Phillip Pine

Active - 1948 - 1981  |   Born - Jul 16, 1925   |   Died - Dec 22, 2006   |   Genres - Drama, Crime

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Biography by Bruce Eder

Phillip Pine was a character actor whose chameleon-like presence graced the entertainment world for more than 50 years as an actor, in addition to work as a screenwriter and director. Pine was born in Hanford, CA, 1920, and made his stage debut in a play written in Portugeuse. He later worked on showboats along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, and made the jump to small roles in movies in the mid-'40s, when he was in his twenties. His dark features frequently got him cast as gangsters and thugs in the early part of his career, and he moved in more prominent roles -- usually of a villainous nature -- in the 1950s.

In 1954, Pine worked on-stage in See the Jaguar and The Immoralist and crossed paths with James Dean at the outset of the latter's career in New York. He played the title role in the stage version of A Stone for Danny Fisher, in a production that also featured Zero Mostel, Joe de Santis, and Susan Cabot. Brooks Atkinson, reviewing the play in The New York Times, wrote that Pine turned in "a good performance. He makes the character shifty and shallow, but likable, also, like a heel who means well weakly."

With very expressive eyes and a minimum of words, Pine could melt into a role and make the most of only a few seconds' screen time. His feature films included William Keighley's crime thriller The Street with No Name (1948), Robert Wise's The Set Up, Mark Robson's My Foolish Heart, and William Wellman's Battleground, all released in 1949. He was also a veteran of hundreds of television shows, from Superman ("The Case of the Talkative Dummy," "The Mystery of the Broken Statues") to The Twilight Zone to Star Trek ("The Savage Curtain"), all of them as villains of a crafty and devious nature. Pine's biggest feature film role was in Irving Lerner's 1958 thriller Murder By Contract, in which he portrayed one of a pair of hoods working with hired assassin Vince Edwards. Pine passed away in 2006 at the age of 86.

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