Saturday, July 10, 2010

I'm a Golfer

The rugged looking fellow above is one Victor Mature, and today is not his birthday, but after doing the math and sorting out that somehow I am going to come up short in the hero department, I decided to start looking for overlooked heroes. M. Mature falls directly into that category.

His actual birthday was January 13th, 1913, and he was born in Louisville, Kentucky. I looked back at my records, and realized that it is no shame that he was unable to unseat W.C. Fields as the hero of his actual birthday. He was born the son of a cutler of Italian heritage, and a mother of Swiss descent, Victor moved to California after finishing school in order to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. I guess, in some ways, his story is a tale of "some dreams do come true." After a couple of films, he did some service in World War II with the Coast Guard, then resumed his acting career with the film

I am currently watching, 1946's "My Darling Clementine" directed by John Ford. So, far it is a wonderful film, even if it does contain some serious historical "liberties." His major claim to fame is his roles in several films based on biblical themes. He credited his ability "to make with the holy look" to explain his success in these types of films. I have also watched his film debut in 1939's "The Housekeeper's Daughter" today, and though it was a bit part, I was impressed with his screen presence. His other role that makes him my hero of this day is as Lt. Candella in 1947's "Cry in the City." It is not a classic film (but could be considered classic film noir), but his role, and his presence make it worth seeing, which I have done more than once.

He was famous for his self-deprecation. He was once turned down for membership of a famous country club based on the fact that they did not accept actors, he replied "I'm not an actor, and I've got 64 films to prove it." He was notoriously fond of gold, and once said that "Actually I am a golfer. That is my real occupation. I was never an actor, ask anyone-particularly the critics." Well, I am not a golfer, nor an actor, but if Victor Mature was not an actor then the world is flat. So, for that wonderful ability to make with the holy look, and an awesome screen presence, Victor Mature (January 29th, 1913-August 4th, 1999, at the age of 86 of leukemia) you are my (321st) hero of the day.

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