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|Also Known As:||Died:||December 14, 1964|
|Born:||January 14, 1906||Cause of Death:||pneumonia and malnutrition|
|Birth Place:||New York City, New York, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor baseball player grocer|
A burly New York City native who specialized in playing all manner of lugs, both loveable and dangerous, William Bendix achieved a level of popularity that was almost unheard of for a character actor who proclaimed himself to be "about as handsome as a mud fence." After performing in some unsuccessful plays, he first gained significant notice in the Broadway smash "The Time of Your Life" (1939-1940). That soon led to a movie career, with Bendix appearing in everything from comedies like "Woman of the Year" (1942) and "Who Done It?" (1942), to World War II actioners and thrillers like "The Glass Key" (1942) and Alfred Hitchcock's "Lifeboat" (1944). Bendix's blustery delivery and enduring likeability found a perfect vehicle in the comedy "The Life of Riley," first on radio (ABC/NBC, 1944-1951), then as a 1949 motion picture and, finally, a long-running television series (NBC, 1953-58). Loveable lunkhead Chester A. Riley was the role for which he was best remembered and while the show's formula was mostly set in stone, Bendix's talent helped to keep it fresh and amusing. As was customary with actors who sported something less than matinee idol looks, Bendix was largely restricted to playing certain types of characters, but few did as memorable a job on such a consistent basis, and he ranked as one of TV's archetypal patriarchs.
albatros1 ( 2007-10-12 )
Source: Wikipedia The Internet Encyclopedia
William Bendix (January 14, 1906 – December 14, 1964) was an Academy Award-nominated American film actor. As a young boy, he was a batboy for the New York Yankees. Bendix was born in New York City, and made his film debut in 1942, having worked as a grocer until the Great Depression. He played in supporting roles in dozens of Hollywood films, usually as a soldier, gangster or detective. He started with appearances in film noir films including a memorable performance in The Glass Key (1942), which also featured Brian Donlevy and Veronica Lake. He soon gained more attention after appearing in Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944) as Gus, a wounded and dying American sailor. Bendix's other well-known movie roles include his portrayal of legendary baseball-player Babe Ruth in The Babe Ruth Story (1948) and Sir Sagramore opposite Bing Crosby in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949), in which he took part in the famous trio, "Busy Doing Nothing". He also played Nick the bartender in the 1948 film version of William Saroyan's The Time of Your Life. Bendix had also appeared in the stage version, but in the role of Officer Krupp (a role played on film by Broderick Crawford). Bendix was also well known in that era for his radio work, starring as "Chester A. Riley" in the radio situation comedy series The Life of Riley from 1944 through 1951. He also played the title role in the second television version of the series, which ran from 1953 to 1958 (Jackie Gleason played Riley in a short-lived 1949 version). William Bendix died in Los Angeles from lobar pneumonia aged 58 and was interred there in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery. He was married to Theresa Stefanotti from 1927 until his death. They had two children together.
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