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Ralph Meeker

Ralph Meeker

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Also Known As: Ralph Rathgeber Died: August 5, 1988
Born: November 21, 1920 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA Profession: actor, producer, stage manager

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Rugged, no-nonsense character actor (usually in action films) who made his screen debut in 1951; memorable as Mike Hammer in the Robert Aldrich classic, "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955).

Rugged, no-nonsense character actor (usually in action films) who made his screen debut in 1951; memorable as Mike Hammer in the Robert Aldrich classic, "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955).

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Without Warning (1980) Dave
2.
 Winter Kills (1979) Gameboy Baker
3.
4.
5.
 Hi-Riders, The (1978)
6.
 Food Of The Gods, The (1976) Bensington
7.
 Dead Don't Die, The (1975) Lieutenant Reardon
8.
 Brannigan (1975) Captain Moretti
9.
 Johnny Firecloud (1975)
10.
 Girl on the Late, Late Show, The (1974) Inspector Debiesse
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota
1924:
At age three, moved with family to Chicago (date approximate)
:
After graduating from Northwestern, enlisted in the US Navy; military service ended after a shipboard accident left him with a neck injury
1943:
Professional stage debut in small role of national touring company of "The Doughgirls" in Chicago
:
Toured in play "Up in Mabel's Room"
:
Appeared in a USO tour of Italy in "Ten Little Indians" during WWII
1945:
Moved to NYC
1945:
Broadway debut in "Strange Fruit", directed by Jose Ferrer
1946:
Served as assistant stage manager and bit player in "Cyrano de Bergerac", directed by and starring Jose Ferrer
1947:
Breakthrough stage role in "Mister Roberts"; also understudied Henry Fonda in lead role
1949:
Replaced Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire" on Broadway and later toured in the role opposite Judith Evelyn as Blanche
:
During 1950s, appeared frequently as guest performer on TV programs like "Kraft Television Theatre", "Goodyear Playhouse", "Studio One", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "Playhouse 90" and "The Loretta Young Show"
1951:
Feature film debut in "Teresa"
:
Put under contract by MGM
1953:
Appeared in the Western "The Naked Spur"
1953:
Returned to Broadway to star in "Picnic" by William Inge; acted opposite Janice Rule
:
Reportedly turned down opportunity to recreate stage role in film version of "Picnic" because he didn't want to sign long-term contract with Columbia Pictures
1955:
Portrayed Mike Hammer in "Kiss Me Deadly"
1955:
Starred in the pre-Broadway tour of "Top Man", co-starring Lee Remick; show opened in New Haven and closed in Philadelphia
1956:
Reunited with "Picnic" co-star Janice Rule in "A Woman's Devotion", helmed by actor Paul Henried
1957:
Once again appeared opposite Rule in the "Playhouse 90" production of "Four Women in Black"
1958:
Had pivotal role as one of three French soldiers sentenced to the firing squad in "Paths of Glory", directed by Stanley Kubrick
1958:
Was in Broadway production of "Cloud 7" opposite Martha Scott
1959:
Had lead role of a police detective in Hawaii in the syndicated TV series "Not for Hire"
1961:
Starred opposite Carroll Baker in "Something Wild"
1961:
Appeared on Broadway in Ionesco's "Rhinocerous"
1964:
Played featured role in the NYC premiere of Arthur Miller's play "After the Fall"; future wife Salome Jens co-starred
1965:
Final Broadway appearance, "Mrs. Dally" opposite Arlene Francis
1967:
Had co-starring turn in "The Dirty Dozen"
1968:
Played featured role in the NBC "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation "A Punt, a Pass, and a Prayer"
1970:
Was featured in the ABC movie "Lost Flight"
1971:
Acted in "The Anderson Tapes"
1972:
Co-starred in the ABC movie "The Night Stalker"
1977:
Last stage appearances in the L.A. production of David Rabe's "Streamers"
1978:
Made last TV appearance in an episode of "The Eddie Capra Mysteries" (NBC)
1980:
Final film, "Without Warning"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Leelanau School for Boys: Glen Arbor , Michigan -
Northwestern University: Evanston , Illinois - 1938 - 1942
Northwestern University: Evanston , Illinois - 1938 - 1942

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Salome Jens. Actor. Co-starred together in the stage production of "After the Fall" in NYC; married on July 20, 1964; divorced in 1966.
wife:
Colleen Meeker. Producer.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Ralph Rathgeber.
mother:
Magnhild Senovia Haavig Meeker Rathgeber.

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