This is a never before released photo — from our exclusive Donald Gordon collection — of one of Hollywood’s most famous leading men of the 1930s and 40s. (The late Donald, a studio actor in the Forties, loved to catch up with star pals in parking lots.)
Question: can you name the star pictured here?
Some very juicy hints:
— He was one of the leading actors of the 1930s and 1940s, who never stopped working in films, on radio, television and on the Broadway stage, then made a comeback in the 1980s and won a Oscar.
— In addition to having a career than spanned 60 years, he is also known for having one of the longest marriages of any Hollywood star. He and his wife were married in 1932, and remained hitched for the ensuing 54 years until her death. And they raised six children.
— As you might surmize, he was a family man. (Should we add that he was a Roman Catholic?) But he was also a soothingly competent actor and one of 20th Century Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck’s favorites — because he was sooo reliable.
— He was in scores of hit films. His best known are probably 1939’s The Story of Alexander Graham Bell and 1943’s Heaven Can Wait (his personal favorite). Joe especially likes him in 1939’s Midnight, the Billy Wilder-Charles Brackett romp with Claudette Colbert and 1941’s That Night in Rio. In that one he plays two roles, the love interest opposite both Carmen Miranda AND Alice Faye.
— Most people today remember him because of his films as a feisty senior. His movie career was revived by 1983’s Trading Places then 1985’s Cocoon (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), and its 1988 sequel, Cocoon, The Return.
— He died in 1993, felled by prostate cancer, in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 85.
Who IS our mystery man?
You may kick yourself when we identify him tomorrow. His name is familiar but then it isn’t. Bonne chance.