Actor. Born to Frederick, a Broadway stage manager, and Eugenia, a stage actrees in Brooklyn, New York; he made his Broadway debut in 1950's ‘The Member of the Wedding.' He stayed with the show for over a year, winning the prestigious Donaldson Award for his performance; the first child actor to do so. He went on to repeat his role in the film version of the play in 1952. In 1953 he was cast as Joey in the classic western, ‘Shane.' His memorable performance earned him an Academy Award nomination. He starred in his own television series, ‘Jamie,' during the 1953-1954 season. He then made a successful transition to teenaged roles in 1959's ‘Blue Denim,' ‘All Fall Down' in 1961, ‘Hud' in 1963, and ‘In Harm's Way' opposite John Wayne in 1965. With the help of his friend Gram Parsons, DeWilde attempted to start a music career and invited Parsons and his band to back him in a recording session. His last film appearances were in ‘The Deserter' in 1971 and ‘Black Jack' in 1972. He was in a theatre production of 'Butterflies are Free' until the show's end on July 1, 1972. DeWilde was driving to Colorado General Hospital to visit his wife, who had recently undergone surgery, when he crashed his camper van on West 6th Avenue in Lakewood, Colorado. He was fatally injured in the accident and passed away soon after arriving at the hospital. Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons later co-wrote a song, ‘In My Hour of Darkness,' about DeWilde. He was originally buried in California, but his family later moved his grave to Farmingdale, New York, near their Long Island home.
Bio by: Iola
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