Ralph Bellamy

BirthDay:

17 Jun 1904

BirthPlace:

Chicago, Illinois, USA

BirthName:

Ralph Rexford Bellamy

Bio:

Ralph Bellamy was a veteran actor who was so well-liked and respected by his peers that he was the recipient of an honorary Oscar in 1987 for his contributions to the acting profession.

Ralph Rexford Bellamy was born June 17, 1904 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Lilla Louise (Smith), originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and Charles Rexford Bellamy, who had deep roots in New England. Bellamy began his career as a player right out of high school in 1922, joining a traveling company that put on Shakespearean plays. For the next five years he appeared with stock companies and repertory theaters associated with the Chautauqua Road Co., which brought culture to the hinterlands. He not only learned his craft but by 1927 wound up owning his own theatrical troupe. Two years later he made his Broadway theatrical debut in "Town Boy" (29 years later he would win a Tony Award).

Bellamy made the first of his over 100 films in 1933, appearing as a gangster in The Secret Six (1931). While he never became a major star or played many leads in "A" pictures, he made a career out of playing second-leads in major productions before developing into a character actor. In his heyday he typically played a rich but dull character who is jilted by the leading lady (he won his only Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actor, for just such a role in the 1937 comedy The Awful Truth (1937), in which he lost Irene Dunne to Cary Grant). He also specialized in redoubtable detectives who always find their man (he starred as Ellery Queen in a series of four "B" movies) and as slightly sinister yet stylish villains (such typecasting reaching its apogee with his turn as the not-so-kindly doctor in the horror classic Rosemary's Baby (1968)).

Bellamy's greatest role was as Franklin D. Roosevelt in Dore Schary's play "Sunrise at Campobello," for which he won a 1958 Best Actor-Dramatic Tony Award. He also reprised his portrayal of Roosevelt in Schary's 1960 movie adaptation of his play Sunrise at Campobello (1960), which brought his co-star Greer Garson a Golden Globe award and a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for playing Eleanor Roosevelt.

To play F.D.R. and show his struggle with the onset of polio, Bellamy studied up on Roosevelt as both man and politician, gaining an insight into the future president's psyche. Like Method actors Marlon Brando and Jon Voight, who prepared for their portrayals of paraplegic war veterans in the movies The Men (1950) and Coming Home (1978) by living in veterans hospitals with paraplegics, Bellamy tried to understand the trauma that F.D.R. underwent and the challenges he faced. Bellamy spent a considerable amount of time at a rehabilitation center learning how to master leg braces, crutches and a wheelchair to increase the verisimilitude of his portrayal of Rosevelt. So successful was his portrait of Roosevelt that he was called upon a generation later to recreate F.D.R. for the blockbuster TV miniseries War and Remembrance (1988) (ironically, Voight himself would later play F.D.R. in the movie Pearl Harbor (2001)).

Bellamy also had a prolific career on television, beginning with his 1948 debut in The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse (1948). He starred in one of the first TV police shows, Man Against Crime (1949), which was on the air from 1949-54, and later had roles in several other TV series, including The Eleventh Hour (1962), The Survivors (1969) and The Most Deadly Game (1970). He also appeared in countless TV-movies and tele-plays, and was three times nominated for an Emmy Award.

Known as a champion of actors' rights, Bellamy was one of the founders of the Screen Actors Guild, and also served four terms as President of Actors' Equity from 1952 to 1964. He took office during some of the darkest days of McCarthyism, but positioned Actors' Equity and thus, the Broadway theater to the left of Hollywood by resisting blacklisting. Many of those blacklisted in Hollywood found homes in the theater. Under Bellamy, Actors Equity established standards to protect members against charges of Communist Party membership or "exhibiting left-wing sympathies". (One of the charges levied against legendary stage and film director Elia Kazan, including Rod Steiger at the time Kazan received an honorary Oscar, was that he should have defied the House Un-American Activities Committee and not have named names because he could have remained employed in the theater even if he had been blacklisted in Hollywood.)

Under Bellamy's leadership, Actor's Equity managed to double its assets within the first six years of his presidency and was successful in establishing the first pension fund for actors. It was for his services to the acting community that he was the recipient of an honorary Academy Award in 1987.

