William Hopper

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

William Hopper
William Hopper by Van Vechten.jpg
William Hopper in 1934, photo by Carl Van Vechten
BornDeWolf Hopper, Jr.
(1915-01-26)January 26, 1915
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 6, 1970(1970-03-06) (aged 55)
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Pneumonia
Resting place
Rose Hills Memorial Park
Other namesDeWolf Hopper, Jr.
Bill Hopper
William Dewolf Hopper
OccupationActor
Years active1916; 1936–1966; 1970
Spouse(s)Jane Gilbert (m. 1940; div. 1959)
Jeanette Juanita Ward (m. 1959–70)
Children1
ParentsHedda Hopper
DeWolf Hopper
 
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the American actor. For other uses, see William Hopper (disambiguation).
William Hopper
William Hopper by Van Vechten.jpg
William Hopper in 1934, photo by Carl Van Vechten
BornDeWolf Hopper, Jr.
(1915-01-26)January 26, 1915
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 6, 1970(1970-03-06) (aged 55)
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Pneumonia
Resting place
Rose Hills Memorial Park
Other namesDeWolf Hopper, Jr.
Bill Hopper
William Dewolf Hopper
OccupationActor
Years active1916; 1936–1966; 1970
Spouse(s)Jane Gilbert (m. 1940; div. 1959)
Jeanette Juanita Ward (m. 1959–70)
Children1
ParentsHedda Hopper
DeWolf Hopper

William Hopper (January 26, 1915 – March 6, 1970) was an American stage, film and television actor. Hopper is best remembered for playing private detective Paul Drake in more than 250 episodes of television's Perry Mason and for his role as the father of the Natalie Wood character in Rebel Without a Cause.

Early life[edit]

DeWolf Hopper, Jr. was born in New York City, the only child of singer and comic stage actor DeWolf Hopper (1858–1935) and actress and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (1885–1966). He had one older half-brother from his father's second marriage in the 1880s. Hopper made his film debut as a baby in his father's 1916 silent movie Sunshine Dad. His mother divorced his father in 1922 and moved to Hollywood with their son.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1942, served as a frogman,[1] and received a Bronze Star for bravery and heroic action during operations in the Pacific. He was discharged when the war ended in 1945.

Acting career[edit]

1930s–1940s[edit]

Hopper began his acting career as a teenager, working in summer stock in Ogunquit, Maine. He went from there to Broadway, where he appeared in two plays in 1934, Order Please and Romeo and Juliet.

Early in his film career, Hopper appeared uncredited in numerous movies or under the name DeWolf Hopper. In 1936, he played a small role as a photographer in the Columbia Pictures film The King Steps Out starring Grace Moore and Franchot Tone. In 1937 he portrayed the leading man in two films, Public Wedding with Jane Wyman and Over the Goal. He also enjoyed significant roles alongside Ann Sheridan in The Footloose Heiress (1937) and Mystery House (1938).

After that he had roles that included playing a sergeant in the Western Stagecoach (1939) starring Claire Trevor and John Wayne; an intern in The Return of Dr. X starring Humphrey Bogart; a New York reporter in Knute Rockne, All American (1940) starring Pat O'Brien, Gale Page, Ronald Reagan and Donald Crisp; a reporter in the post-Hollywood Production Code version of The Maltese Falcon (1941) starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor; and a reporter in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) starring James Cagney and Walter Huston. Reagan and Hopper appeared in nine films together between 1937 and 1942.

1950s–1970s[edit]

In the mid 1950s Hopper resumed his movie career with the part of Roy in The High and the Mighty (1954) starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Laraine Day, and Robert Stack. In 1956 Hopper had a supporting role in Wayne's production of Good-bye, My Lady.

Other appearances included his iconic role as the father of Natalie Wood in the James Dean classic Rebel Without a Cause (1955), as Robert Mitchum's ill-fated older brother Arthur in the William Wellman adventure Track of the Cat (1954), and as the often absent father Col. Kenneth Penmark in The Bad Seed (1956) also starring Nancy Kelly and Patty McCormack. Hopper, along with Joan Taylor and a very young Bart Braverman, starred in the classic Ray Harryhausen science fiction film 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957).

Also in 1957 he played a supporting role in the pilot episode of the television series The Restless Gun, which was broadcast as an episode of Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. His television guest appearances included the The Joseph Cotten Show, Gunsmoke, Fury, Studio 57, The Millionaire, and Schlitz Playhouse of Stars.

He made two movie appearances during his years on Perry Mason but retired after the television show ended in 1966. He made one final movie appearance as a judge, Frederic D. Cannon in Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge (1970) starring Raquel Welch, John Huston, Farrah Fawcett, Rex Reed, and Mae West.

Perry Mason[edit]

Hopper is best known for his regular role as the private investigator Paul Drake on CBS's courtroom television series Perry Mason (1957–1966) with Raymond Burr in the title role and Barbara Hale as secretary Della Street. He originally auditioned for the role of Perry Mason, and Raymond Burr auditioned for the role of Mason's rival, district attorney Hamilton Burger. After Burr was given the role of Perry Mason, Hopper was cast as Mason's friend and private detective, Paul Drake. In the 1959 episode, "The Case of Paul Drake's Dilemma," Hopper played the defendant, the only time in the series' nine-year run that Paul Drake was tried for murder.

In 1959, Hopper was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series for his performance as Paul Drake.

Personal life[edit]

In the mid to late 1930s, Hopper occasionally visited nightclubs with film actress Isabel Jewell. He married actress Jane Gilbert (née Kies), sister of the better-known Margaret Lindsay, in 1940; they had one daughter, Joan (born 1942); the couple divorced in 1959.

