Mar. 10, 1986 Torrance Los Angeles County California, USA
Actor, Director and Producer of movies and television. He is best remembered for his role of alcoholic writer "Don Birnem" in the film "The Lost Weekend" (1945), for which he won his only Oscar for Best Actor. He was also the first actor not to have spoken a single word during his acceptance speech, preferring to simply bow his appreciation before casually walking to the stage exit. Born Reginald Truscott-Jones in Neath, Wales, Great Britain, he took his stage name from the mill lands area around the town. Following schooling, he initially served three years as a guardsman with the Royal Household Cavalry, in London, England, then began his film career in British films in 1929 in the film, "The Plaything" (1929). After several roles in Britain, he set out in 1930 for Hollywood, where he mostly played second lead roles for several years. Charming and debonair, he was just one of many English actors in Hollywood during the 1930s and early 1940s, and his roles reflected just that – solid acting but nothing outstanding until his 1945 role in "The Lost Weekend." A book loving homebody, he normally stayed away from the glitter of Hollywood, and was rarely mentioned in the gossip columns. In September 1932, he married Malvina Warner, who remained with him for his entire life, an unusual record for Hollywood. After his success in 1945, great roles still continued to evade him, even though he can be seen in a number of excellent movies, including "The Big Broadcast of 1937" (1936), "The Jungle Princess" (1936), "Beau Geste" (1939), and "I Wanted Wings" (1941). He played opposite such stars as Dorothy Lamour and Claudette Colbert. In the 1960s, he is remembered for such horror films as ""The Premature Burial" (1962), "Panic in the Year Zero" (1962), "The Man with the X-ray Eyes" (1963), "The Thing with Two Heads" (1972), "The House in Nightmare Park" (1973), and "Terror in the Wax Museum" (1973). Starting in 1955, he directed himself in several films, with surprising proficiency, but the films failed to make him successful. He also directed and produced several television shows, and was considered a solid and capable director and producer. His last film was "The Sea Serpent" (1986), after which his declining health forced him to retire. A long time cigarette smoker, he died of lung cancer in Torrance, California, at the age of 81. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)
Photos may be scaled. Click on image for full size.
In Memory of an under appreciated actor/director. Thank you for your work in films that I can and do enjoy to this day. May God Bless and Comfort those you have left behind to mourn your passing - Rest in Eternal Heavenly peace. -
m.g. Added: Apr. 23, 2016