He was one of the tough guys. He was also a reasonably versatile character actor who occasionally played the good guy. But, he said, It’s much better being the heavy because you work more.
Steve Brodie, for example, found himself playing a minor hood being gunned down in perhaps the best film noir ever made, 1947’s Out of the Past.
Pulling the trigger was justifiably renowned femme fatale Jane Greer, who had just heard Brodie’s character scoff: A dame with a rod is like a guy with a knitting needle. Greer took offense, and supplied Brodie with an extra orifice. He learned the hard way.
Brodie did get lots of work — some 165 credits spread out over nearly 45 years. Taking a look at the photo above, it’s not hard to imagine that early on, before he discovered acting, he boxed, worked as a race car driver and on oil rigs and once entertained a criminal law career. No wonder he excelled onscreen as a working stiff.
Ok, let’s see how much you know about one of our favorite supporting actors. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Brodie began his acting career at MGM, but which one of the following studios was he most closely identified with ultimately? a) 20th Century Fox; b) Republic Pictures; c) Columbia Pictures or d) RKO.
2) Question: Although he appears to be a Brooklyn-bred tough guy onscreen, Brodie was actually born John Stephens, and raised in Kansas by parents of mid-Western stock. a) True; or b) False?
3) Question: In which one of the following titles did Brodie effectively play an innocent dupe caught in a deadly racketing scheme who flees for his life with his young wife? (Hint: the director is Anthony Mann.) a) 1950’s Armored Car Robbery; b) 1947’s Desperate; c) 1947’s Crossfire; or d) 1949’s I Cheated the Law.
4) Question: Brodie, a hard drinking actor, was married three times, once to an reasonably famous actress and once to the wife of a reasonably well-known bandleader. Can you name these two wives? a) Lois Andrews; b) Barbara Payton; c) Barbara Savitt; or d) Virginia Hefner.
5) Answer: How and why did Brodie acquire his marquee name, and which historical figure inspired the acquisition?