Edmund Purdom

Active - 1953 - 2001  |   Born - Dec 19, 1924   |   Died - Jan 1, 2009   |   Genres - Drama, Adventure, Historical Film, Horror, Action

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Broodingly handsome British leading man Edmond Purdom was the son of a London drama critic. An actor from 1945, Purdom came to the attention of Hollywood when he appeared on Broadway in 1951 as a member of Olivier's acting troupe. His chance for full-fledged screen stardom was stymied by his unsolicited reputation as a last-minute replacement: He replaced a recalcitrant Marlon Brando in The Egyptian (1954) and a troublesome Mario Lanza in The Student Prince (1955). His appearance in the expensive MGM production The Prodigal (1955) was the final nail in the coffin of Purdom's movie stardom, though once more the fault was not completely his. He went on to portray a Cellini-style Renaissance swashbuckler in the syndicated 1957 TVer Sword of Freedom, then made ends meet as a leading man in a multitude of Italian sword-and-sandal epics of the 1960s. Still retaining his good looks, Purdom played character roles into the 1980s. The actor was quoted thusly by John Walker in Filmgoer's Encyclopedia: "One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important." Never a willing recipient of fan-magazine attention, Edmund Purdom was thrust into the spotlight in the 1960s when he married Tyrone Power's former wife, the publicity-crazy Linda Christian. Purdom died at age 84 on January 1, 2009.

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