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Brad Dexter

Brad Dexter

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Also Known As: Barry Mitchell, Boris Milanovich Died: December 11, 2002
Born: April 9, 1917 Cause of Death: pneumonia complications
Birth Place: Goldfield, Nevada, USA Profession: actor, producer, amateur boxer, meatpacker, newspaper vendor (at age seven), shoeshine boy

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A burly, handsome supporting player and occasional lead, Brad Dexter was often cast as villainous or menacing types in a variety of films starting with 1950's "The Asphalt Jungle". Of Serbian heritage, he was born Boris Milanovich in Nevada. Raised in poverty, Dexter began working as early as age seven in order to help support his parents. After stints as a shoeshine boy, meatpacker and amateur boxer, he studied acting at the famed Pasadena Playhouse. While serving in the military during WWII, he was cast in Moss Hart's stage show "Winged Victory", appearing under the stage name Barry Mitchell. Following other stage and radio roles, director John Huston spotted the hulking performer and cast him in "The Asphalt Jungle", for which he was newly christened Brad Dexter.The actor cut an imposing screen figure and not unlike the equally husky Raymond Burr was frequently cast as ne'er-do-wells as in 1952's "Macao". Not that he couldn't play the good guy, as he more or less did in "House of Bamboo" (1955). Although he remained a busy character player for much of the 1950s, Dexter seemed on the brink of breaking through when he kicked off the 60s with a starring role as one of the titular "The Magnificent...

A burly, handsome supporting player and occasional lead, Brad Dexter was often cast as villainous or menacing types in a variety of films starting with 1950's "The Asphalt Jungle". Of Serbian heritage, he was born Boris Milanovich in Nevada. Raised in poverty, Dexter began working as early as age seven in order to help support his parents. After stints as a shoeshine boy, meatpacker and amateur boxer, he studied acting at the famed Pasadena Playhouse. While serving in the military during WWII, he was cast in Moss Hart's stage show "Winged Victory", appearing under the stage name Barry Mitchell. Following other stage and radio roles, director John Huston spotted the hulking performer and cast him in "The Asphalt Jungle", for which he was newly christened Brad Dexter.

The actor cut an imposing screen figure and not unlike the equally husky Raymond Burr was frequently cast as ne'er-do-wells as in 1952's "Macao". Not that he couldn't play the good guy, as he more or less did in "House of Bamboo" (1955). Although he remained a busy character player for much of the 1950s, Dexter seemed on the brink of breaking through when he kicked off the 60s with a starring role as one of the titular "The Magnificent Seven" (1960). But while that film solidified or raised the profiles of his co-stars like Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson, Dexter remained a relatively unknown quantity. He shone in the supporting role of gangster Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel in the uninspired biopic "The George Raft Story" (1961) and a reteaming with Brynner in "Taras Bulba" (1962) but he was to become better known for his off screen associations than for his film work.

Dexter was a confidante of Marilyn Monroe and he reportedly attempted to intercede when the sex siren separated from baseball great Joe DiMaggio. He was also a pal of singer-actor Frank Sinatra but their relationship was complicated by the fact that in 1964 Dexter saved the singer from drowning. At the time, they were filming "None But the Brave" (1965) and later that same year, they appeared together in "Von Ryan's Express". Sinatra later hired Dexter to work at Artanis, the singer-actor's production company. The two parted company during the filming of "The Naked Runner" (1967). According to Dexter, the strain in their friendship began when Sinatra announced his intention to marry Mia Farrow and Dexter told him it wouldn't work. While shooting the film (which Dexter was producing), Sinatra proved temperamental and expressed his desire to leave the London location. Dexter held firm and when the star bolted, worked around his absence and completed the movie. Returning to L.A., he was informed he was fired from Sinatra's company.

Dexter continued to work as a producer (1970's "The Lawyer" which was the basis of the short-lived NBC's series "Petrocelli") and returned to acting in 1972's "Jory". Once again, though, the roles were hardly taxing, although he seemed to be having fun as a senator in "Shampoo" (1975) and as Alvin Karples in "The Secret Files of J. Edgar Hoover" (1977). By the 80s, he curtailed much of his activities, making only rare forays in the business such as producing the Karl Malden TV-movie "Skag" (NBC, 1980) and one last screen appearance in "Secret Ingredient" (1990).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Valentine (1979) Cosmo
3.
 Winter Kills (1979) 1st Captain Heller
4.
 House Calls (1978) Quinn
5.
6.
 Law and Order (1976) Patrolman Tierney
7.
 Vigilante Force (1976) Mayor
8.
 Shampoo (1975) Senator East
9.
 Jory (1972) Jack
10.
 Blindfold (1966) Harrigan
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in poverty in Nevada; began working at age seven to help support family
:
Was an amateur boxer
:
Served in the US Air Corps during WWII
:
Stage acting debut (as Barry Mitchell) in "Winged Victory"
1950:
Feature film debut, "The Asphalt Jungle", directed by John Huston; first credit as Brad Dexter
1955:
Co-starred with Robert Ryan and Robert Stack in "House of Bamboo"
1958:
Supported Burt Lancaster and Clark Gable in "Run Silent, Run Deep"
1960:
Portrayed Yul Brynner's pal in "The Magnificent Seven"
1961:
Cast as gangster Bugsy Siegel in "The George Raft Story"
1964:
Saved Frank Sinatra from drowning in Hawaii during the filming of "None But the Brave"
1965:
Co-starred with Sinatra in "None But the Brave" and "Von Ryan's Express"
:
Hired to work at Frank Sinatra's production company Artanis
1967:
Produced "The Naked Runner", starring Sinatra
1970:
Served as producer of "The Lawyer"
1972:
Returned to film acting in "Jory"
1975:
Appeared as a senator in "Shampoo"
1976:
TV-movie debut "Law and Order" (NBC)
1977:
Cast as Alvin Karples in "The Secret Files of J Edgar Hoover"
1978:
Acted in "House Calls"
1979:
Appeared in "Winter Kills"; last film for more than 10 years
1980:
Produced the TV-movie "Skag", starring Karl Malden
1990:
Last film (to date) "Secret Ingredient"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Pasadena Playhouse: Pasadena , California -

Notes

Some sources list Mr. Dexter's birthdate as May 13.

Not to be confused with the Canadian hockey player of the same name.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Peggy Lee. Singer, songwriter, actor.

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