Shortly after his divorce, he married Jeanette Juanita Ward (August 9, 1929 - October 20, 2008) and became stepfather to her son, Gordon Casimire Williamsii (né Gordon Patrick Williams, July 5, 1957 - June 15, 2013).[2] Jeanette died on October 20, 2008, of cardiac arrest from atherosclerosis in El Monte, California.

Although self-published Entertainment Celebrities is credited with claiming that actor Dennis Hopper was his cousin,[3] the Chicago Tribune stated that they were not related.[4]

Death[edit]

Hopper was hospitalized on February 14, 1970, after suffering a stroke at his home in Yucca Valley, California. He was later transferred to a hospital in Palm Springs after developing pneumonia. He died of pneumonia on March 6 at age 55.[1][5] He was buried in Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.

Stage credits[edit]

Selected filmography[edit]

Film
YearTitleRoleNotes
1916Sunshine DadInfant in carriageUncredited
1937The Big Broadcast of 1937Ship's OfficerCredited as DeWolf Hopper Jr.
1937Love Is on the AirEddie Gould
1937Dick TracyDirigible PilotUncredited
1937Mr. Dodd Takes the AirSecond Production ManagerUncredited
1938Love, Honor and BehaveYale Tennis PlayerUncredited
1939StagecoachSergentUncredited
1939Nancy Drew... ReporterBit roleUncredited
1939Daughters CourageousStriped-Shirted Man at BeachUncredited
1939The Old MaidJohnCredited as DeWolf Hopper
1939The Angels Wash Their FacesPhotographerUncredited
1939Nancy Drew and the Hidden StaircaseReporterCredited as DeWolf Hopper
1939Dust Be My DestinyReporterUncredited
1939Espionage AgentStudentUncredited
1939On Your ToesRonald - Peggy's EscortUncredited
1939The Return of Doctor XInternCredited as DeWolf Hopper
1939Invisible StripesSociety Gent in Top HatUncredited
1940The Fighting 69thPrivate TurnerCredited as DeWolf Hopper
1940Calling Philo VanceClerk at Hotel Nino in ChicagoUncredited
1940Castle on the HudsonReporterUncredited
1940Virginia CityLieutenant Reporting Murrell's AttackUncredited
1940'Til We Meet AgainManUncredited
1940Brother Orchid2nd Reporter on Return ShipUncredited
1940No Time for ComedyFirst-NighterUncredited
1940Knute Rockne, All AmericanNew York Reporter When Knute is IllUncredited
1940Lady with Red HairLyceum Theater AttendantUncredited
1941Affectionately YoursAirline AttendantUncredited
1941The Bride Came C.O.D.Keenan's and Brice's pilotCredited as DeWolf Hopper
1941ManpowerPower Company Telephone OperatorUncredited
1941The Maltese FalconReporterUncredited
1941They Died with Their Boots OnLt. FrazierUncredited
1941All Through the NightReporterUncredited
1941You're in the Army NowSupply Man - Gas MasksUncredited
1942The Male AnimalReporter on porchUncredited
1942Lady GangsterJohnCredited as DeWolf Hopper
1942Larceny, Inc.Traffic PolicemanUncredited
1942Yankee Doodle DandyReporterUncredited
1942Across the PacificOrderlyUncredited
1942Desperate JourneyRadio OperatorUncredited
1942Beyond the Line of DutyUniversity of Texas classmateUncredited
1943The Hard WayHotel Desk ClerkUncredited
1943Action in the North AtlanticCanadian SoldierUncredited
1954The High and the MightyRoyCredited as William Dewolf Hopper
1954Sitting BullCharles WentworthCredited as Bill Hopper
1954Track of the CatArthur Bridges
1955Conquest of SpaceDr. George Fenton
1955Rebel Without a CauseJudy's father
1956Good-bye, My LadyWalden GroverAlternative title: The Boy and the Laughing Dog
1956The First TexanWilliam Barret Travis
1956The Bad SeedCol. Kenneth Penmark
1957The Deadly MantisDr. Nedrick (Ned) Jackson
195720 Million Miles to EarthCol. Robert Calder
1970Myra BreckinridgeJudge Frederic D. CannonUncredited
Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1954Mayor of the TownGirardEpisode: "Minnie's Job"
1955-1956Lux Video TheatreVarious3 episodes
1956FuryDr. Steve Brown/Steve WilsonEpisode: "The Hobo"
1956The 20th Century Fox HourPhilip HarlandEpisode: "One Life"
1956Celebrity PlayhouseEpisode: "Stagecoach to Paradise"
1956The MillionaireCapt. Jonathan CarrollEpisode: "The Captain Jonathan Carroll Story"
1956GunsmokeJohn Henry Jordan
Tasker
2 episodes
1956Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside TheatreRick GordonEpisode: "One Percent"
1956Matinee TheaterEpisode: "Madame de Treymes"
1956-1957Studio 57Kip2 episodes
1957Schlitz Playhouse of StarsDan MailerEpisode: "The Restless Gun"
1957The Joseph Cotten ShowArnold BaitEpisode: "The Case of the Jealous Bomber"
1957-1966Perry MasonPaul Drake271 episodes

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "TV Actor, William Hopper, 55". The Miami News. March 6, 1970. pp. 12–A. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ "In Memory of Gordon Casimire Williamsii". dignitymemorial.com. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ Norbert B. Laufenberg, Entertainment Celebrities (Trafford Publishing, 2005), 795
  4. ^ Bettelou Peterson. "What happened to Dennis Hopper who played Paul Drake in...," Chicago Tribune, TV sec., February 27, 1987.
  5. ^ New York Times: "William Hopper, Actor, Dies; Detective in 'Perry Mason,' 54," March 7, 1970, accessed July 14, 2011
  6. ^ "Romeo and Juliet". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2014-10-02. 

External links[edit]