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Wendell Corey

from the trailer for The Search (1948)
Born Wendell Reid Corey
March 20, 1914(1914-03-20)
Dracut, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died November 8, 1968 (aged 54)
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor/Politician
Years active 1942–1968
Spouse(s) Alice Wiley (?-1968) (his death) 4 children

Wendell Reid Corey (March 20, 1914 – November 8, 1968) was an American actor and politician.

He was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, the son of Milton Rothwell Corey (October 24, 1879 – October 23, 1951) and Julia Etta McKenney (April 11, 1882 – June 16, 1947). His father was a Congregationalist clergyman. Wendell was educated in Springfield.

Corey began his acting career on the stage, doing a number of productions in summer stock. While appearing with a Works Progress Administration theatre company in the late 1930s, he met his future wife, Alice Wiley. Corey and Wiley had one son and three daughters, Jonathan, Jennifer, Bonnie Alice, and Robin.

His Broadway debut was in Comes the Revelation (1942). After appearing in a number of supporting roles, he scored his first hit as a cynical newspaperman in Elmer Rice's comedy Dream Girl (1945). While appearing in the play, Corey was seen by producer Hal Wallis, who persuaded him to sign a contract with Paramount and pursue a motion picture career in Hollywood.

His movie debut was playing a gangster in Desert Fury (1947) starring John Hodiak, Lizabeth Scott, and Mary Astor. Corey appeared in Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster, and a year later as Janet Leigh's fiancé in the Robert Mitchum romantic comedy Holiday Affair. He starred opposite Stanwyck in The File on Thelma Jordon (1950), and opposite Joan Crawford in Harriet Craig, which was released the same year. His other movies include Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, with Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr, The Big Knife (1955) starring Jack Palance, Ida Lupino and Shelley Winters, The Rainmaker (1956) starring Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn and Loving You (1957) starring Elvis Presley and Lizabeth Scott.

He starred with Casey Walters in the weekly television programs Harbor Command (1957-1958). Thereafter, he co-starred with in The Nanette Fabray Show (1961), and in the lead role in the medical drama, The Eleventh Hour (1962-1963). With Nanette Fabray, Corey played a widower who married Fabray's character. Bobby Diamond also starred in the short-lived series. In The Eleventh Hour, Corey appeared as Dr. Theodore Bassett, co-starring with Jack Ging in the role of psychologist Paul Graham. In the second season of The Eleventh Hour, however, Corey was replaced by Ralph Bellamy, who assumed the role of psychiatrist Richard Starke.

Corey also made guest star appearances on a number of programs, including Target: The Corruptors!, Channing, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Untouchables, Burke's Law, Perry Mason, The Road West, and The Wild Wild West.

Corey served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1961 to 1963 and was a member of the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild. A Republican campaigner in national politics since 1956, Corey was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in April 1965. The conservative politician ran for the California seat in the United States Congress in 1966, but lost the primary election. He was still a councilman at the time of his death.

He died at age fifty-four at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, of cirrhosis of the liver as a result of alcoholism. He is interred in Washington Cemetery in Washington, Massachusetts.

Wendell Corey has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in TV at 6328 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.


Year Title Role
1947 Desert Fury Johnny Ryan
1948 I Walk Alone Dave
The Search Jerry Fisher
Sorry, Wrong Number Doctor Alexander
Man-Eater of Kumaon Dr. John Collins
1949 The Accused Lt. Ted Dorgan
Any Number Can Play Robbin Elcott
Holiday Affair Carl Davis
1950 The File on Thelma Jordon Cleve Marshall
No Sad Songs for Me Brad Scott
The Furies Rip Darrow
Harriet Craig Walter Craig
1951 The Great Missouri Raid Frank James
Rich, Young and Pretty Jim Stauton Rogers
The Wild Blue Yonder Capt. Harold Calvert
1952 The Wild North Constable Pedley
Carbine Williams Capt. H.T. Peoples
My Man and I Ansel Ames
1953 Jamaica Run Todd Dacey
1954 Hell's Half Acre Chet Chester
Laughing Anne Capt. Davidson
Year Title Role
1954 Rear Window Det. Lt. Thomas J. "Tom" Doyle
1955 The Big Knife Smiley Coy
The Killer Is Loose Leon Poole
The Bold and the Brave Fairchild
The Rack Maj. Sam Moulton
The Rainmaker Deputy Sheriff J.S. File
1957 Loving You Walter "Tex" Warner
1958 The Light in the Forest Wilse Owens
1959 Alias Jesse James T.J. "Jesse" James
1964 Blood on the Arrow Clint Mailer
1966 Agent for H.A.R.M. Jim Graff
Broken Sabre Major Whitcomb
Women of the Prehistoric Planet Adm. David King
Waco Preacher Sam Stone
Picture Mommy Dead Clayborn
Cyborg 2087 Sheriff
1967 Red Tomahawk Sy Elkins
1968 Buckskin Rep Marlowe
The Star Maker Paul Lemont
1969 The Astro-Zombies Holman

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