Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

Lavish Lizard

Once Upon A Time In Old Hollywood

A Few Promising Stars That Fizzled Fast

3 min read

George Hamilton, Richard Davalos, and John Derek. George Hamilton had a log career, more as a B actor by the mid 60’s and into the 1970’s; but came up hot as a real great promising new comer with some roles in the early 60’s that should have sent his career into orbit, with Act One the Story about Moss Hart. Which should have garnered him more serious dramatic roles during the swinging 60’s.

Richard Davalos should have for sure had the biggest start. Getting the plumb role opposite James Dean in East Of Eden. He did some very forgettable films right after, with a ton of live TV with things like The Kraft Theater, and Matinee Theater.

Richard Davalos career pretty much went no where after East Of Eden, and then about 12 years later he turns up in Paul Newman’s Cool Hand Luke with a few lines, and a little screen time.

John Derek’s claim to fame was pretty much his marriage to Bo Derek. This actor was long washed up , when they hooked up. He was a major acting prospect on the mid 1940’s, beginning his career working with some real old Hollywood legends like Humphrey Bogart in 1949’s Knock On Any Door. This was Derek’s big break out role, and it was a decent hit.

He was not William Holden, Montgomery Clift nor Marlon Brando. It was extremely hard for guys like Derek to get the roles these heavy weights were being offered. Such as Sunset Boulevard, A Place In The Sun, or A Street Car Named Desire.

Davalos and James Dean East Of Eden

After Saturdays Hero for Derek. Which was pretty goodI say it on late night TV somewhere. All his other roles went south, with largely forgettable’s. The Family Secret, The Last Posse, Sea Of Lost Ships, and other duds like Mission Over Korea, and The Outcast. Then The Ten Commandments came a long great film, but he was berried with in a huge ensemble cast with lots of stars, from Edward G Robinson to Yvonne DeCarlo.

John Derek had 11 directorial efforts all non existent films, and 40 acting credit. Sadly Derek who had such a promising career crashed and burned very quickly, but not as bad as Davalos. George Hamilton had a long career, and is the only actor out of these three who is still with us. He found new fame as Colonel Sanders in the KFC commercials.

Love At First Bite, Via Kenievel, Zoro The Gay Blade, and a supporting role in Burt Reynold’s The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. These films kept Hamilton current, and with a decent pay check, but a guy with his good looks. George Hamilton was not getting 3 Days Of The Condor, The Conversation, a roles in Jaws.

He was not being cast in Nashville, The Last Picture Show, and so on. The technology of the era was not kind to these probably fairly good actors. We now have an era of so much more TV programming, with cable and an abundant stations. like Showtime, HBO, and the Amazons, with Netflix. Breaking through, and staying consistent is hard as an actor, back in the golden Hollywood era. These guy were in a tough field out of the gate with a combo of old old Hollywood, and the new method that was emerging. In their short windows they were fun to watch.

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