The Actor with the 3-D Name
Interview by Michael Barnum
Video WatcHDog No. 143 Sept. 2008
Did you have other opportunities to use your singing talents professionally?
I made a couple of cuts for Italian TV or arias from TOSCA and OTHELLO; I have no idea what happened to them. The most fun I had singing was when I used to come back to Frisco and Sacramento in the summer season to do musical comedy; MY FAIR LADY, PAINT YOUR WAGON, WISH YOU WERE HERE, THE PAJAMA GAME, OKLAHOMA, KISMET, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, etc. I think I did that for about six years.
How did you come to work on the John Wayne film CAST A GIANT SHADOW ?
I think it was in 1963. I had done a small role in the 20th Century Fox film, GIDGET GOES TO ROME. I was dubbing the part one day, and the future production coordinator of CAST A GIANT SHADOW just happened to stop by to see our director, who was a friend. I played a US embassy marine in the Gidget thing, and he said they needed GI types for various bit parts and would I like to stop over to meet [director] Melville Shavelson. So, bright and early the next morn, I hopped on my 650 Triumph and rode out into a country village where they were filming a scene with the Duke. A couple of days later, we spent the day shooting a scene where a bell tower German sniper starts sniping, and Duke shouts, "Hey, Lt. Whatever-my-name-was, get that SOB." I did a couple of "Yes, sirs!," spent the day with the Duke, who I already knew from LA - and, as usual, got cut from the film.
[Director Shavelson ended up writing a book about the making of CAST A GIANT SHADOW, and a review of it can be read here: http://www.tabletmag.com/arts-and-culture/1234/a-fine-mess/.]