So, how much did you know about – Tyrone Power? Just kidding.
That hirsute chap pictured shirtless above is none other than our Monday Quiz subject, William Bendix.
Never quite a star nor quite a limited supporting player, Bendix had by classic Hollywood standards a relatively short career (he died in 1964 at age 58) but, thanks to television, a broadly popular one.
For the record he amassed more than 90 movie and tv credits cast often in working-stiff parts. He made some pretty good pictures, and worked with some top drawer directors.
Ok, let’s get to our Quiz answers. As usual, to review the questions, just scroll down to the blog below. Here we go:
1) Answer: A native of the Big Apple, Bendix worked as a bat boy for two New York City teams as a youth, and later claimed he saw (d) Babe Ruth hit a multitude of home runs. Also, as per the actor, Ruth would often send him to fetch his favorite food — hot dogs. Not a bad go-for job.
2) Answer: Bendix won his Oscar nomination as best supporting actor for a) 1942′s Wake Island. The World War II drama, directed by John Farrow, was one of his earliest pictures, and it turbocharged his career.
3) Answer: Bendix’appearances in Alfred Hitchcock’s stranded-at-sea drama, Lifeboat, was among the actor’s big screen highlights. He plays a sympathetic character who is shown reading a newspaper in the eponymous lifeboat. This allowed the droll director to pan in on an article making reference to himself — a trademark of all Hitchcock films. (How else could he have “appeared” in this picture?)
4) Answer: c) 1952′s Macao. This is a pretty good picture with Bendix and sexy costars Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell putting in most appealing performances.
5) Answer: Bendix achieved household name status playing the title role in The Life of Riley on tv from 1953 to 1958. It’s been described as an early situation comedy of the ‘Bumbling Father school.’ The series was telecast twice on NBC with the earlier version starring (b) Jackie Gleason teamed with Rosemary DeCamp. Bendix was teamed in the second and much more successful go-round with Marjorie Reynolds. Bendix played the protagonist, described “as a likeable but stupid head of a working class family.’
6) Answer: b) False. The big screen version of The Life of Riley was made in 1949 by Universal Pictures with Bendix in the lead, pre-tv series. Rosemary DeCamp played his wife. There was a Gleason in the cast but it was not Jackie. It was James Gleason.
7) Answer: b) Alan Ladd, especially in 1942′s The Glass Key. In this one, Bendix gives Ladd a real going-over.
8) Answer: b) False. Bendix’ marital life was quiet offscreen. His one and only spouse was Teresa Stefanotty. The marriage lasted 37 years until the actor’s death.
9) Answer: a) The Blue Dahlia. Take a look.
10) Answer: d) Hal Roach, who ‘discovered’ Bendix playing a cop in a stage version of The Time of Your Life.