We were leafing through our Donald Gordon collection of photos, and found the above snap of actor John Gavin, who died recently. He was in a few very successful films and wooden though his acting was he didn’t ruin any of them.
Anyone who has savored the opening scenes of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho — the illicit faire l’amour in a sweaty Phoenix hotel room pairing Janet Leigh and some handsome dude — will undoubtedly remember Gavin without seeing any of his other movies.
Yes, he was that handsome dude. (See studio still below.)
Born in Los Angles in 1931, he was once thought to be another Rock Hudson, or at least another James Bond.
Gavin was neither but he was a decent actor (43 movie and tv credits), the president of the Screen Actors Guild in the early Seventies, and — after his career ebbed — ambassador to Mexico appointed by another former actor, Ronald Reagan. (Gavin was born John Golenor, the son of a Mexican mother, and was a Stanford grad who spoke fluent Spanish.)
He died last Feb. 9 at the age of 86.
As mentioned, the first candid shot was taken from our Donald Gordon Collection, named for our late friend, who as a young actor who found himself under contract at Columbia Pictures during World War II. The collection was bequeathed to us after his death. Donald was an amiable fellow, and got unusual access to an impressive list of Hollywood personalities at the time.