Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky
Was expelled from several schools; parents sent him to parochial and military schools hoping it would teach him discipline
After quitting scool for good at age 14, entered confectionary business in Louisville
With confectionary profits became co-owner of a restaurant (date approximate)
Sold restaurant interests and went to Hollywood to pursue acting career
Stage debut in "Paths of Glory" at Pasadena Playhouse
While student at Pasadena Playhouse (from 1937) appeared in over 50 stage productions
Signed contract with Hal Roach Studio; film debut in "The Housekeeper's Daughter". opposite Joan Bennett
Starred in "One Million B.C."
Broadway debut in the musical "Lady in the Dark"; played a movie star opposite Gertrude Lawrence
Signed long-term contract with 20th Century-Fox
Served with US Coast Guard, first in Atlantic Ocean, then Pacific
Delivered strong performance as Doc Holliday in John Ford's "My Darling Clementine"
Had what many consider his best role in the noir classic "Kiss of Death"
Hired to replace Tyrone Power in "Samson and Delilah"
"Retired" from acting
Returned to film acting spoofing his screen image in Vittorio De Sica's "Caccia alla Volpe/After the Fox"
Again spoofed his image as 'The Big Victor' in Bob Rafelson's "Head", starring The Monkees
Last feature film "Firepower"
Ran a television retail shop in the 1970s
Final acting assignment, played Samson's father in the ABC movie "Samson and Delilah"