John Derek

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John Derek
John Derek - still.jpg
c. 1956
BornDerek Delevan Harris
(1926-08-12)August 12, 1926
Hollywood, California, U.S.
DiedMay 22, 1998(1998-05-22) (aged 71)
Santa Maria, California, U.S.
Cause of death
cardiovascular disease
OccupationActor, director, cinematographer, screenwriter, editor, producer
Years active1943–1990
Spouse(s)Pati Behrs
(1951-1957)
Ursula Andress
(1957-1966)
Linda Evans
(1968-1974)
Bo Derek
(1976-1998; his death)
Children2; Russell, Sean
ParentsLawson Harris (father)
 
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John Derek
John Derek - still.jpg
c. 1956
BornDerek Delevan Harris
(1926-08-12)August 12, 1926
Hollywood, California, U.S.
DiedMay 22, 1998(1998-05-22) (aged 71)
Santa Maria, California, U.S.
Cause of death
cardiovascular disease
OccupationActor, director, cinematographer, screenwriter, editor, producer
Years active1943–1990
Spouse(s)Pati Behrs
(1951-1957)
Ursula Andress
(1957-1966)
Linda Evans
(1968-1974)
Bo Derek
(1976-1998; his death)
Children2; Russell, Sean
ParentsLawson Harris (father)

John Derek (August 12, 1926 – May 22, 1998) was an American actor, director and photographer.[1] He appeared in such films as Knock on Any Door, All the King's Men, and Rogues of Sherwood Forest, but was probably best known for marrying glamorous starlets and for launching the meteoric career of his last wife, Bo Derek.

Early life[edit]

Derek was born Derek Delevan Harris in Hollywood, California, the son of actor/director Lawson Harris and actress Dolores Johnson. His striking[citation needed] good looks got him attention in the film capital, and he was being groomed for a movie career by David O. Selznick when he was drafted in 1944, and saw service in the Philippines during the last days of World War II.

Movie career[edit]

After the war, Derek approached Humphrey Bogart, who renamed him John Derek and cast him as Nick (Pretty Boy) Romano, an unregenerate killer, in Knock on Any Door, a socially conscious 1949 melodrama. Derek was recognized as a talented newcomer, "plainly an idol for the girls," as Bosley Crowther put it in a review for The New York Times.[2]

Derek followed that picture with a supporting role as the son of Broderick Crawford in All the King's Men, the Best Picture Oscar winner of 1949. He played leads in Fury at Showdown, and as Robin Hood in Rogues of Sherwood Forest (1950) with Alan Hale. He also appeared as Joshua in The Ten Commandments (1956). But he found himself featured increasingly as a hero or villain in a string of unimpressive B-movies—crime melodramas, westerns, pirate pictures and costume dramas.[2]

Unsatisfied with his career as an actor, Derek turned to film directing. He directed second wife Ursula Andress in two movies, and third wife Linda Evans in one. But his best known work as a director are the films he made with fourth wife, Bo Derek (she appeared in four of his movies).[3] The 1990 film Ghosts Can't Do It was his last in the director's chair.[4] An accomplished photographer, Derek photographed the last three of his four wives (at different times) for nude spreads in Playboy magazine.

Personal life[edit]

John Derek and Bo Derek with Chandran Rutnam.

Derek was married to Russian-born prima ballerina Pati Behrs from 1951 to 1957. The couple had two children together, Russell and Sean Catherine.[3] Derek then married Swiss-American actress Ursula Andress in 1957 and were married until 1966. In 1968, he married American television actress Linda Evans but divorced in 1974. His last marriage was to Bo Derek in 1976 and lasted until his death in 1998.

Death[edit]

John Derek died from cardiovascular disease in Santa Maria, California at the age of 71.[5] His remains were cremated.[6]

Filmography[edit]

As actor[edit]

Features:

Short Subjects:

As director[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "John Derek." The New York Times. Retrieved: August 12, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Maltin 1994, p. 224.
  3. ^ a b Maltin 1994, p. 225.
  4. ^ "John Derek: Director." IMDb. Retrieved: May 18, 2013.
  5. ^ Donnelley 2005, p. 177.
  6. ^ "Beau Derek." People magazine. Retrieved: November 17, 2008.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Donnelley, Paul. Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries. London: Omnibus Press, 2005. ISBN 1-84449-430-6.
  • Maltin, Leonard. "John Derek". Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia. New York: Dutton, 1994. ISBN 0-525-93635-1.

External links[edit]