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John Hodiak

Show Count: 20
Series Count: 3
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Old Time Radio
Born: April 16, 1914, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: October 19, 1955, Hollywood, California, USA

John Hodiak (April 16, 1914 – October 19, 1955) was an American actor who worked in radio, stage and film.

Early life

Hodiak was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Walter Hodiak (October 25, 1888 – August 21, 1962) and Anna Pogorzelec (February 28, 1888 – October 17, 1971). He was of Ukrainian and Polish descent. Hodiak grew up in Hamtramck, Michigan.

Acting career

Hodiak had his first theatrical experience at age 11, acting in Ukrainian and Russian plays at the Ukrainian Catholic Church. From the moment he first appeared on the stage, he resolved to become an actor. Hodiak was not even swayed when as a third basemanon his local high school baseball team, he was offered a contract with a St. Louis Cardinals farm club. He turned the offer down.

When Hodiak first tried out for a radio acting job, he was turned down because of his accent. He became a caddy at a Detroit golf course, then worked at a Chevrolet automobilefactory – and practiced his diction. When he conquered the diction hurdle, he became a radio actor and moved to Chicago. There Hodiak created the role of the comic strip character Li'l Abner on radio.

Hollywood career

After a short stint in the Army, Hodiak arrived in Hollywood in 1942 and signed a motion picture contract with MGM. He refused to change his name, saying, "I like my name. It sounds like I look."

Hodiak was cast in a few small parts at MGM. He then caught the eye of director Alfred Hitchcock and, on loan-out to 20th Century Fox, emerged as a major movie star in Lifeboat(1944) opposite Tallulah Bankhead. More big roles followed, notably that of Maj. Joppolo in A Bell For Adano (1945) opposite Gene Tierney.

Despite his success, in 1949, after a string of bad choices in film led to Hodiak being voted "box office poison" by exhibitors.

Broadway career

In 1953, Hodiak went to New York and made his Broadway debut in The Chase. The play was a failure, but its star received fantastic critical notices. He then originated the role of Lieutenant Maryk in Paul Gregory's production of the play The Caine Mutiny Court Martial by Herman Wouk adapted from his novel The Caine Mutiny. The play ran for two years and Hodiak's portrayal brought him nationwide acclaim.

When the show closed after its U.S. tour, Hodiak began work on Trial (1955) at MGM, playing the prosecuting attorney. When it wrapped, he played Major Ward Thomas in On the Threshold of Space (1956) at 20th Century Fox.

Personal life

Hodiak was married to actress Anne Baxter (married July 7, 1946) but divorced on January 27, 1953. They had one daughter, Katrina Hodiak (born July 9, 1951), who became an actress.

Death

At the age of 41, Hodiak suffered a fatal heart attack in the bathroom of the Tarzana, California, home he had built for his parents. He was shaving and getting ready to go to the studio to complete his scenes in On the Threshold of Space. It was later decided his performance was far enough along to release the movie. He is interred in Block 303, Crypt D-1, of the main mausoleum at Calvary Cemetery, Los Angeles.

Source: Wikipedia

Broadcast: 1939
Starring: John Hodiak
Added: Nov 22 2008
Broadcast: 1st December 1952
Added: Dec 13 2008
Broadcast: 17th December 1951
Starring: John Hodiak
Added: Dec 17 2005
Broadcast: 5th October 1944
Starring: John Hodiak
Added: Oct 11 2005
Broadcast: 19th January 1953
Added: May 08 2009
Broadcast: 28th September 1953
Added: Oct 02 2009
Broadcast: 8th April 1946
Added: Apr 07 2013
Broadcast: 17th June 1946
Added: Jun 29 2008
Broadcast: 16th March 1953
Added: Sep 18 2009
Broadcast: 12th May 1947
Starring: John Hodiak
Added: May 20 2010
Broadcast: 5th May 1947
Added: May 23 2011
Broadcast: 10th September 1945
Added: Sep 11 2008
Broadcast: 19th February 1945
Added: Mar 04 2012
Broadcast: 3rd December 1944
Added: Dec 10 2006