He was an odd star, William Bendix, not a leading man, not quite a character actor. And despite the pronounced Brooklyn accent he employed in many roles, he hailed from Manhattan in New York City.
He excelled in a broad range of roles: unsavory thugs, taxi drivers, cops, battle-scarred G.I.’s, shady gumshoes and various types of working stiffs. He reached his peak of fame in television playing one of the medium’s first blue-collar stalwarts.
Bendix’ movie work was distinguished by roles in films of Alfred Hitchcock and Josef von Sternberg, among many other prestige directors. His career as a fairly lengthy one although his life was not — he died at in 1964 at age 58.
Bendix is worth know more about and we hope our Monday Quiz does the trick. As usual, questions today with answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Growing up in Manhattan, Bendix worked as a bat boy for both the New York Yankees and Giants. He claimed he fetched hot dogs for which one of the following players? a) Hack Wilson; b) Bill Dickey; c) Lou Gehrig; or d) Babe Ruth.
2) Question: Bendix was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for which one of the following movies? a) 1942′s Wake Island; b) 1944′s Lifeboat; c) 1944′s The Hairy Ape; or d) 1946′s Two Years Before The Mast.
3) Question: Bendix’ appearance in Hitchcock’s Lifeboat was important for a special reason apart from the actor’s first rate performance. Can you guess what it is?
4) Question: Bendix costarred with Robert Mitchum in which one of the following, directed by von Sternberg? a) 1950′s Kill The Umpire; b) 1946′s The Blue Dahlia; c) 1952′s Macao; or d) 1951′s Detective Story.
5) Question: Bendix achieved national popularity for his ingratiating tv performance as Chester A. Riley on the long running series, The Life of Riley. But he was not the first actor to play the role. Who was? a) George C. Scott; b) Jackie Gleason; c) William Frawley; or d) Art Carney.
6) Question: Despite its popularity first on radio and then tv, The Life of Riley never made it with Bendix to the big screen? a) True; or b) False?
7) Question: Bendix played some mean dudes in several fim noirs. Which of the following did he punch out most in these pictures? a) Ronald Colman; b) Alan Ladd; c) Victor Mature; or d) Robert Mitchum.
8) Question: Although he wasn’t that much of a looker, Bendix got around the Hollywood starlet circuit quite a bit, and dated many an A-list glamour puss. a) True; or b) False.
9) Question: Bendix effectively played a ex-G.I. with serious mental problems in which one of the following pictures? a) The Blue Dahlia; b) 1954′s Dangerous Mission; c) 1949′s The Big Steal; or d) 1943′s Guadalcanal Diary.
10) Question: Who “discovered” Bendix and brought him to Hollywood? a) Darryl Zanuck; b) Harry Cohn; c) Jack Warner; or d) Hal Roach.