University of Iowa graduate Anthony Dexter was a stage actor when he was briefly plucked from obscurity in 1951. Columbia Pictures, searching for a "new face" to play the lead in their film biography of Rudolph Valentino, chose Dexter for this plum role. Showered with publicity, Dexter starred in Valentino opposite Eleanor Parker and Joseph Calleila. The effortless expertise of his co-stars only served to emphasize Dexter's conspicuous lack of polish, though blame for Valentino's failure can be attributed as much to the ineptitudes of its script as to the inadequacies of its star. Dexter was cast thereafter in such costume flicks as The Brigand (1952) and Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl (1954), reaching a nadir when he was cast as Christopher Columbus (opposite Chico Marx as an Italian monk!) in the all-star disappointment The Story of Mankind (1957). Anthony Dexter returned to the stage after his brief, unhappy foray into filmmaking, reappearing before the cameras only fitfully in the 1960s; his one chance at a movie comeback in the much-heralded Phil Ford/Mimi Hines vehicle Saturday Night Bath in Apple Valley came acropper when the film proved totally unreleasable and was permanently shelved.