Did you know he appeared in such A-list titles as 1942’s The Ox Bow Incident (his movie debut) and 1943’s The Song of Bernadette?
Or, that he was in 1944’s Wilson? (To the left above is Alexander Knox playing the 28th U.S. president.)
Or, that he costarred with the overpoweringly theatrical Tallulah Bankhead in the 1945 costume drama, A Royal Scandal?
You are more than forgiven. Not many movie fans know much about our man, William Eythe, who had a short career (just 23 credits over a dozen years) in the Forties and early Fifties.
Eythe also had a colorful if dissolute private life, ending with a case of acute hepatitis in 1957. He was only 38 years old.
A native of the Pittsburgh area, he started out in regional theater and on Broadway before landing in Hollywood during the World War II years. Unlike the several major Hollywood stars who saw military service, Eythe benefited from his 4-F status.
Nonetheless his stint at 20th Century Fox left him and his big studio bosses unsatisfied, a situation that resulted at least in part in Eythe’s decent into alcoholism and tabloid fodder exploits. He died early, never fulfilling his big screen promise.
Ok, on to the answers to our William Elythe Quiz.
1.Question: Eythe was considered in his prime sufficiently handsome to rival which one of the following actors? a) Van Heflin; b) Gary Cooper; c) Dennis O’Keefe; or d) Tyrone Power.
Answer: d) Tyrone Power, the Fox premier star Eythe resembled.
2. Question: Despite his budding heartthrob onscreen status, wasn’t William Eythe gay? a) Yes; b) No.
Answer: a) Yes. Although he had a brief marriage to Fox starlet Buff Cobb (from 1947 to 1949) Eythe was a lot closer to fellow actor Lon McCallister.
3. Question: Eythe actually had a pretty short Hollywood career hampered by frequent clashes with a) His female costars; b) His agent and manager; c) The scandal-mongering Hollywood press; or d) Studio bosses.
Answer: d) Studio bosses. Eythe was something of a rebel at 20th Century Fox, and was occasionally suspended or loaned to other studios as punishment for not toeing the company line. Eythe incurred the wrath of studio boss Darryl Zanuck, not a man who was easily crossed.
4. Question: What did Eythe and late broadcaster Mike Wallace have in common? a) Both worked in radio early in their careers; b) Both acted in tv dramas; c) Both married the same woman; or d) Both were portrayed by others in various tv dramas.
Answer: c) Both married the same woman, Buff Cobb. Eythe was the second of her four husbands, Wallace the third (from 1949 to 1955).
5. Question: Which of these movies did Eythe did NOT appear in? a) 1942’s The Ox-bow Incident; b) 1943’s The Song of Bernadette; c) 1944’s The Eve of St. Mark; or d) 1945’s A Royal Scandal.
Answer: As indicated in our intro, Eythe was in ALL four movies.