Assault in Paradise||Chief Haliburton||a.k.a. The Ransom and Maniac!|
|1977||Satan's Cheerleaders||The Sheriff|
|1978||Tomorrow Never Comes||Captain|
|1979||H. G. Wells' The Shape of Things to Come||Senator Smedley|
|1979||Crossbar||Miles Kornylo||TV movie|
|1979||Guyana: Cult of the Damned||Dave Cole|
|1979||On the Air Live with Captain Midnight||Agent Pierson|
|1982||The Incubus||Hank Walden|
|1985||Treasure of the Amazon||Priest|
|1986||Thunder Run||George Adama|
|1987||Terror Night||Lance Hayward|
|1988||Bonanza: The Next Generation||Capt. Aaron Cartwright||TV movie|
|1988||Messenger of Death||Zenas Beecham|
|1989||Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat||Ethan Jefferson|
|1990||The Graveyard Story||Dr. McGregor|
|1992||Waxwork II: Lost in Time||King Arthur|
|1992||Hammer Down||Lt. Bates|
- "John Ireland". LA Times. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "John Ireland". NNDB. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "John Ireland, 78, Longtime Actor With Role in 'All the King's Men'" Bruce Lambert, THE NEW YORK TIMES, March 22, 1992
- ""The Fight Back", Riverboat, October 18, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
- Little House on the Prairie episode profile
- "John Ireland - Hollywood Star Walk - Los Angeles Times". projects.latimes.com. Retrieved 2017-08-09.
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