“I chose to be the meanest SOB in the movies.” Dan Duryea once told Hedda Hopper.
From Broadway as a G-man in the original production of Dead End (1938) with David Gorcey, Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, and Billy Halop, to The Little Foxes (1939) with Tallulah Bankhead, Dan Duryea began achieving his ambition.
Catapulting from stage to screen in the Warner Bros. adaptation of The Little Foxes (1941) with Bette Davis, Dan appeared for three decades as villains in crime dramas and Westerns, often causing audiences to recoil at his depictions of mean-spirited sadists, cold-blooded crime bosses, or psychotic gunslingers. Even kids today enjoy him as an alcoholic gunfighter in “Mr. Denton on Doomsday” episode of The Twilight Zone (1939) and in his great comic performance in "Three Wives Too Many" on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1964).
Joseph Fusco’s richly researched illustrated biography reveals the true mild-mannered father of two sons and husband for thirty-six years that always lurked behind the scoundrels, connivers, murderers, and thieves Dan portrayed in dozens of films and television series.
Discover the man behind the myth.