Alf Kjellin

Active - 1936 - 1976  |   Born - Feb 28, 1920 in Lund  |   Died - Apr 5, 1988   |   Genres - Drama, Spy Film, Action

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Swedish actor/director Alf Kjellin studied for a theatrical career, but was swept into movie stardom thanks to his appearance as a troubled student in the Ingmar Bergman-scripted film Hets (1944), released in the US after the war as Frenzy. Hailed as a "new discovery" (though he'd been in Swedish films since 1937), Kjellin was brought to Hollywood on the strength of Torment, making his American bow in MGM's Madame Bovary (1949). MGM wasn't fond of Kjellin's name, so he was billed as Christopher Kent for Bovary, reverting to his real moniker for such subsequent American films as My Six Convicts (1952). Feeling confined by the second leads and villains he played in Hollywood, Kjellin turned to directing with Girl in the Rain in 1957. Few of his films as a director were memorable, though Kjellin gained an excellent reputation directing such TV series as I Spy in the '60s and Columbo in the '70s. I Spy became something of a crusade for Kjellin; in tandem with director of photography Fouad Said, the director lobbied for the right to use more flexible hand-held cameras rather than the cumbersome boxes then required by the American Society of Cinematographers. (Kjellin was victorious, but the resultant bad photography on many TV shows of the '70s may have caused him second thoughts.) Even as his stock as a director rose in Tinseltown, Alf Kjellin took on the occasional acting role in such films as Ice Station Zebra (1968) and Zandy's Bride (1974).

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