Ralph Bellamy died on November 29, 1991 in Santa Monica, California. He was 87 years old.
Filmography

Actor ( 193 credits )

Ninja the Mission Force (2012)  Ninja Scientist (archive footage) (1 episode, 2012)
Special Collector's Edition (2010)  Randolph Duke (1 episode, 2012)
Cinemassacre's Monster Madness (2007)  Colonel Paul Montford / ... (archive footage) (2 episo
Boston Legal (2004)  Denny's Father (uncredited) (1 episode, 2007)
100 Years of Horror (1996)  Himself / ... (4 episodes, 1996)
Pretty Woman (1990) James Morse
Christine Cromwell (1989)  Cyrus Blain (4 episodes, 1989-1990)
The Good Mother (1988) Grandfather
Coming to America (1988) Randolph Duke
Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) Mr. Gower (segment "Titan Man")
Disorderlies (1987) Albert Dennison
Biography (1987)  Ralph Duke (uncredited) (1 episode, 1999)
Matlock (1986)  Sen. Lambert Crawford (2 episodes, 1987)
L.A. Law (1986)  August Redding (1 episode, 1988)
The Twilight Zone (1985)  Emile Francis Bendictson (segment "Monsters!") (1 epis
American Masters (1985)  Himself - Actor, 1988 Interview (1 episode, 2004)
Trading Places (1983) Randolph Duke
Hotel (1983)  Jake Cabot / ... (3 episodes, 1985-1986)
Walking Tall (1981)  Jim Clausen (1 episode, 1981)
Aloha Paradise (1981)  Horace (2 episodes, 1981)
Condominium (1980)  Lee Messenger (2 episodes, 1980)
Having Babies (1978)  Dr. Franklin (1 episode, 1978)
Oh, God! (1977) Sam Raven
Fantasy Island (1977)  Dr. Arthur Gates (2 episodes, 1980-1982)
The Love Boat (1977)  Arnold Hamilton / ... (2 episodes, 1981-1984)
Westside Medical (1977)  Everett Meade (2 episodes, 1977)
Hunter (1976)  Harold Baker (12 episodes, 1977)
Good Morning America (1975)  Himself (1 episode, 1979)
Medical Story (1975)  Dr. Marshak (1 episode, 1975)
Little House on the Prairie (1974)  Dr. Marvin Haynes (1 episode, 1983)
Dinah! (1974)  Himself (1 episode, 1975)
Cancel My Reservation (1972) John Ed
The Bob Newhart Show (1972)  Alan Dreesen (1 episode, 1977)
Doctors' Wives (1971) Jake Porter
Cannon (1971)  Benjamin Holbrook (1 episode, 1976)
Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law (1971) (1 episode, 1973)
The Most Deadly Game (1970)  Ethan Arcane (13 episodes, 1970-1971)
Medical Center (1969)  Dr. Bycroft (1 episode, 1975)
The Immortal (1969)  Dr. Matthew Pearce (1 episode, 1969)
The Survivors (1969)  Baylor Carlyle (10 episodes, 1969)
Rosemary's Baby (1968) Dr. Sapirstein
The Invaders (1967)  Morgan Tate (1 episode, 1967)
The Joey Bishop Show (1967)  Himself (2 episodes, 1968)
CBS Playhouse (1967)  Father (1 episode, 1968)
The Professionals (1966) Grant
The Wolfman (1966) Col. Montford (archive footage)
Hollywood My Home Town (1965) Himself (archive footage)
The F.B.I. (1965)  Captain Jennerson / ... (2 episodes, 1966-1968)
Run for Your Life (1965)  Cal Phillips (1 episode, 1967)
Seaway (1965)  Captain Folsom (1 episode, 1965)
12 O'Clock High (1964)  Commodore Leon Crompton (1 episode, 1967)
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (1963)  Dr. Charles Chapman (1 episode, 1967)
The Virginian (1962)  Jeremiah (1 episode, 1968)
The Eleventh Hour (1962)  Dr. L. Richard Starke (32 episodes, 1962-1964)
Dr. Kildare (1961)  Dr. L Richard Starke (1 episode, 1963)
The Dick Powell Theatre (1961)  Judge Hansen (1 episode, 1961)
Alcoa Premiere (1961)  Dr. Richard Meredith / ... (2 episodes, 1963)
