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.
Cause of death heart failure
Resting place Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery
Other names Bob Lowery
Bob Lowry
Occupation Actor
Years active 1936–1967
Spouse(s) Jean Parker (1951- death) 1 son
Vivan Wilcox (1941-1944) (divorced)
Rusty Farrell (1947-1948) (divorced)

Robert Lowery (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 Robert Lowery Hanks[1][2] in Kansas City, Missouri, 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.

He graduated from Paseo High School in Kansas City, and soon was invited to sing with the Slats Randall Orchestra 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

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. 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 an accomplished 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). 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"), Cowboy G-Men, Maverick, Tales of Wells Fargo, Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, and Pistols 'n' Petticoats. He made his last onscreen 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 different actresses: Jean Parker, Vivan Wilcox, and Rusty Farrell. He had one child, Robert, who lives in Redondo Beach, California; and two grandchildren. Although a divorce action was filed in his last marriage to Jean 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.[3]

Partial filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1936 Great Guy Mr. Parker Uncredited
1937 Second Honeymoon Reporter Uncredited
1938 Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Attendant Uncredited
1939 Drums Along The Mohawk John Weaver
1939 Young Mr. Lincoln Juror Bill Killian Uncredited
1939 Charlie Chan in Reno Wally Burke
1940 Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise Dick Kenyon
1940 Four Sons Joseph
1940 The Mark of Zorro Rodrigo
1940 Murder Over New York David Elliot
1941 Remember the Day Hotel P.A. Announcer Uncredited
1942 My Gal Sal Sally's friend Uncredited
1943 Tarzan's Desert Mystery Prince Selim
1944 High Powered Tim Scott
1945 The Monster and the Ape Ken Morgan
1946 House of Horrors Steven Morrow
1946 Gas House Kids Eddie O'Brien
1946 God's Country Lee Preston/Leland Bruce
1946 They Made Me a Killer Tom Durling
1947 Killer at Large Paul Kimberly
1947 Danger Street Larry Burke
1947 Queen of the Amazons Gary Lambert
1949 Batman and Robin Bruce Wayne/Batman
1953 Jalopy Skid Wilson with The Bowery Boys
1955 Lay That Rifle Down Nick Stokes/Poindexter March, III
1960 The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond Arnold Rothstein
1963 McLintock! Gov. Cuthbert H. Humphrey
1965 Zebra in the Kitchen Preston Heston
1966 Johnny Reno Jake Reed
1967 The Ballad of Josie Whit Minick, Town Drunk
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
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


  1. ^ Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 105. 
  2. ^ William C. Cline (1 January 1997). In the Nick of Time: Motion Picture Sound Serials. McFarland. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-7864-0471-1. 
  3. ^ Forgotten Noir DVD VCI entertainment
Preceded by
Lewis Wilson
Actors to portray Batman
Succeeded by
Adam West