Wendell Reid Corey (March 20, 1914 – November 8, 1968) was an American actor and politician.
Life and career
He was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, the son of Milton Rothwell Corey (October 24, 1879 – October 23, 1951) and Julia Etta McKenney (April 11, 1882 – June 16, 1947). His father was a Congregationalist clergyman. Wendell was educated in Springfield.
Corey began his acting career on the stage, doing a number of productions in summer stock. While appearing with a Works Progress Administrationtheatre company in the late 1930s, he met his future wife, Alice Wiley. Corey and Wiley had one son and three daughters, Jonathan, Jennifer, Bonnie Alice, and Robin.
His Broadway debut was in Comes the Revelation (1942). After appearing in a number of supporting roles, he scored his first hit as a cynical newspaperman in Elmer Rice's comedy Dream Girl (1945). While appearing in the play, Corey was seen by producer Hal Wallis, who persuaded him to sign a contract with Paramount and pursue a motion picture career in Hollywood.
His movie debut came as a gangster in Desert Fury (1947) starring John Hodiak, Lizabeth Scott, and Mary Astor. Corey appeared in Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster, and a year later as Janet Leigh's fiancé in the Robert Mitchum romantic comedyHoliday Affair. He co-starred with Stanwyck twice more in 1950 in The File on Thelma Jordon and The Furies, and also opposite Joan Crawford inHarriet Craig, which was released the same year.
Corey's memorable roles include that of police Lt. Thomas Doyle in Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. He appeared in The Big Knife (1955) starring Jack Palance, Ida Lupino and Shelley Winters, The Rainmaker (1956) starring Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn and Loving You (1957) starring Elvis Presley and Lizabeth Scott.
He starred with Casey Walters in the television series Harbor Command (1957–1958), co-starred on The Nanette Fabray Show (1961), and had the lead role in the medical drama The Eleventh Hour (1962–1963). With Fabray, Corey played a widower who married Fabray's character. Bobby Diamond also starred in the short-lived series. In The Eleventh Hour, Corey appeared as Dr. Theodore Bassett, co-starring with Jack Ging in the role of psychologist Paul Graham. In the second season of The Eleventh Hour, however, Corey was replaced by Ralph Bellamy, who assumed the role of psychiatrist Richard Starke.
Corey made guest appearances on a number of programs, including Target: The Corruptors!, Channing, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Untouchables, Burke's Law, The Road West, and The Wild Wild West. He made a guest appearance during the final season of Perry Mason in 1966 as Jerome Klee in "The Case of the Unwelcome Well."
Corey served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1961 to 1963 and was a member of the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild. A Republicancampaigner in national politics since 1956, Corey was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in April 1965. The conservative politician ran for the California seat in the United States Congressin 1966, but lost the primary election. He was still a councilman at the time of his death.
He died at age fifty-four at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, of cirrhosis of the liver as a result of alcoholism. He is interred in Washington Cemetery inWashington, Massachusetts.
Wendell Corey has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in TV at 6328 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.