Golden Showcase (1961)  Mr. Halevy (1 episode, 1962)
I 10 del Texas (1961) (archive footage)
Sunrise at Campobello (1960) Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Checkmate (1960)  Governor Tom Barker (1 episode, 1961)
The Barbara Stanwyck Show (1960)  Dobson (1 episode, 1960)
Here's Hollywood (1960)  Himself (1 episode, 1961)
Rawhide (1959)  Judge Quince / ... (2 episodes, 1961-1965)
The Bell Telephone Hour (1959)  Himself - Host / ... (2 episodes, 1960-1965)
The DuPont Show with June Allyson (1959)  Willard Mitchell (1 episode, 1961)
Sunday Showcase (1959)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 1959-1960)
Our American Heritage (1959)  Thomas Jefferson
Frontier Justice (1958)  Host (9 episodes, 1961)
Suspicion (1957)  Detective Thorpe (1 episode, 1957)
Overseas Press Club - Exclusive! (1957)  Col. Andy Morgan / ... (2 episodes, 1957)
Playhouse 90 (1956)  Eddie Hanneman / ... (2 episodes, 1956)
To Tell the Truth (1956)  Himself - Panelist / ... (67 episodes, 1957-1962)
Zane Grey Theater (1956)  Joel Todd (1 episode, 1956)
The Dinah Shore Chevy Show (1956)  Dr. Alec Harvey (1 episode, 1961)
The Kaiser Aluminum Hour (1956)  Nat Hanson (1 episode, 1957)
Man Against Crime (1956) (1 episode, 1956)
The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955) Congressman Frank R. Reid
Gunsmoke (1955)  Sheriff Bassett (1 episode, 1967)
Screen Directors Playhouse (1955)  Dr. Martin Kelog (1 episode, 1956)
The Alcoa Hour (1955)  Dutch Scranton (1 episode, 1957)
Playwrights '56 (1955)  John Hinks (1 episode, 1956)
Star Stage (1955) (1 episode, 1956)
Climax! (1954)  Damon Runyon / ... (3 episodes, 1956-1957)
Studio 57 (1954)  Steve (1 episode, 1957)
The Elgin Hour (1954)  Walter (1 episode, 1954)
General Electric Theater (1953) (1 episode, 1955)
The United States Steel Hour (1953)  David Durfee / ... (4 episodes, 1954-1957)
Person to Person (1953)  Himself (1 episode, 1956)
Today (1952)  Himself (1 episode, 1965)
Death Valley Days (1952)  Daniel Quint (1 episode, 1962)
I've Got a Secret (1952)  Guest Host (1 episode, 1955)
The Ford Television Theatre (1952)  David Ewing / ... (2 episodes, 1956)
Schlitz Playhouse (1951)  Joe McQuade (1 episode, 1956)
Goodyear Playhouse (1951)  Hank Patten (3 episodes, 1955-1956)
The Colgate Comedy Hour (1950)  Himself - Actor (1 episode, 1953)
What's My Line? (1950)  Himself - Mystery Guest / ... (5 episodes, 1952-1960)
Your Show of Shows (1950)  Himself - Guest Performer (1 episode, 1950)
The Ken Murray Show (1950)  Himself (1 episode, 1951)
Man Against Crime (1949)  Mike Barnett (122 episodes, 1949-1954)
Double Barrelled Sport (1948) Narrator
The Ed Sullivan Show (1948)  Himself (1 episode, 1951)
Studio One in Hollywood (1948)  Walter Preston / ... (3 episodes, 1955-1957)
The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse (1948)  Porter / ... (4 episodes, 1948-1956)
Kraft Theatre (1947) (1 episode, 1957)
Seeds of Destiny (1946) Narrator (voice)
Library of Congress (1945) Narrator
Lady on a Train (1945) Jonathan Waring
Delightfully Dangerous (1945) Arthur Hale
Guest in the House (1944) Douglas Proctor
Stage Door Canteen (1943) Ralph Bellamy
The Great Impersonation (1942) Sir Edward Dominey / Baron Leopold von Ragenstein
Men of Texas (1942) Major Lamphere
Lady in a Jam (1942) Stanley Gardner
