Ken Terrell

Active - 1937 - 1961  |   Born - Apr 29, 1904   |   Died - Mar 8, 1966   |   Genres - Western, Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Drama

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Ken Terrell (who was sometimes billed as Kenneth Terrell) was one of the longer working veterans of Republic Pictures, with a career that lasted from the end of the 1930s into the 1960s. After breaking into the movies at RKO in a pair of comedy features, A Damsel in Distress and Living on Love, Terrell moved to Republic, where he worked in a string of serials in supporting roles, including the renowned Perils of Nyoka (aka Nyoka and the Tigermen), playing the assistant to the Charles Middleton character. The other major serials in which he appeared included Jungle Girl, Drums of Fu Manchu, The Masked Marvel, Secret Service in Darkest Africa, Captain America, and Spy Smasher, sometimes in multiple roles in the course of 12 or 15 chapters. He did occasional outside work, such as an appearance in The Mummy's Hand at Universal, and appeared in B-westerns such as the Jimmy Wakely vehicle Song of the Range; during the 1940s, Terrell's one appearance in a major movie was in a small role in George Cukor's Winged Victory, based on the play by Moss Hart. Terrell didn't get acting roles with decent screen time until the mid-'50s, after leaving Republic, when he was cast in a succession of roles in several low-budget science fiction/horror films. His rough-hewn features and dark eyes allowed him to convey fear, villainy, or concern in equal measures, and to play anything from thugs to army officers, just as his bit roles had him cast as everything from Arab assassins to town drunks. In Jack Pollexfen's The Indestructible Man, he played Joe Marcella, the nervous one of the three hoods being hunted down by a super-strong resurrected murderer Lon Chaney Jr.; in Nathan Juran's The Brain From Planet Arous, he played the army colonel who gets burned to a cinder by alien-possessed John Agar and, in his best and longest part in a feature, in Juran's Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, he plays Jess, the loyal valet to victim Allison Hayes. Terrell had a small role, mostly involving stunt work, in Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus, and made his last screen appearance in the Vincent Price vehicle The Master of the World. He died of arteriosclerosis in 1966.

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