John Howard (April 14, 1913 – February 19, 1995) was an American actor noted for his work in both film and television.
Born John Richard Cox, Jr. in Cleveland, Ohio, he was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of what is now Case Western Reserve University. At college he discovered a love for the theater, and took part in student productions.
The good-looking and personable young Howard soon became a contract player for Paramount, working in a dozen pictures before getting his first memorable role as Ronald Colman's younger brother in Lost Horizon. He soon took over for Colman in the popular Bulldog Drummond series of films, starring in seven of the features (1937–39), and maintaining the film version of the detective as far more sophisticated than the original print character. Howard's next noteworthy assignment was as Katharine Hepburn's fiancée in The Philadelphia Story (1940), competing for her attention with both Cary Grant and James Stewart.
He served in the Navy during World War II, eventually as Executive Officer aboard a minesweeper USS YMS-24 where he participated in landing operations at Sicily, Salerno, Anzio, and deception operations against Sardinia and Southern France. When his vessel struck a mine off the French coast in August, 1944, killing the captain and severely damaging the ship, Howard took over command and fought valiantly to save his ship and crew, even jumping into the sea to save several wounded sailors. For his gallantry he was awarded both the US Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre.
Return to actingEdit
Upon his return to Hollywood, Howard was given the lead in lesser projects, but limited to supporting roles in feature pictures. Even his solid performance as Laraine Day's husband in The High and the Mighty (1954) did not generate any opportunities to break the pattern.
Howard wasn't familiar or comfortable with the new system of agents, contrary to his acting upbringing of being owned by Paramount studios. A shy and modest man, Howard didn't have the assertiveness expected in an audition, and wasn't comfortable "selling himself" to a film. Between his shyness and not having an assertive agent, Howard's big screen acting career tapered out but he found a niche in television.
Howard made his Broadway debut in Hazel Flagg in 1953, where he met his wife, ballerina/actress Eva Ralf.
Howard then played the lead in two American television series Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal and later Adventures of the Sea Hawk in 1957.
He found a great friendship with Fred MacMurray, star of My Three Sons, and was a regular guest star on the show, playing Fred MacMurray's boss. He became one of the first screen actors to commit to working in the new field of television and continued to make occasional film appearances until the mid-1970s. Early in 1961, he guest starred as Captain Chilcoath in the episode "Rebellion at Blazing Rock" of the 17-week NBC series, The Americans, a dramatization of how the American Civil War divided many families.
Career change to educationEdit
In time, Howard moved into academia. He taught English at Highland Hall Waldorf School for more than twenty years and helped to start the high school program at the institution.
He died in 1995 of heart failure, aged 81, in Santa Rosa, California, survived by his wife and their four children. He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
|Valiant Is the Word for Carrie||1936||Paul Darnley|
|Lost Horizon||1937||George Conway|
|Hitting a New High||1937||Jimmy James|
|The Man from Dakota||1940||Lt. Oliver Clark|
|The Texas Rangers||1940||James Kingston aka Pecos Kid||Lead|
|The Philadelphia Story||1940||George Kittredge|
|The Invisible Woman||1940||Richard Russell|
|The Mad Doctor||1941||Gil Sawyer|
|Tight Shoes||1941||Jimmy Rupert||Lead|
|Father Takes a Wife||1941||Frederic Osborne Junior|
|Three Girls About Town||1941||Tommy Hopkins|
|A Tragedy at Midnight||1942||Greg Sherman||Lead|
|The Man Who Returned to Life||1942||David Hampton Jameson/George Bishop||Lead|
|Submarine Commander||1942||Commander Chris Warren||Lead|
|Isle of Missing Men||1942||Merrill Hammond||Lead|
|The Undying Monster||1942||Oliver Hammond|
|Love from a Stranger||1947||Nigel Lawrence|
|I, Jane Doe||1948||William Hilton|
|The Fighting Kentuckian||1949||Blake Randolph|
|Make Haste to Live||1954||Josh Blake|
|The High and the Mighty||1954||Howard Rice|
|Capone||1975||Warden J. Johnston||last film|
- Wise, James. Stars in Blue: Movie Actors in America's Sea Services. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997. ISBN 1557509379 OCLC 36824724
- John Howard at the Internet Movie Database
- John Howard at the Internet Broadway Database
- John Howard at the TCM Movie Database
- John Howard at Find a Grave
- John Howard at Virtual History
- Navy Cross citation http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=19917
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