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Albert Dekker

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Also Known As: Albert Van Dekker, Albert Van Dekker Died: May 5, 1968
Born: December 20, 1905 Cause of Death: Accidental death by autoerotic asphyxiation
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor, director, lecturer, assemblyman

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A hard-working character actor, Albert Dekker had few opportunities to play the lead in a career that spanned four decades and amassed over 70 motion pictures. After spending a decade on stage in New York, Dekker made his way to Hollywood where he landed supporting parts in "The Great Commandment" (1939), "The Man in the Iron Mask" (1939) and "Strange Cargo" (1940). But it was his turn as the mad scientist in the camp classic "Dr. Cyclops" (1940) that brought him wider recognition, leading to larger roles in "Once Upon a Honeymoon" (1942), "In Old California" (1942) and "Wake Island" (1942). Following a brief stint in politics where he represented the 57th district in the California State Assembly, Dekker delivered his most memorable character turns in "The Killers" (1946), "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947), "East of Eden" (1955) and "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955). By the end of the 1950s, his film career began to wane, leading to a necessary switch to the small screen. Dekker found new life as a guest star on shows like "Mission: Impossible" (CBS, 1966-1973), "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (NBC, 1964-68) and "Bonanza" (NBC, 1959-1973). He returned to features with a small, but crucial supporting role in "The Wild...

A hard-working character actor, Albert Dekker had few opportunities to play the lead in a career that spanned four decades and amassed over 70 motion pictures. After spending a decade on stage in New York, Dekker made his way to Hollywood where he landed supporting parts in "The Great Commandment" (1939), "The Man in the Iron Mask" (1939) and "Strange Cargo" (1940). But it was his turn as the mad scientist in the camp classic "Dr. Cyclops" (1940) that brought him wider recognition, leading to larger roles in "Once Upon a Honeymoon" (1942), "In Old California" (1942) and "Wake Island" (1942). Following a brief stint in politics where he represented the 57th district in the California State Assembly, Dekker delivered his most memorable character turns in "The Killers" (1946), "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947), "East of Eden" (1955) and "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955). By the end of the 1950s, his film career began to wane, leading to a necessary switch to the small screen. Dekker found new life as a guest star on shows like "Mission: Impossible" (CBS, 1966-1973), "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (NBC, 1964-68) and "Bonanza" (NBC, 1959-1973). He returned to features with a small, but crucial supporting role in "The Wild Bunch" (1969), only to become the victim of a horrific accident when he was found in his bathtub following his death from autoerotic asphyxiation. His sordid death sparked rumors of foul play, though in the end it simply put an abrupt end to a productive but unremarkable career.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 The Wild Bunch (1969) Pat Harrigan
2.
 Come Spy With Me (1967) Walter Ludeker
3.
 Gammera the Invincible (1966) Secretary of defense
4.
 Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) Dr. Hockstader
5.
 The Wonderful Country (1959) Captain Rucker
6.
 The Sound and the Fury (1959) Earl Scopes
7.
 These Thousand Hills (1959) Conrad
8.
 Middle of the Night (1959) [Walter] Lockman
9.
 Machete (1958) Don Luis Montoya
10.
 She Devil (1957) Dr. Richard Bach
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1927:
Stage acting debut
1937:
Screen acting debut

Education

Bowdoin College: Brunswick , Maine -

Contributions

albatros1 ( 2007-09-27 )

Source: Wikipedia The Internet Encyclopedia

Albert Dekker (December 20, 1905 – May 5, 1968) was an American character actor best known for his roles in Dr. Cyclops, The Killers, and The Wild Bunch. He is sometimes credited as Albert Van Dekker or Albert van Dekker. Born Albert Van Ecke in Brooklyn, New York, he adopted his mother's maiden name of Dekker as his stage name. Dekker attended Bowdoin College, and made his professional acting debut with a Cincinnati stock company in 1927. Within a few months, Dekker was featured in the Broadway production of Eugene O'Neill's play, Marco Millions. After a decade's worth of theatrical appearances, Dekker transferred to Hollywood in 1937, and made his first film, 1937's The Great Garrick. He spent most of the rest of his acting career in the cinema, but from returned to the stage from time to time. He replaced Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman in the original production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, and during a five-year stint back on Broadway in the early 1960s, he played the Duke of Norfolk in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons. Dekker appeared in some seventy films from the 1930s to 1960s, but his three most famous screen roles were as a mad scientist in the 1940 horror film, Dr. Cyclops, as a vicious hitman in the The Killers, and as an unscrupulous railroad detective in Sam Peckinpah's western, The Wild Bunch. Dekker's role as Pat Harrigan in The Wild Bunch would be the actor's last screen appearance. Dekker's off-screen preoccupation with politics led to his winning a seat in the California State Assembly for the 57th Assembly District in 1944. Dekker served as a Democratic member for the Assembly during the McCarthy era, and became an outspoken critic of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy's tactics. Dekker served as an Assemblyman until 1946. On April 4, 1929, Dekker married actress Esther Guernini. The couple had two sons and a daughter before divorcing. In 1967, the couple's 16-year-old son, Jan, died of an accidental but self-inflicted gunshot wound. At the time of his death, Dekker was engaged to actress Geraldine Saunders. On May 5, 1968, after attempting to reach Dekker for three days, his fiancé, Geraldine Saunders went to the actor's home. There were numerous messages and notes attached to his door from other concerned friends. Saunders got the apartment manager to open the door, and discovered the Dekker's body in the bathtub. Dekker was kneeling nude in the bathtub, a noose around his neck and a scarf was tied over his eyes. A horse’s bit was in his mouth, fashioned from a rubber ball and metal wire, two leather straps were stretched between the leather belts that girded his neck and chest. A third belt, around his waist, was tied with a rope that stretched to his ankles. The end of the rope was found wrapped around his wrist several times and was held in Dekker’s hand. Handcuffs clamped both wrists with a key attached. Dekker also had sexually explicit writings and drawings, written in red lipstick, on various parts of his body. Dekker had been dead for several days. Reports surfaced that Dekker was the victim of a robbery gone wrong due to a great deal of cash and electronic equipment was found to be missing from his apartment, but there was no evidence to support this. Police also theorized that Dekker was a closet homosexual who practiced his eccentricities discreetly with anonymous male prostitutes. Police attempted to attribute Dekker's death to a mishap with a hustler who left the actor dying or dead after something went wrong. Police made inquiries, but Dekker had no reputation among male hustlers and Dekker's friends denied the accusations. Other theories of a murder made to look like a suicide arose but were never proven. Albert Dekker's death was eventually ruled accidental. The coroner determined that Dekker accidentally asphyxiated himself while attempting autoerotic asphyxia. Dekker was cremated in East Los Angeles, California, and his remains were shipped to the Garden State Crematory in New Jersey.

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