Shepperd Strudwick

Active - 1938 - 1981  |   Born - Sep 22, 1907   |   Died - Jan 15, 1983   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

American actor Shepperd Strudwick (born and occasionally credited as John Sheppard studied drama at the University of North Carolina, not far from his home town of Hillsboro. Strudwick was a member of the University's Carolina Playmakers, which boasted such alumni as Kay Kyser, Andy Griffith, George Grizzard and Sidney Blackmer. After a few years in outdoor drama productions and regional theatre, Strudwick headed for Broadway in the early '30s; the actor's more celebrated New York stage credits included the 1932 Pulitzer Prize winner Both Your Houses near the beginning of his career and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? near the end. In 1940, Strudwick was signed for films, but the producers of his first picture, Congo Maisie (1940), found the actor's name too stiff and formal for romnatic leading roles; thus, Shepperd Strudwick spent most of the '40s acting under the cognomen John Shepperd. Outside of the lead in 20th Century-Fox's The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe, John Shepperd/Shepperd Strudwick didn't exactly set the world ablaze as a movie star, so he went back to the stage, returning to Hollywood in the late '40s under his real name. Strudwick wasn't leading man material, but he was superb in roles calling for a blend of dignity and intensity. Arguably the best of his many film roles was as the guilt-ridden doctor and erstwhile assassin in the Oscar-winning All the King's Men (1949). In addition, Strudwick was a regular on two popular video soap operas, Love of Life and Another World. Shepperd Strudwick continued contributing first-rate characterizations to TV, movie and stage productions into the '70s; one of his last theatrical roles of note was as the ill-fated Cmdr. Lloyd Bucher in a dramatization of the "Pueblo" incident.

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