Robert Walker

(1918-1951)

Books | Dvds | Videos | Strangers on a Train
Hitchcock UK 7 Dvd Box Set Incl. Strangers on a Train

Tragic Early Death Robbed Him Of The Chance Of Joining The Movie Gods

Spine-chillingly brilliant as the softspoken psychopath in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951), this boyishly handsome, sensitive performer may have brought more of himself to the role than anyone could have suspected. The disturbed product of a broken home, a victim of lifelong anxiety attacks, Walker eventually lost control of his battered psyche, self-aborted his once promising career, and died at a tragically young age. In 1938 he studied acting at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where he met and fell in love with aspiring actress Phyllis Isley. They went to Hollywood together the following year; she landed minor ingenue roles at Republic, he played bits at MGM. Returning east to take jobs in radio, the Walkers had two sons before coming back to Hollywood in 1943, Phyllis under contract to David O. Selznick, Robert to MGM. He played supporting roles in 1943's Bataan and Madame Curie before winning the lead in See Here, Private Hargrove (1944), a mildly amusing look at army life as seen by an open, mild-mannered boynext-door. Selznick teamed him with his wife, by now renamed Jennifer Jones (and from whom he was by this time estranged), in Since You Went Away that same year, and he was very touching, in a homespun way, as a sincere soldier.

MGM, by now keenly attuned to Walker's youthful appeal, featured him in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944), then c-ostarred him with Hedy Lamarr in Her Highness and the Bellboy and Judy Garland in that charmer The Clock (both 1945), as well as a Hargrove sequel, What Next, Corporal Hargrove? (1945). But the Walkers were divorced that year (thanks in large measure to Selznick's influence on and feelings for Jennifer), and Robert never really got over it. He played songwriter Jerome Kern in Till the Clouds Roll By (1946), and also starred or costarred in The Sailor Takes a Wife (also 1946), The Sea of Grass, The Beginning or the End (both 1947), Song of Love (also 1947, as Johannes Brahms), and One Touch of Venus (1948) before being institutionalized for more than a year with a severe nervous breakdown.

Walker played in several minor films (including a 1951 Western, Vengeance Valley cast as a slimy villain) before tackling Strangers with Hitchcock, who harnessed his natural edginess and released it sparingly, enabling the troubled young star to deliver his finest performance. Walker died suddenly while working on My Son John (1952); outtakes and close-ups from Strangers were edited in to help cover his absence. Ironically, his portrayal of a suspected Communist was among his very best. His lookalike son Robert Walker, Jr., is an actor who had a brief fling with stardom in the 1960s.

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robert walker books | dvds | videos

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olivia de havilland | humphrey bogart | howard hawks | frank capra | charlie chaplin | lauren bacall | fritz lang
jean harlow | greta garbo | ava gardner | audrey hepburn | edward g. robinson | john garfield
erich von stroheim | wim wenders | madeleine carroll | marlene dietrich | rita hayworth



robert walker dvds




robert walker videos





robert walker

books | dvds | videos

laurence olivier | clark gable | vivien leigh | leslie howard | alfred hitchcock | robert montgomery | grace kelly | conrad veidt
olivia de havilland | humphrey bogart | howard hawks | frank capra | charlie chaplin | lauren bacall | fritz lang
jean harlow | greta garbo | ava gardner | audrey hepburn | edward g. robinson | john garfield
erich von stroheim | wim wenders | madeleine carroll | marlene dietrich | rita hayworth




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