The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) Erik Ernst
The Wolf Man (1941) Colonel Paul Montford
Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring (1941) Ellery Queen
Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime (1941) Ellery Queen
Dive Bomber (1941) Lance Rogers
Affectionately Yours (1941) Owen Wright
Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery (1941) Ellery Queen
Footsteps in the Dark (1941) Dr. R.L. Davis
Ellery Queen, Master Detective (1940) Ellery Queen
Meet the Wildcat (1940) Lt. Brad Williams
Public Deb No. 1 (1940) Bruce Fairchild
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) Steve Adams
Queen of the Mob (1940) Agent Scott Langham
Brother Orchid (1940) Clarence Fletcher
Flight Angels (1940) Bill Graves
His Girl Friday (1940) Bruce Baldwin
Coast Guard (1939) Lt. Raymond 'Ray' Dower
Blind Alley (1939) Dr. Anthony Shelby
Let Us Live (1939) Police Lt. Everett
Smashing the Spy Ring (1938) John Baxter
Trade Winds (1938) Ben Blodgett
Girls' School (1938) Michael Hendragin
Carefree (1938) Stephen Arden
Boy Meets Girl (1938) C. Elliott Friday
Fools for Scandal (1938) Phillip Chester
The Crime of Doctor Hallet (1938) Dr. Paul Hallet
Breakdowns of 1938 (1938) Philip Chester (Fools for Scandal outtakes) (uncredited
The Awful Truth (1937) Daniel Leeson
Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 12 (1937) Ralph Bellamy
It Can't Last Forever (1937) Russ Matthews
Let's Get Married (1937) Kirk Duncan
Counterfeit Lady (1936) Johnny Pierce
Wild Brian Kent (1936) Brian Kent
The Man Who Lived Twice (1936) Dr. James Blake / 'Slick' Rawley
Straight from the Shoulder (1936) Curt Hayden
The Final Hour (1936) John Vickery
Roaming Lady (1936) Daniel S. 'Dan' Bailey
Screen Snapshots Series 15, No. 7 (1936) Himself
Dangerous Intrigue (1936) Tony Halliday
Hands Across the Table (1935) Allen Macklyn
Navy Wife (1935) Dr. Quentin Harden
The Healer (1935) Dr. Holden
Air Hawks (1935) Barry Eldon
Eight Bells (1935) Steve Andrews
The Wedding Night (1935) Fredrik Sobieski
Gigolette (1935) Terry Gallagher
Rendezvous at Midnight (1935) Commissioner Robert Edmonds
Helldorado (1935) J.F. Van Avery
Woman in the Dark (1934) John Bradley
Girl in Danger (1934) Inspector Steve Trent
One Is Guilty (1934) Police Inspector Steve Trent
The Crime of Helen Stanley (1934) Inspector Steve Trent
This Man Is Mine (1934) Jim Dunlap
Spitfire (1934) George Fleetwood
Once to Every Woman (1934) Dr. Barclay
Before Midnight (1933) Inspector Steve Trent
Ever in My Heart (1933) Jeff
Ace of Aces (1933) Capt. / Maj. Blake
Blind Adventure (1933) Jim Steele
Headline Shooter (1933) Hal Caldwell
Flying Devils (1933) 'Speed' Hardy
The Narrow Corner (1933) Eric Whittenson
Picture Snatcher (1933) McLean
Destination Unknown (1933) Stowaway
Below the Sea (1933) Steve McCreary
Parole Girl (1933) Joseph B. 'Joe' Smith
Second Hand Wife (1933) Carter Cavendish
Air Mail (1932) Mike Miller
Wild Girl (1932) Jack Marbury
Almost Married (1932) Deene Maxwell
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1932) Dr. Ladd
The Woman in Room 13 (1932) John Bruce
Young America (1932) Judge Blake
Disorderly Conduct (1932) Captain Tom Manning
Forbidden (1932) Holland
Surrender (1931) Captain Ebbing
West of Broadway (1931) Mac - the Ranch Foreman
The Magnificent Lie (1931) Bill Childers
The Secret Six (1931) Johnny Franks