Largely overlooked today — even wrongly dismissed by some — he was once a pretty big star.
Rory Calhoun, a good looking dude, was a California-born tough guy, a self professed womanizer and stalwart semi-leading man all in one actor born in L.A. in 1922 as Francis Timothy McCown.
His career began in the mid Forties, and lasted for nearly half a century covering some 125 movie and tv credits. (A reason we are partial to Calhoun is that he was also a pal of our late pal, Donald Gordon, who bequeathed to us his stunning Hollywood photo collection. Calhoun is one of Donald’s subjects.)
Calhoun worked right up until 1993, six years before his death. His pre-professional years were tough; he was a high school dropout, spent time in reformatories and even logged a stint in San Quentin. This came out in later years, much to his delight, since it enhanced his macho image.
Calhoun did achieve above-the-line star status in several films, some of which typify Hollywood’s output in the Fifties — big, brassy and star-laden. In his later years, Calhoun worked extensively in television.
Ok, let’s get to our Quiz. Here we go:
1) Question: As a youth Calhoun famously got himself into a pot of trouble with the police. Which of the following NOT get him into hot water? a) Stealing a car; b) Robbing jewelry stores; c) Stealing a pistol; or d) Violating the Mann Act.
2) Question: Who gave the actor his marquee name? Hint: this guy was also connected to Rock Hudson, Guy Madison (Calhoun’s good friend), Tab Hunter and Troy Donahue.
3) Question: Which of these movies did NOT include Calhoun in the cast? a) 1953’s How To Marry A Millionaire; b) 1954’s River of No Return; c) 1955’s East of Eden; or d) 1952’s With A Song In My Heart.
4) Question: Calhoun at one point in his career found himself embroiled in the effort to hide the homosexuality of Rock Hudson. How did this happen?
5) Question: Calhoun as TWO stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. One is for movies. What’s the other star for?