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Rory Calhoun 1922-1999

Country : Los Angeles, CA
Profession : Actor
Date of birth : 1922-08-08
Date of death : 1999-04-28
Cause of Death : Emphysema

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Rory Calhoun (August 8, 1922 – April 28, 1999) was an American television and film actor, screenwriter, and producer best known for his roles in Westerns.

Early life

Born Francis Timothy McCown in Los Angeles, California, Calhoun was raised in Santa Cruz, California. When he was nine months old, his father died. After his mother remarried, he occasionally used the last name of his stepfather, Durgin. At the age of thirteen, his theft of a revolver landed him in the California Youth Authority's Preston School of Industry reformatory at Ione, Ca. He escaped while in the adjustment center (jail within the jail) and never told how he managed it. After robbing several jewelry stores, he stole a car and drove it across state lines. This offense sent him to the federal penitentiary in Springfield, Missouri, for three years. When he finished his sentence, he was incarcerated in San Quentin on other charges and remained there until he was paroled just before his twenty-first birthday.


After his release from San Quentin, Calhoun worked several odd jobs. In 1943, while horseback riding in the Hollywood Hills, he met actor Alan Ladd, whose wife was an agent. Sue Carol Ladd landed him a one-line role in the Laurel and Hardy comedy The Bullfighters under the name Frank McCown. Shortly after, the Ladds hosted a party to which Sue invited David O. Selznick employee Henry Willson, an agent known for his stable of young, attractive, marginally talented actors with unusual names. Willson signed him to a contract and initially christened him Troy Donahue, then changed his name to Rory Calhoun. As he did with all his protégés, Willson carefully groomed him and taught him basic social manners.

Calhoun's first public appearance in the film capital was as Lana Turner's escort to the premiere of Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945), a Selznick production. The glamorous blonde and her swarthy date drew the attention of the papparazzi, and photos of the couple appeared in several newspapers and fan magazines. Selznick loaned his now in-demand contract player to other studios, where Calhoun appeared in Adventure Island with Rhonda Fleming, The Red House with Edward G. Robinson, and That Hagen Girl with Shirley Temple.

Calhoun's career gained momentum and he appeared in several westerns, musicals, and comedies including Way of a Gaucho with Gene Tierney, With a Song in My Heart with Susan Hayward, How to Marry a Millionaire, and River of No Return with Marilyn Monroe.

Willson maintained careful control over his rising star, arranging his social life and nixing his engagement to French actress Corinne Calvet.

In 1955, Willson disclosed information about Calhoun's years in prison to Confidential magazine in exchange for the tabloid not printing an exposé about the secret homosexual life of Rock Hudson, another Willson client. The disclosure had no negative effect on Calhoun's career and only served to solidify his bad boy image. Shortly after the story was published, Rachel and the Stranger was released and became a top box office attraction.

In 1958, Calhoun starred in CBS's The Texan, a western series that ran on Monday evenings until 1960. On March 26, 1959, he appeared as himself in the episode "Rory Calhoun, The Texan" of the CBS sitcom December Bride starring Spring Byington in the title role, then in its last season of production. While filming The Texan, Calhoun began to produce episodes and would continue to produce and write screenplays throughout his career. After The Texan was canceled, he continued to appear in both television and film throughout the 1970s and 1980s including Thunder in Carolina, Rawhide, Gilligan's Island, Hawaii Five-O, Alias Smith and Jones, Starsky and Hutch, and Motel Hell. In 1982, Calhoun had a regular role on the soap opera Capitol. He stayed with the series until 1987.

His final role was that of grizzled family patriarch and rancher Ernest Tucker in the 1992 film Pure Country.

Personal life

Calhoun was married twice and had four daughters, three with Lita Baron, whom he divorced in 1970, and one with journalist Sue Rhodes (1971–1999).

Calhoun died in Burbank, California at the age of 76 from complications resulting from emphysema and diabetes.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Calhoun has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7007 Hollywood Blvd. and a second star at 1750 Vine Street for his work in television.

Calhoun's second cousin is popular Canadian sports talk show host Bob McCown (host of Prime Time Sports on the Fan 590 Radio and nation wide on Rogers Sportsnet).


