Hurd Hatfield


Actor
Hurd Hatfield

About

Also Known As
William Rukard Hurd Hatfield
Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
December 07, 1917
Died
December 25, 1998

Biography

An extremely handsome leading man, Hurd Hatfield rose to fame when eccentric director Albert Lewin tapped him to play the title role in "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945), based on the Oscar Wilde novel about a dandy who retains his youth while his portrait reflects the aging process. The actor had trained at England's Michael Chekhov Studio and had earned some notoriety on the Broadway...

Biography

An extremely handsome leading man, Hurd Hatfield rose to fame when eccentric director Albert Lewin tapped him to play the title role in "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945), based on the Oscar Wilde novel about a dandy who retains his youth while his portrait reflects the aging process. The actor had trained at England's Michael Chekhov Studio and had earned some notoriety on the Broadway stage before he was brought to Hollywood and cast in support of Katharine Hepburn and Walter Huston in "Dragon Seed" (1944). His starring role the following year divided critics, with some praising his personification of evil while others called him stiff and expressionless. In either case, Hatfield had the kind of role that should have propelled him to stardom, but somehow, his career foundered. He acquitted himself well as Judith Anderson's rebellious son in "The Diary of a Chambermaid" (1946) but was virtually overshadowed as the chaplain advising Ingrid Bergman's "Joan of Arc" (1948).

Hatfield spent much of the 1950s on stage, making the occasional film appearance (e.g., "The Left-Handed Gun" 1958). In 1961, he was memorable in the small but pivotal role of Pontius Pilate in George Stevens' biblical epic "King of Kings." During the early 60s, Hatfield also appeared in several "Hallmark Hall of Fame" productions, earning an Emmy nomination as Rothschild in "The Invincible Mr. Disraeli" (NBC, 1963). He lent the proper air of sangfroid to his portrayal of Paul Bern opposite Carol Lynley as "Harlow" (1965) and was also quite good in an extended cameo as a sex deviant suspected of being "The Boston Strangler" (1968).

While his work since the 70s has been sporadic, Hatfield has remained busy. He offered a fine portrait of a thinly-veiled Maxwell Perkins in the 1979 CBS TV-movie "You Can't Go Home Again" and returned to the big screen as Ahimelech in the biblical "King David" (1985). He followed with a turn as the hospitalized grandfather of the trio of sisters in "Crimes of the Heart" (1986) and in support of Paulina Porizkova and Tom Selleck in "Her Alibi" (1989), both directed by Bruce Beresford. The still handsome actor also appeared with "Dorian Gray" co-star Angela Lansbury on her series "Murder, She Wrote" and continued to make public appearances and act on stage into the 1990s.

Life Events

1939

Stage acting debut in "The Lower Depths" at Chekhov Studio in England

1939

Broadway debut, "The Possessed"

1944

Film acting debut in "Dragon Seed"

1945

Chosen by Albert Lewin to star in title role of "The Picture of Dorian Gray"

1949

Returned to Broadway in "The Ivy Green"

1955

Spent a season with the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut

1956

Last Broadway role, Father Grigoris in "The Lowers"

1961

Acted role of Pontius Pilate in "King of Kings"

1963

Earned Emmy nomination for supporting turn as Rothschild in "The Invincible Mr. Disraeli" (an NBC installment of "Hallmark Hall of Fame")

1965

Portrayed Paul Bern to Carol Lynley's "Harlow"

1968

Offered memorable turn as a sex deviate in "The Boston Strangler"

1971

Acted in "Thief", an ABC TV-movie

1975

Portrayed John Church in "The Rebel" episode of "Benjamin Franklin" (CBS)

1979

Played book editor Fohall Edwards, a fictionalized version of Maxwell Perkins, in the CBS TV-movie "You Can't Go Home Again"

1985

Had supporting role in biopic "King David"

1986

Played Old Grandaddy in "Crimes of the Heart"

1988

Last film (to date) "Her Alibi"

1991

Had featured role in "Lies of the Twins" (USA Network)

Photo Collections

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), starring George Sanders and Hurd Hatfield. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

Beginning Or The End, The (1947) - Just Another Bomb Jonathan Hale resembles Vannevar Bush, whom he plays, consulting FDR (Godfrey Tearle) about the need for atomic research, whose call across the pond causes fictional Brits Chisolm (Richard Haydn) and Wyatt (Hurd Hatfield) to proceed to Chicago, in The Beginning Or The End, 1947.
Unsuspected, The (1947) - We Could All Be Murderers Probably the first appearance of Claude Raines as radio sleuth Grandison, on the air as we meet various characters, Michael North, Jack Lambert in a famous shot from director Michael Curtiz, then Fred Clark, Hurd Hatfield and Audrey Totter, early in The Unsuspected, 1947.
Picture of Dorian Gray, The (1945) - Look at Yourself Still from the opening scene, Lord Henry (George Sanders) dropping in on painter Basil (Lowell Gilmore) and his handsome model (Hurd Hatfield, title character), young Gladys (Carol Diane Keppler) inspiring a fateful wish and the first color insert, in The Picture Of Dorian Gray, 1945.
Picture of Dorian Gray, The (1945) - This Curious Cat Secretly degenerate Dorian (Hurd Hatfield) explains about the cat and would-be protege Sybil (Angela Lansbury) makes a choice that will disappoint him, in writer-director Albert Lewin's The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1945, from the Oscar Wilde story.
Left Handed Gun, The (1958) - You Can't Shoot A Sheriff Paul Newman as Billy the Kid seems overly thrilled by the calliope, after the burial of his new boss, bouncing off Southerner Moultrie (Hurd Hatfield) and lawman Garrett (John Dehner), then frightening pals Tom and Charlie (James Best, James Congdon), in Arthur Penn’s, The Left Handed Gun, 1958.
Picture of Dorian Gray, The (1945) - Opening, Lord Henry Opening sequence and the introductory narration from Lord Henry (George Sanders), the de facto voice of author Oscar Wilde, in director Albert Lewin's The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1945, starring Hurd Hatfield.
Picture of Dorian Gray, The (1945) - Sibyl Vane London, 1886, Dorian discovers entertainer Sibyl Vane (Hurd Hatfield and Angela Lansbury, who became lifelong friends), performing "Goodbye Little Yellow Bird," at The Two Turtles in The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1945, from the Oscar Wilde novel.
Picture of Dorian Gray, The (1945) - Moral Leprosy The big reveal (technically a "spoiler") in writer-director Albert Lewin's treatment of Oscar Wilde's famous story, Dorian (Hurd Hatfield) shows artist Basil (Lowell Gilmore) the degeneration of his painting, George Sanders narrating, in The Picture Of Dorian Gray, 1945.
Diary Of A Chambermaid, The (1946) - I've Had It Madame (Judith Anderson) has sexy new maid Celestine (Paulette Goddard) dolled up as a ploy to keep just-returned tubercular son Georges (Hurd Hatfield) from leaving home again, in Jean Renoir's The Diary Of A Chambermaid, 1946, screenplay by Goddard's husband and co-star Burgess Meredith.

Trailer

Family

William Henry Hatfield
Father
Adele Steele Hatfield
Mother

Bibliography