Robert Lowery (actor)

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Robert Lowery
Robert Lowery in Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise.jpg
Born Robert Lowery Hanks
(1913-10-17)October 17, 1913
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Died December 26, 1971(1971-12-26) (aged 58)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery
Other names Bob Lowery
Bob Lowry
Occupation Actor
Years active 1936–1967
Spouse(s) Jean Parker (m. 1951) 1 son
Vivan Wilcox (1941–1944) (divorced)
Rusty Farrell (1947–1948) (divorced)

Robert Lowery (born Robert Lowery Hanks,[1][2] October 17, 1913 – December 26, 1971) was an American motion picture, television, and stage actor who appeared in over seventy films.

Early life[edit]

Born in Kansas City, Missouri,[3] Lowery grew up on Wayne Avenue near the long-demolished Electric Park. Lowery's father was a local attorney and oil investor who worked several years for the Pullman Corporation as a railroad agent; his mother, Leah Thompson Hanks, was a concert pianist.

Syndicated newspaper columnist Harrison Carroll reported that Lowery was "a direct descendant of Nancy Hanks".[4]

He graduated from Paseo High School[5] in Kansas City, and soon was invited to sing with the Slats Randall Orchestra[3] in the early 1930s. Lowery played on the Kansas City Blues minor league baseball team and was overall considered a versatile athlete; his physique and strength were gained from a stint working in a paper factory as a teenager. After the death of his father in 1935, he traveled to Hollywood with his mother and their housekeeper, and enrolled in the Lila Bliss acting school before being signed by Twentieth Century Fox in 1937.


Lowery with George Reeves in the 1942 United States War Department Official Training Film No. 8-154, Sex Hygiene

Lowery debuted in motion pictures in Come and Get It (1936).[6]

During his career, Lowery was primarily known for roles in action movies such as The Mark of Zorro (1940), The Mummy's Ghost (1944), and Dangerous Passage (1944). He became the second actor to play DC Comics' Batman (succeeding Lewis Wilson), starring in a 1949's Batman and Robin serial.[2]

Lowery also had roles in a number of Western films including The Homesteaders (1953), The Parson and the Outlaw (1957), Young Guns of Texas (1962), and Johnny Reno (1966). He was also a stage actor and appeared in Born Yesterday, The Caine Mutiny, and in several other productions.

On television, Lowery was best known for the role of Big Tim Champion on the series Circus Boy (1956–1957).[7] In 1956, he guest starred in "The Deadly Rock," an episode of The Adventures of Superman (which was the first time a Batman actor shared screen time with a Superman actor, although Lowery and Reeves had appeared together in their pre-superhero days in the 1942 World War II anti-VD propaganda film, Sex Hygiene.) Lowery also had guest roles on Perry Mason, featured as murder victim Amos Bryant in "The Case of the Roving River," Playhouse 90 ("The Helen Morgan Story"), Hazel, Cowboy G-Men, Maverick, Tales of Wells Fargo, Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, and Pistols 'n' Petticoats.

He made his last on-screen appearance in the 1967 comedy/Western film The Ballad of Josie, opposite Doris Day and Peter Graves.

Personal life and death[edit]

He was married three times, to three actresses. He and Jean Parker had a son, Robert Lowery Hanks II, in 1952.[5]

His other wives were Vivan Wilcox and Barbara "Rusty" Farrell, whom he married on March 21, 1947, in Las Vegas, Nevada.[8]

Although a divorce action was filed in his last marriage to Parker, it was never finalized.

Lowery died of heart failure at the age of 58 in his Los Angeles, California apartment on December 26, 1971.[9][10]

