Jeff Chandler


Jeff Chandler Famous memorial

Original Name Ira Grossel
Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Death 17 Jun 1961 (aged 42)
Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Main Mausoleum, Second Floor, Hall of Graciousness, Crypt 4015
Memorial ID 187 View Source

Actor, Singer. He is best remembered for playing the role of the legendary Native American Apache chief Cochise in "Broken Arrow" (1950), and for being one of Universal International's most popular male stars of the decade, with his sex appeal, prematurely gray hair, and ruggedly handsome tanned features. Born Ira Grossel to a Jewish family, his parents separated when he was a child and he was raised by his mother. After attending Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York and his father got him a job as a restaurant cashier. He aspired to become an actor but courses for commercial art were cheaper, so he studied art for a year and worked as a layout artist for a mail order catalogue. After saving up enough money to take a drama course at the Feagin School of Dramatic Art in New York City, New York, he worked briefly in radio, then got a job in a stock company on Long Island, New York as an actor and stage manager. He worked for two years in stock companies, acting in a performance of "The Trojan Horse". In 1941 he relocated to Illinois where he formed his own company, the Shady Lane Playhouse, touring the Midwest with some success before the US involvement in World War II. He served in the US Army for four years during the war, mostly in the Aleutian Islands, and was discharges at the rank of lieutenant. He then moved to Los Angeles, California and found work as a radio actor. He appeared on the radio show "Rogue's Gallery" with Dick Powell, who was impressed enough to give the him his first film role, a one-line uncredited part as a gangster in "Johnny O'Clock" (1947). He appeared in episodes of anthology drama series such as "Escape and Academy Award Theater" and became well known for playing the lead in the radio show "Michael Shayne" and bashful biology teacher 'Phillip Boynton' on "Our Miss Brooks". His performance in "Our Miss Brooks" brought him to the attention of executives at Universal Studios, who were looking for someone to play an Israeli leader in "Sword in the Desert" (1948). Upon being cast in that role, he impressed the studio so much he ended up being signed to Universal for a seven-year contract. In 1949 he was the first actor to portray 'Chad Remington' in the radio show "Frontier Town". His first movie under his new contract was "Abandoned" (1949), and then he was borrowed by 20th Century Fox Studios to play the role of Cochise in "Broken Arrow" (1950), that became a hit and earned him an Oscar nomination and establishing him as a star. He was the first actor nominated for an Academy Award for portraying a Native American. He later reprised the role of Cochise in "The Battle at Apache Pass" (1952) and in a cameo in "Taza, Son of Cochise" (1954). His success in "Broken Arrow" led to him being cast as a variety of nationalities from different historical periods, such as an Arab chief in "Flame of Araby" (1951) and a Polynesian in "Bird of Paradise" (1951). He also played an embittered Union cavalryman in "Two Flags West" (1950). In 1952 exhibitors voted him the 22nd most popular star in the US and he signed a new contract with Universal Studios. In 1954 he was placed on suspension by Universal for refusing to play the lead in "Six Bridges to Cross". During the latter part of the 1950s and into the early 1960s, he became a top leading man. Among the movies of this period are "Female on the Beach" (1955), "Foxfire" (1955), "Away All Boats" (1956), "Toy Tiger" (1956), "Drango" (1957), "The Tattered Dress" (1957), "Man in the Shadow" (1957), "A Stranger in My Arms" (1959), "The Jayhawkers!" (1959), "Thunder in the Sun" (1959), and "Return to Peyton Place" (1961). In 1957 he left Universal and signed a contract with United Artists. Having long desired to be an executive, he formed his own company, Earlmar Productions. He was due to star in "Operation Petticoat" (1959) but became ill and had to pull out. He later formed another production company, August, for which he made "The Plunderers" (1960), at Allied Artists. He had a brief concurrent career as a singer and recording artist, wrote music, performed in nightclubs, and released several albums for Liberty Records. In 1955 he became only the second star to play at the Riviera on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, after pianist/entertainer Liberace was the featured headliner but left after about three weeks to work on a movie. Shortly after completing his role in "Merrill's Marauders" in 1961 (released in 1962), he injured his back while playing baseball with US Army Special Forces soldiers who served as extras in the movie. After undergoing surgery for a spinal disc herniation in May 1961, a major artery was damaged and he hemorrhaged. In a seven-and-a-half-hour emergency operation over-and-above the original surgery, he was given 55 pints of blood. Another surgery followed where he received an additional 20 pints of blood and he died of surgical complications at the age of 42. His death was deemed malpractice and resulted in a large lawsuit and settlement for his children. During his career he appeared in almost 50 films.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 187
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Jeff Chandler (15 Dec 1918–17 Jun 1961), Find a Grave Memorial ID 187, citing Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .