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Sterling Hayden - Star of the Month
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Sterling Hayden Profile

A handsome, virile star of the late 1940s and 50s, Sterling Hayden spent several years at sea before signing with Paramount in 1940, appearing in two films with future wife Madeleine Carroll. Variously touted by the studio publicity machine as "The Most Beautiful Man in Movies" or "The Beautiful Blond Viking God", the actor broke his contract in 1941 to join the Marines.

During WWII, he assisted the Yugoslavian partisans fight against the Germans and briefly joined the Communist Party in 1946 (resigning after six months) before resuming his acting career the following year. Shortly after his superb performance in The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Hayden was gray-listed and was unable to work in Hollywood for six months. He then privately called on the FBI to make a statement concerning his former Communist affiliations, but was subpoenaed by HUAC in 1951 and obliged to testify in public, naming his fellow believers.

After the HUAC hearings, Hayden was allowed to continue working, though he expressed his guilt over having "named names" in his 1966 autobiography, Wanderer. Ironically, in Stanley Kubrick's classic comedy Dr. Strangelove (1963), Hayden played the deranged General Jack D. Ripper, whose over-zealous desire to stop the "communist threat" sets World War III in motion. Among his other memorable roles were the gunfighter turned pacifist in Johnny Guitar (1954) opposite Joan Crawford, Texas hero Jim Bowie in an epic about the Alamo (The Last Command, 1955), air traffic controller Captain Martin Treleaven in the much parodied Zero Hour! (1957), the corrupt police captain in The Godfather (1972) and the chairman of the board in the comedy 9 to 5 (1980). He rounded out his career portraying John Brown in the CBS Civil War miniseries The Blue and the Gray (1982).

Biographical data supplied by TCMdb

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