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Recently, I?ve noticed that TCM has been showcasing a few films with actor William Lundigan. He was never to attain what might be considered a big or important film career, but his movie star status does have some interesting aspects to discuss. First off, Lundigan was not a trained actor. He had begun his show business career in radio and broadcasting. Because of his fine-tuned voice that was mostly utilized as a narrator and commercial spokesman he impressed a few movie talent scouts and his film career was off and running around 1937. Lundigan was also an impressive 6 foot tall and obviously good looking. With these ingredients and a bit of instinctual skill towards acting, he managed to work his way up the Hollywood ladder. After a bit of unaccredited appearances, he signed on with Warner Brothers.

 

There was no doubt that Lundigan?s imagery was tailored around an ?All American,? homespun, old apple-pie tradition. While at Warner Brothers, he received small supporting roles usually having limited amount of screen time. With little chance of any sort of breakthrough role, Lundigan began to be lent out to work at other studios; most notable was MGM, where Lundigan finally ended up, leaving behind what might be considered an uneventful time at Warner Brothers. He fared no better at MGM, ending up in secondary productions that were just a step above a B-Movie. Although Lundigan received good billing in a few low-budget films, he never really achieve major star status in any of the films he made while at MGM; throughout the 1940s, he remained designated a supporting player in numerous major films.

 

By late 1940s, Lundigan left behind MGM, becoming something of a freelanced actor, moving from one studio to the next, until he settled at 20th Century-Fox at the beginning of the 1950 decade. His career now had him receiving top billing in what were lighthearted films and a few action/adventure yarns, but while at 20th Century-Fox, Lundigan probably had his best exposure as a dramatic actor in such films as ?Pinky,? ?I?d Climb The Highest Mountain? and ?Inferno.? It was around the mid-1950s, Lundigan began showing up in television production. This move proved to be quite good and logical to keep his performing career viable. A certain stability set into Lundigan?s career, unlike other actors of his time that faded away and couldn?t even drift between motion pictures and television. He however, succeeded in a rather impressive technical way of thinking. Despite having a good amount of exposure, Lundigan was by the late 1950s, a noted actor for hire, rather than anything so prestigious along dramatic lines. This situation has always kept his career and stardom in question as to whether or not there was enough value to be historically important. Certainly, Lundigan was a success as a working actor! This is what might be considered the paradox to his status among the usual film stars one tends to talk about or remember. He was without question, an all around player in Hollywood; having worked at every major studio in town. His career was amazing; when you consider the areas and aspects it covered. Some fans to this day, don?t know whether to look upon Lundigan from the perspective of a film star, as opposed to his work in television.

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When most folks think of Chrysler spokesmen they think of Lee or Ricardo or even Dieter but I think of William Lundigan. Shirley, William Lundigan must have been one of our earliest astronauts. Having seen him in several TV shows rather dates me.

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He hosted "Climax" and "Shower of Stars" which was an anthology series and was sponsored by Chrysler which he was a spokes man for, doing live commercials and traveling for the company.

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> {quote:title=talkietime wrote:}{quote}

> Shirley, William Lundigan must have been one of our earliest astronauts.

 

Stop calling me Shirley!

(did you mean "surely"?)

 

Great that Lundigan gains so much respect among TCMers. My mother often speaks of him as she knew his entire family here in Syracuse NY and is the one who pointed his voice out to me in Looney Tunes cartoons.

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MovieProfessor: I just got through praising you for the Toy Donahue piece and I find this one on a much more talented and believable actor. I know now I?m not the only one who watched Men Into Space. I?ve only seen him in one film he might want to have burned; a version of Cleopatra with Rhonda Fleming and Raymond Burr. Burr?s Marc Antony steals the film. He just wasn?t right for her Roman soldier ex-lover.

 

I checked his biography and found he was as decent off-screen as he was in most of his films. Even though he?s now gone I?m glad he?s getting some overdue recognition. Thank you, again.

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Wouldbestar,If you can find it, check out a film called INFERNO with Robert Ryan and a not so nice villain, who, with Ryan's wife, conspired to try and kill him by abandoning him in the desert with a broken leg(I believe). Haven't seen it for years, but a pretty good yarn.Haven't seen MEN INTO SPACE since it aired nearly 50 years ago on TV.I was six years old at the time and remember the show being pretty neat. Is it available for purchase somewhere?Best, BruceG.

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BruceGhent wrote:

"It might have helped if I'd mentioned that William Lundigan was the not so nice villain in INFERNO."

 

He also turned out to be not so nice in The House On Telegraph Hill. He was amiable enough in the comedy programmers done at Fox in the early 50s, such as Love Nest, Mother Didn't Tell Me, and Elopement. Interestingly, these last two, along with I'd Climb The Highest Mountain (his best performance at 20th IMHO), were meant to have reunited him with his Pinky costar, Jeanne Crain (who was always losing out on parts due to pregnancy), but were done by Dorothy McGuire, Anne Francis and Susan Hayward, respectively.

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