Todd Armstrong

Active - 1962 - 1967  |   Genres - Drama, Adventure, Western

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Todd Armstrong was an early-'60s leading man who is best remembered for his work in the title role of the fantasy epic Jason and the Argonauts (1963). Born John Harris Armstrong in Missouri in 1937, he moved to California and studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse in the second half of the 1950s. He had difficulty finding steady acting work, however, until he was discovered while working at his day job as a landscape gardener. Armstrong was at the home of Gloria Henry, a film and television actress who was signed to Columbia Pictures (where she was working on the series Dennis the Menace, playing the title character's mother). She was sufficiently impressed with his good looks to arrange for him to get a screen test at Columbia. He subsequently appeared in 13 episodes of the series Manhunt, starring Victor Jory. Armstrong had supporting roles in two movies during 1962: Walk on the Wild Side (where he was credited as Todd Anderson) and Five Finger Exercise. He broke into stardom in Jason and the Argonauts the following year; ironically, both his and co-star Nancy Kovack's voices were redubbed by other actors, owing to the fact that they were the only Americans in the otherwise all-British cast and would have sounded out of place amid a sea of English accents. Despite this handicap, he cut a commanding yet humane figure in the movie in the role of Jason, though all of the actors were eclipsed by Ray Harryhausen's special effects. Armstrong had one more leading role, in Bryan Forbes' King Rat (1965), and after that receded to supporting parts in pictures such as Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966), and moved back into television work during the remainder of the 1960s and the 1970s.

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