Reed Hadley

Active - 1938 - 1971  |   Born - Jan 1, 1911   |   Died - Dec 11, 1974   |   Genres - Drama, Crime, Western, Action, Mystery

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Biography by Hal Erickson

While the name and face may not be familiar, the voice of Reed Hadley will be instantly recognizable to filmgoers of the 1940s. Working as an actor by night and floorwalker by day, the tall, spare Hadley began picking up radio gigs in the 1930s. His best-known airwaves assignment was the voice of western hero Red Ryder. In films from 1938, Hadley spent his first few years before the camera bouncing around between heroes and heavies; he starred in the 1939 serial Zorro's Fighting Legion, and was seen briefly as a burlesqued Hollywood matinee idol in W.C. Fields' The Bank Dick (1940). Signed by 20th Century-Fox in 1943, Hadley appeared onscreen and served as the offscreen narrator of such "docudramas" as House on 92nd Street (1945), Call Northside 777 (1947) and Boomerang (1947). From 1950 through 1953, Hadley starred as Captain Braddock, the unctuous, chain-smoking star/narrator of the popular TV series Racket Squad; in 1954, he played a similar role on the 39-week series Public Defender. Considering the fact that Reed Hadley's deep, persuasive voice was his fortune, it is ironic that his last screen role was a non-speaking supporting part in Roger Corman's The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967).

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