Handsome leading man Rory Calhoun's successful film and television career spanned well over 50 years. In the mid-1940s,after a difficult childhood and adolescence, Calhoun found work as a lumberjack in Santa Cruz, California. It was while there employed that Calhoun was discovered by actor Alan Ladd, who suggested that the rugged young man give movies a try. Billed as "Frank McCown," Calhoun was signed to a brief contract at 20th Century-Fox, but most of his earliest movie scenes (including a sizeable supporting role in the Laurel and Hardy vehicle The Bullfighters) ended up on the cutting room floor. Free-lancing in the late 1940s, Calhoun first attracted a fan-following with his supporting role as a high-school lothario in 1948's The Red House. He returned to Fox in 1950, enjoying major roles in such films as How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and River of No Return (1955). Established as a western player by the late 1950s, Calhoun starred on the popular TV western The Texan from 1958 through 1960. He spent his spare time writing, publishing at least one novel, The Man From Padeira. From 1949 through 1970, Calhoun was married to actress Lita Baron. Perpetuating his career into the 1980s and '90s, a more weather-beaten Rory Calhoun was seen in the lead of the satirical horror film Motel Hell (1980), was quite funny as a washed-up macho movie star in Avenging Angel (1985), and stole the show from ostensible leading-man George Strait in Pure Country (1992).
photo credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment
by Hal Erickson biography