Who?

William Lundigan, that’s who.  Bill Lundigan is one of those stalwart leading men of the 1940s and 50s who’s forgotten today but shouldn’t be.

He began his career in the late 30s. Universal signed him, groomed him for a few years, then gave him a break casting him opposite Deanna Durbin in Three Smart Girls Grow Up. Then he moved over to Warners were he had small parts, usually as the kid brother (Olivia deHavilland’s in Santa Fe Trail) or the young recruit (The Fighting 69th).

His career was interrupted by his wartime service in the Marines. Then he apprenticed with B movies at Metro. When he moved over to 20th Century Fox he finally hit his stride in the late 40’s and early 50s when he starred opposite Jeanne Crain in Pinky, and June Haver in Love Nest (which featured the not-yet-star Marilyn Monroe.)

Lundigan costarred with Susan Hayward in I’d Climb the Highest Mountain –– a hit for the studio — but his best films (and the ones we recommend) are 1951’s The House on Telegraph Hill and 1953’s Inferno.

In the first Lundigan plays true to type as the good guy, a military officer, in Robert Wise’s film noir which stars Richard Basehart and Valentina Cortesa.

But in Inferno he’s the adulterous would-be murderer, with lover Rhonda Fleming (shown above with Lundigan), as they abandon her injured husband, Robert Ryan, to die in the Mojave desert.  It’s a taut thriller, as exciting today as it was 60 years ago when it was released in 3D.

Lundigan, who was a college athlete at Syracuse University, had a solid 34-year-career comprising nearly 85 movie and tv credits. A “working actor” to be remembered.

 

 

Did you like this? Share it: