Sydney-born Ron Randell began his six-decade-long career in his teens on radio in his native Australia for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. He promptly moved to the stage, where he acted with the Minerva Theatre Group from 1937 to 1946, while intermittently appearing in Australian films. Well-received reviews for his title role in the movie, Pacific Adventure (1946) [Pacific Adventure], led to a Hollywood contract, making his debut in It Had to Be You (1947) in support of Ginger Rogers and Cornel Wilde. Randell went on to play both hero and villain in both a lead and supporting capacity. His host of “B” pictures included short runs as supersleuth “Bulldog Drummond” and “the Lone Wolf”. Although he was never a top name per se, he led a durable transatlantic film career for much of the 50s and 60s, which included a minor role as composer Cole Porter in Kiss Me Kate (1953), lead in the gangster flick, Most Dangerous Man Alive (1961) and Lucius, the Centurion who tries to save Jesus at his trial, and becomes converted to Christianity after the Crucifixion in King of Kings (1961). From the “Golden Age” of 50s TV, he went on star in the American/British espionage series, O.S.S. (1957), for a season, and guest-starred on such programs as Bewitched (1964), The Farmer’s Daughter (1963), Mission: Impossible (1966), Bonanza (1959) and The F.B.I. (1965), playing a number of cultivated gents. On Broadway, he enjoyed healthy critical successes, such as “The Browning Version” (1949), a revival of “Candida” (1952), “The World of Suzie Wong” (1958), “Butley” (1972), “Sherlock Holmes” (1975), “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” (1976) and “Bent” (1979). He continued his stage career, in fact, well into the 1990s, including a stint with the late Tony Randall’s National Actors Theater company which included a run of “The School for Scandal” (1995). Randell died following complications of a stroke in a Los Angeles assisted facility at age 86 in 2005.
Biography, Drama, History