Monday, March 30, 2009

Smooth Operator




One of our favorites: the heart-stoppingly handsome John Gavin. Often dismissed as cardboard or wooden, we think he's underrated; good-looking as he was, we're sure Kubrick and Hitchcock wouldn't have cast him in Spartacus or Psycho (both 1960) if they didn't think he could bring something to the table besides an utterly fabulous chest. Although, frankly, that would be enough for us.



Equally at home in the glossy environs of Imitation of Life (1959) and Back Street (1961) as he was on the dusty trails of his Western TV series, Destry (1964), Gavin also proved he could ably spoof his square-jawed matinee idol image in Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) -- unlike Hitch or Kubrick, we think it's a fairly safe bet that Ross Hunter, who cast Gavin in five films (including the three mentioned above) was undoubtedly smitten.





JOHN GAVIN'S QUINTET OF ROSS HUNTER PRODUCTIONS, FROM TOP: IMITATION OF LIFE (1959) WITH LANA TURNER; MIDNIGHT LACE (1960) WITH DORIS DAY; TAMMY TELL ME TRUE (1961) WITH SANDRA DEE; BACK STREET (1961) WITH SUSAN HAYWARD; THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (1967) WITH JULIE ANDREWS

Gavin's career faltered after Millie; he famously lost the role of James Bond when Sean Connery was lured back for Diamonds are Forever (1971). He turned his attention to the stage, appearing in, among other productions, Michael Bennett's See Saw (1973). Gavin replaced the original male lead, Ken Howard, in the original Broadway production with future Knots Landing star Michele Lee, and then toured the country with the show, opposite Lucie Arnaz.


After two terms as President of the Screen Actors' Guild, and a string of guest spots on such obligatory 1970's fare as The Love Boat and Fantasy Island, Gavin withdrew from entertainment and became the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico during the Reagan administration; he is currently retired, and, judging by the most recent photo below, looking just dandy.


We love the hat and the knit tie.

6 comments:

  1. I love John Gavin. He is definitely, shall we say, understated in his films, but so handsome - almost like one of those composites when they take "the hair of Cary Grant and the jaw of Burt Lancaster" or whatever and compile it together. I mean, come on... Doris Day is being menaced and gets to be resuced by John Gavin?! Yum! Ditto Vera Miles in "Psycho." (Her character winds up marrying him according to the belated sequel.) He had one film in which HE was the central focus called "A Time to Love and Time to Die." (Oh and there's his successful, lengthy marriage to Contance Towers, too!)

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  2. I recall seeing "Spartacus" witha group of friends... and I clearly recall a gay guy in the group suddenly saluting Gavin's Appearance with an enthusiastic "¡¡Vaya chulazo!!". I think it was the Scene at the Roman baths, in which Olivier struts around in "mini->skirt" towel, but is easily beaten (in the side of gorgeousness) by Gavin (in the acting side, of course, he's beaten by Gavin's teamster Laughton)

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  3. Congratulations for your blog, from Spain!!!

    John Gavin really nice.

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  4. LOVE John Gavin....I remember watching him in movies on TV as a child growing up and wondering, "who's that fine piece of man?" (in the voice of a 7-year old boy).

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  5. Very, very nice piece on John Gavin - thank you for taking me back to memories of one of my hearthrobs growing up. I was first in love with him in Tammy, if that gives you an idea of age. Now, as years have passed and I've seen his other movies a 100 times - Imitation of Life, Psycho, Spartacus, to name few - I realize he was not just the hunk I first thought him to be. He is so much more. I also remember that he was our Ambassador to Mexico and a good one too. I've never seen or heard of the two movies with Doris Day and Susan Hayward (another favorite), but thank you for the info. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for them. Right now as I post this, I'm watching The Horse Soldiers featuring his wife Constsnce Towers. Another great movie!

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