John Benjamin Ireland (1914 - 1992)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Death: Died in Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Cause of death: leukemia
Occupation: Actor
Managed by: Tina
Last Updated:
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About John Benjamin Ireland

Canadian born actor John Ireland is best remembered for his role as Jack Burden, the hard-boiled newspaper reporter in All the King's Men (1949), for which he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. For his contribution to the television industry, John Ireland has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1610 Vine Street.

He was born on January 30, 1914 in Vancouver, British Columbia and raised in New York City from the age of 18. He started out in minor stage roles on Broadway. A tall, lean former professional swimmer who once performed in a water carnival, he appeared on Broadway and toured in Shakespeare in the late 1930s and early 40s before entering film in the mid-40s.

Ireland made his screen debut as Pvt. Windy, the thoughtful letter-writing GI, in the 1945 war film A Walk in the Sun. This was followed by Wake Up and Dream in 1946. A supporting actor in several notable Westerns including John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946) and Howard Hawks' 1948 film Red River (the scene between Ireland and Montgomery Clift, where they compare guns and take each other's measure by "walking" a can across the ground with their pistol shots, is a film classic. And a lead in small noirs like Railroaded (1947), Ireland was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his forceful performance as Jack Burden, the hard-boiled newspaper reporter who evolves from devotee to cynical denouncer of demagogue Willie Stark (Broderick Crawford) in All the King's Men (1949), making him the first Vancouver-born actor to receive an Academy Award nomination.

Occasionally his name was mentioned in tabloids of the times, in connection with much younger starlets, namely Natalie Wood, Barbara Payton and Sue Lyon. He attracted controversy by dating 16-year-old actress Tuesday Weld when he was 45.

A prolific performer in films and early TV, Ireland had made the transition to supporting roles by the mid-50s, playing cynical villains in films like Vengeance Valley (1951), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) and 55 Days at Peking (1962). He had a key role as the gladiator Crixus in the Stanley Kubrick 1960 spectacle Spartacus, co-starring with Kirk Douglas. And he starred as an innocent man on the run in the 1955 original Fast And The Furious. (available on DVD)

Despite critical acclaim and a cult following, it seems his movie career was somewhat limited by Hollywood’s inability to stereotype his distinctively craggy, hulking appearance.

From 1960–1962 he starred in the British television series The Cheaters, playing John Hunter, a claims investigator for an insurance company who tracked down cases of fraud. By the mid-60s, he was turning up as the star of B-movies such as I Saw What You Did.

In 1967 he appeared on Bonanza with Michael Landon in the episode "Judgement at Red Creek." A few years later he again appeared with Michael Landon on his series Little House on the Prairie as a drunk who saves Carrie Ingalls who had fallen down an abandoned mine shaft.

Ireland was seen in second-rate Italian productions like The House of the Seven Corpses (1974), Salon Kitty (1976) and Satan's Cheerleaders (1977). But he did also appear in big-budget fare such as The Adventurers (1970) and as a police lieutenant in the Robert Mitchum private-eye caper Farewell, My Lovely.

He was seen in the War of the Worlds episode "Eye for an Eye" in 1988.

Ireland regularly returned to the stage throughout his career and co-directed two features in the 1950s: the acclaimed western drama Hannah Lee (1953) and the carjacking B-movie Fast and the Furious. He was married to actresses Elaine Sheldon (Rosen)(1940–49)by whom he had two sons, John and Peter. Joanne Dru (1949–56), and Daphne Myrick Cameron (from 1962 until his death), with whom he had a daughter.

In his later years he owned a restaurant, Ireland's, in Santa Barbara, California.

He died of leukemia in 1992, aged 78.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ireland_%28actor%29

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