He was Universal’s big star of the 50s, until Rock Hudson came along.
He once declared to Hollywood columnist Sheila Graham: Today, for a man to be a ht on the screen, he has to take his shirt off.
The naturally hirsute Jeff Chandler gave the studio make-up depart fits to accomplish the shaven look pictured above.
He emerged in Hollywood at a time when a Brooklyn Jew (he was born Ira Grossel in 1918) could prosper onscreen in westerns playing a Native American. He was also a tall, prematurely grey handsome leading man. The roster of his leading ladies includes Maureen O’Hara, Rhonda Fleming, Jane Russell, Joan Crawford and June Allyson. (He was friendly with fellow Brooklynite Susan Hayward.)
Here he is below pawing Kim Novak in the 1957 biopic Jeanne Eagels.
Chandler didn’t live long — he died of various post surgical complications in 1961 at the age of 42 — but he managed to roll up a solid 17 year career covering more than 50 credits.
Ok, let’s see how much you remember about this handsome Fifties star. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Before his screen career took off, Chandler played the principal male character on one of America’s most popular radio series. Which one of the following? a) Our Miss Brooks; b) Amos and Andy; c) The Green Hornet; or d) Life with Luigi.
2) Question: Chandler was married and divorced just once, but had a blazing affair with Esther Williams, a liaison that seemed destined for marriage. Why didn’t it? a) Williams caught him in bed with another woman; b) Williams tired of his gambling proclivities; c) Williams discovered Chandler one day dressed in drag; or d) Chandler couldn’t swim.
3) Question: Although Maureen O’Hara found Chandler to be a wooden actor (Acting with him was like acting with a broomstick, she said), he was once nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar. For which movie? a) Sword in the Desert; b) Smuggler’s Island; c) Bird of Paradise; or d) Broken Arrow.
4) Question: Chandler once said his favorite film was 1952’s romantic thriller Because of You in which he supported a sexier than usual Loretta Young. Despite his enthusiasm, Young later gave Chandler faint praise as her costar. a) True; or b) False.
5) Question: Throughout his career, Chandler displayed real musical talent that convinced some that he was a better musician than actor. a) True: or b) False.