Born Julian LaFaye, John Carroll was a dark, dashingly handsome actor and baritone singer with a mustache, black curly hair, and cocked eyebrows. He was considered by MGM in the early '40s to be a potential rival to Clark Gable. He ran away from home at age 12, supporting himself in several jobs and later made his way to Europe, where he became a cash-winning race-car driver and also studied voice. At first a film stunt man in the early '30s, by 1935 he had worked his way up to leads for RKO, debuting onscreen in Hi Gaucho! (1935). Carroll reached his peak in the early '40s as a leading man (occasionally singing) in light, second-string MGM films and musicals; he also did B-movies and action pictures for Republic and other studios. His wise investments in land and in the shrimping industry left him a wealthy man when he retired from films in the late '50s.