Virile Brooklyn-born actor Harry Guardino, with dark, wavy hair and a perpetual worried look on his craggy-looking mug, started out in the acting school of hard knocks, slumming for nearly a decade in small, obscure ‘tough guy’ film parts in the early to mid 50s. A definite man’s man, he finally attracted some attention on the Broadway stage with “A Hatful of Rain” (1956) and was nominated for a Tony for “One More River” in 1960. By then, juicier film roles began to gravitate his way, stealing the thunder out from under Cary Grant and Sophia Loren as a comic handyman in Houseboat (1958). Harry went on to play other brash guys with and without a comic edge to them in both crime and war stories such as Pork Chop Hill (1959), 5 Branded Women (1960), Hell Is for Heroes (1962), Madigan (1968), Dirty Harry (1971) and The Enforcer (1976), the last two pairing up with Clint Eastwood. He even played “Barabbas” in the classic bible epic King of Kings (1961) for a change of pace and scenery. More and more, however, TV became Harry’s favorite medium. He portrayed district attorney “Hamilton Burger” in the 70s revival series of “Perry Mason” and co-starred in dozens of grim, rugged mini-movies often as a street-smart cop. Not so true to nature, he found an unlikely outlet in musical theatre in later years, going on to star in productions of “Woman of the Year” and “Chicago”. A solid, durable, all-round actor, he died of lung cancer in 1995 at age 69.
Biography, Drama, History