Partial filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1936 Great Guy Mr. Parker Uncredited
1937 Second Honeymoon Reporter Uncredited
Wake Up and Live Chauffeur
Life Begins in College Sling
1938 Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Attendant Uncredited
Safety in Numbers Harry
Josette Rafe, boatman
Passport Husband Ted Markson
Submarine Patrol Sparks, radioman
1939 Drums Along the Mohawk John Weaver
Young Mr. Lincoln Juror Bill Killian Uncredited
Charlie Chan in Reno Wally Burke
Mr. Moto in Danger Island Lt. George Bently
Hollywood Calvacde Henry Potter
1940 Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise Dick Kenyon
Four Sons Joseph
The Mark of Zorro Rodrigo
Murder Over New York David Elliot
City of Chance Ted Blaine
Free, Blonde and 21 Dr. Stephen Craig
Star Dust Bellboy
Shooting High Bob Merritt
1941 Remember the Day Hotel P.A. Announcer Uncredited
Ride on Vaquero Carlos Martinez
Cadet Girl Walter
Private Nurse Henry Holt
1942 My Gal Sal Sally's friend Uncredited
Who Is Hope Schuyler? Robert Scott
She's in the Army Navy Lt. Jim Russell
Lure of the Islands Wally
Criminal Investigator Bob Martin
Rhythm Parade Jimmy Trent
Dawn on the Great Divide Terry Wallace
1943 Tarzan's Desert Mystery Prince Selim
So's Your Uncle Roger Bright
Revenge of the Zombies Larry Adams
A Scream in the Dark Mike Brooker
Campus Rhythm Buzz O'Hara
The North Star Russian gunner
1944 Hot Rhythm Jimmy O'Brien
The Navy Way Johnny Zumano
The Mummy's Ghost Tom Hervey
Dark Mountain Don Bradley
Mystery of the River Boat Steve Langtry
Dangerous Passage Joe Beck
1945 The Monster and the Ape Ken Morgan
High Powered Tim Scott
Fashion Model Jimmy O'Brien
Road to Alcatraz John Norton
Sensation Hunters Danny Burke
Prison Ship Tom Jeffries
1946 House of Horrors Steven Morrow
Gas House Kids Eddie O'Brien
God's Country Lee Preston/Leland Bruce
They Made Me a Killer Tom Durling
Death Valley Steve
Lady Chaser Peter Kane
1947 Killer at Large Paul Kimberly
Danger Street Larry Burke
Queen of the Amazons Gary Lambert
Big Town Pete Ryan
I Cover Big Town Pete Ryan
Jungle Flight Kelly Jordon
1948 Mary Lou Steve Roberts
Heart of Virginia Dan Lockwood
Shep Come Home Mark Folger
Highway 13 Hank Wilson
1949 Batman and Robin Bruce Wayne/Batman
Arson, Inc. Joe Martin
The Dalton Gang Blackie Dalton/BlackieMallet
Call of the Forest Sam Harrison
1950 Western Pacific Agent Bill Stuart
I Shot Billy the Kid Sheriff Pat Garrett
Gunfire Sheriff John Kelly
Train to Tombstone Marshall Staley
Border Rangers Mungo
1950 Crosswinds
1953 Jalopy Skid Wilson with The Bowery Boys
The Homesteaders Clyde Moss
Cow Country Harry O'Dell
1955 Lay That Rifle Down Nick Stokes/Poindexter March, III
Two Gun Lady "Big Mike" Doughterty
The Parson and the Outlaw Col Jefferson Morgan
1960 The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond Arnold Rothstein
1062 Deadly Duo Jay Flagg
When the Girls Take Over Maximo Toro
Young Guns of Texas Jesse Glendenning
1963 McLintock! Gov. Cuthbert H. Humphrey
1964 Stage to Thunder Rock Deputy Sheriff Seth Barrington
1965 Zebra in the Kitchen Preston Heston
1966 Johnny Reno Jake Reed
Waco Mayor Ned Wood
The Undertaker and his Pals
1967 The Ballad of Josie Whit Minick, Town Drunk Last movie
Year Title Role Notes
1954 The Joe Palooka Story Don Jackson 1 episode
The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse George Loring 1 episode
1955 Letter to Loretta Gordy 1 episode
1956 The Millionaire David Hanley 1 episode
1956–1957 Circus Boy Big Tim Champion 49 episodes
1958 Casey Jones Greg Pontus 1 episode
26 Men Red Tanner 3 episodes
Yancy Derringer Blair Devon 2 episodes
1959 The Texan Coy Bennet 1 episode
Bronco Mike Kirk 1 episode
Cimarron City Harris 1 episode
1960 Richard Diamond, Private Detective Mark Sutro 1 episode
Cheyenne (1955 TV series) Episode: "Counterfeit Gun", Giff Murdock / Richard Scott 1 episode
Hotel de Paree Trent 1 episode
COronado 9 Miller 1 episode
1961 Whispering Smith Dave Markson 1 episode
1962 Frontier Circus Marshal Taggert 1 episode
Gunsmoke Idaho Smith 1 episode

1962 Hazel. Pablo Rivera. 1 episode


  1. ^ Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 105. 
  2. ^ a b Cline, William C. (1977). In the Nick of Time: Motion Picture Sound Serials. McFarland. p. 74. ISBN 9780786404711. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Feramisco, Thomas M. (2007). The Mummy Unwrapped: Scenes Left on Universal's Cutting Room Floor. McFarland. pp. 142–144. ISBN 9781476607924. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Carroll, Harrison (February 17, 1944). "Hollywood". The Press Democrat. California, Santa Rosa. p. 12. Retrieved May 6, 2017 – via  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ a b "Son for Robert Hanks". The Kansas City Times. Missouri, Kansas City. Associated Press. September 27, 1952. p. 1. Retrieved May 6, 2017 – via  open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ Weaver, Tom; Brunas, Michael; Brunas, John (1990). Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 423. ISBN 9780786491506. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  7. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. 
  8. ^ "Marriages". Billboard. April 5, 1947. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  9. ^ Forgotten Noir DVD VCI entertainment
  10. ^ "Robert Lowery, Actor, Dies". The Kansas City Times. Missouri, Kansas City. Associated Press. December 27, 1971. p. 2. Retrieved May 6, 2017 – via  open access publication – free to read

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