Albert Dekker

Active - 1937 - 1969  |   Born - Dec 20, 1904   |   Died - May 5, 1968   |   Genres - Drama, Western, Comedy, Action, Mystery

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A graduate of Bowdoin college, Albert Dekker made his professional acting bow with a Cincinnati stock company in 1927. Within a few months he was featured in the Broadway production of Eugene O'Neill's Marco Millions. After a decade's worth of impressive theatrical appearance, Dekker made his first film, 1937's The Great Garrick. Usually cast as villains, Dekker was starred in the Technicolor horror film Dr. Cyclops (1940) and played a fascinating dual role in the 1941 suspenser Among the Living. Dekker's offscreen preoccupation with politics led to his winning a California State Assembly seat in 1944; during the McCarthy era, Dekker became an outspoken critic of the Wisconsin senator's tactics, and as a result the actor found it hard to get work in Hollywood. He returned to Broadway, then made a movie comeback in 1959. During his last decade, Dekker alternated between film, stage and TV assignments; he also embarked on several college-campus lecture tours. In May of 1968, Dekker was found strangled to death in his Hollywood home. His naked body was bound hand and foot, a hypodermic needle was jammed into each arm, and obscenities were scrawled all over the corpse. At first, it seemed that Dekker was a closet homosexual who had committed suicide (early reports suggested that the writings on his body were his bad movie reviews) or had died while having rough sex. While the kinky particulars of the case were never officially explained, it was finally ruled that Albert Dekker had died of accidental asphyxiation.

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