Jack LaRue

Active - 1930 - 1976  |   Born - May 3, 1902 in New York, NY  |   Died - Jan 11, 1984 in Santa Monica, CA  |   Genres - Crime, Drama, Mystery, Comedy

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American actor Jack LaRue is frequently mistaken for Humphrey Bogart by casual fans. In both his facial features and his choice of roles, LaRue did indeed resemble Bogart, in every respect but one; Bogart became a star, while LaRue remained in the supporting ranks. After stage work in his native New York, LaRue came to Hollywood for his first film, The Mouthpiece, in 1932. For the next few years he played secondary hoodlums (for example, the hot-head hit man in the closing sequences of Night World [1932]) and unsavory lead villains -- never more unsavory than as the sex-obsessed kidnapper in The Story of Temple Drake (1933). LaRue decided to shift gears and try romantic leading roles, but this "new" LaRue disappeared after the Mayfair Studios cheapie, The Fighting Rookie (1934). He was at his most benign as "himself", trading gentle quips with Alice Faye at an outdoor carnival in the MGM all-star short Cinema Circus (1935). Otherwise, it was back to gangsters and thugs, with a few exceptions like his sympathetic role in A Gentleman from Dixie (1941). By the 1940s, LaRue had spent most of his movie savings and was compelled to seek out any work available. Awaiting his cue to appear in a small role on one movie set, LaRue was pointed out to up-and-coming Anne Shirley on a movie set as an example of what happens when a Hollywood luminary doesn't provide for possible future career reverses. Things improved a bit when LaRue moved to England in the late 1940s to play American villains in British pictures. His most memorable appearance during this period was as Slim Grissom in the notorious No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948) -- a virtual reprisal of his part in The Story of Temple Drake. LaRue worked often in television during the last two decades of his career; in the early 1950s, he was the eerily-lit host of the spooky TV anthology Lights Out.

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