  • Where Do We Go from Here? (1945)
  • The Great John L. (1945)
  • Nob Hill (1945)
  • Miraculous Journey (1948)
  • Massacre River (1949)
  • Sand (1949)
  • A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950)
  • Return of the Frontiersman (1950)
  • County Fair (1950)
  • Rogue River (1951)
  • I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)
  • Meet Me After the Show (1951)
  • With a Song in My Heart (1952)
  • Way of a Gaucho (1952)
  • The Silver Whip (1953)
  • Powder River (1953)
  • How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
  • River of No Return (1954)
  • The Yellow Tomahawk (1954)
  • Dawn at Socorro (1954)
  • A Bullet Is Waiting (1954)
  • Four Guns to the Border (1954)
  • Ain't Misbehavin' (1955)
  • The Looters (1955)
  • The Treasure of Pancho Villa (1955)
  • The Spoilers (1955)
  • Raw Edge (1956)
  • Red Sundown (1956)
  • Flight to Hong Kong (1956)
  • Utah Blaine (1957)
  • The Big Caper (1957)
  • The Hired Gun (1957)
  • Domino Kid (1957)
  • Ride Out for Revenge (1957)
  • The Saga of Hemp Brown (1958)
  • Apache Territory (1958)
  • Thunder in Carolina (1960)
  • Marco Polo (1961)
  • The Colossus of Rhodes (1961)
  • The Treasure of Monte Cristo (1961)
  • Face in the Rain (1963)
  • The Gun Hawk (1963)
  • The Young and the Brave (1963)
  • Young Fury (1965)
  • Finger on the Trigger (1965)
  • Black Spurs (1965)
  • Apache Uprising (1966)
  • Our Men in Bagdad (1966)
  • Operation Delilah (1967)
  • Operation Cross Eagles (1968)
  • The Girl of the Nile (1969)
  • Las Virgenes de la nueva ola (1969)
  • Night of the Lepus (1972)
  • Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
  • Mule Feathers (1977)
  • Mission to Glory: A True Story (1977)
  • Love and the Midnight Auto Supply (1977)
  • Bitter Heritage (1979)
  • Revenge of Bigfoot (1979)
  • The Main Event (1979)
  • Smokey and the Judge (1980)
  • Runnin' Hot (1980)
  • Motel Hell (1980)
  • Angel (1984)
  • Avenging Angel (1985)
  • Hell Comes to Frogtown (1987)
  • Roller Blade Warriors: Taken by Force (1989)
  • Bad Jim (1990)
  • Pure Country (1992)


  • Climax! (1 episode, 1955)
  • Ford Television Theatre (3 episodes, 1954-1955)
  • Schlitz Playhouse of Stars (1 episode, 1958)
  • Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (1 episode, 1959)
  • The Dick Powell Show (1 episode, 1963)
  • Bonanza (1 episode, 1964)
  • The Virginian (1 episode, 1964)
  • Burke's Law (1 episode, 1965)
  • Wagon Train (2 episodes, 1961-1965)
  • Gunsmoke (1 episode, 1965)
  • I Spy (1 episode, 1966)
  • Death Valley Days (2 episodes, 1963-1966)
  • Gilligan's Island (1 episode, 1967)
  • Custer (1 episode, 1967)
  • Lancer (1 episode, 1970)
  • The Doris Day Show (1 episode, 1972)
  • Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law (1 episode, 1972)
  • Police Story (1 episode, 1973)
  • Hec Ramsey (1 episode, 1973)
  • Petrocelli (1 episode, 1974)
  • Police Woman (1 episode, 1974)
  • Movin' On (1 episode, 1975)
  • Little Vic (1975) mini-series
  • Fantasy Island (1 episode, 1978)
  • The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (1 episode, 1981)
  • Hart to Hart (1 episode, 1982)
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1 episode, 1988)
  • Tales from the Crypt (1 episode, 1993)


  • The Hired Gun (1957)
  • Domino Kid (1957)
  • Apache Territory (1958)
  • The Texan
  • Fists of Steel (1991)


  • Shotgun (1955)
  • Domino Kid (1957)


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