He had a promising, but short career. If you had been paying attention to yesterday’s blog — re William Eythe — you would have a pretty good idea of what’s coming.
Raised as a show biz kid in Los Angeles (he was born Herbert McCallister Jr. in 1923) Lon made quite a career out of playing wholesome, non-threatening young men often from the sticks. He was a genuine family favorite who most romantic counterpoints were horses and dogs.
He was short (5-foot-6) and imbued with a wide-eyed, innocent handsomeness that flourished for a time on the big screen in the 1940’s and early Fifties. He is remembered, for example, by 1944’s Home in Indiana, costarring with the likes of Walter Brennan and Jeanne Crain.
He lucked out in 1947 when he landed a principal role in The Red House, an unfairly underappreciated mystery drama starring Edward G. Robinson about the secrets of an abandoned house in the woods.
One of McCallister’s Hollywood ventures best left forgotten is remembered today for the early presence of Marilyn Monroe.
There she is going over her lines (there were few of them) with Robert Karnes (left) and McCallister. The cast for this 1948 comedy, Monroe’s second movie, features June Haver and Walter Brennan and a cameo by another future star, Natalie Wood. The title of this movie is….
Answer: Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hay!
Keep in mind that McCallister started out in movies when he was 13. He collected quite a few mostly forgettable credits as a teenage actor in the Thirties before emerging as a name player in the Forties.
By 1953, it was all over. McCallister retired at the ripe age of 30. (In all, he rolled up nearly 50 movie and tv credits over nearly three decades.)
He became a wealthy man from his subsequent line of work as a real estate manager/entrepreneur. He never married, and died of heart failure in the Lake Tahoe area in 2005. He was 82.
Perhaps McCallister’s most significant and lengthy romantic relationship was with fellow actor William Eythe with whom he coproduced a stage musicals. (For more on Eythe, pls check out yesterday’s blog.)