Even with one of the biggest studios behind his career John Lund never rose to stardom.

How come?

Lund, born in Rochester, N.Y. in 1911, the son of an immigrant Norwegian glassblower, was a high school dropout who meandered through several professions (advertising, writing for radio) before finding his niche on the stage — initially in a Rochester road version of Clifford Odets’ Waiting For Lefty.

Paramount landed on the tall (6-foot-1) good looker in the mid-Forties after Lund scored good notices in several Broadway roles. He seemed an ideal leading man prospect.

And what a start Paramount gave him. His first three films were huge hits. Consider the opener…

1946’s To Each His Own.

This was a helleva start.  Lund’s costar (above) was Olivia DeHavilland, who won a best actress Oscar for her role was a woman who gives birth out of wedlock to a son fathered by a fighter pilot during wartime London.

Lund got to play not one but two roles — the lusty fighter pilot as well as the grown up illegitimate offspring. The script was by ace screenplay writer, Charles Brackett, who also produced the picture. The critics loved the picture, and box office was good.

Then came a musical with Betty Hutton…..(below)

1947’s The Perils of Pauline

The picture was a fictionalized account of silent star Pearl White’s elevation from obscurity to stardom.  Hutton plays a sweatshop garment worker with acting aspirations who lands a spot in a theatrical company run by Lund.

Lund later said in an odd critique of his performance: I look best from a great distance and in a bad light. I have a peculiar face, an odd walk and about as much sex appeal as a goat. I was the worst peril Betty Hutton encountered as Pauline.

Then Paramount rolled out…

1948’s A Foreign Affair.

In this one Lund plays an Army captain caught between two women — a prim U.S. congresswoman (Jean Arthur) and an ex-Nazi cabaret singer (Marlene Dietrich, with Lund above).  This powerhouse cast was helmed by Billy Wilder, at the time Paramount’s premier director.

You’d think that with these three title on his opening Hollywood resume, Lund would have been assured top-name stardom.  For some reason, it didn’t happen. By 1949 he was in character roles.

Lund’s film career comprises less that 30 pictures in all over 16 years. One of his more noteworthy — supporting — performances came in MGM’s 1956 title High Society, as the stuffy fiance who doesn’t get the girl (in this case Grace Kelly, in her final Hollywood acting role).

Grace Kelly, John Lund, "High Society" (1956) | Metro-Goldwy… | Flickr


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