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Ireland in 1960
John Benjamin Ireland
January 30, 1914
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Died||March 21, 1992 (aged 78)|
|Resting place||Santa Barbara Cemetery, Santa Barbara, California, U.S.|
|Occupation||Actor & Film director|
Elaine Sheldon Rosen
(m. 1940; div. 1948)
(m. 1949; div. 1957)
Daphine Myrick Cameron
(m. 1962; died 1992)
John Benjamin Ireland (January 30, 1914 – March 21, 1992) was a Canadian-American actor and film director. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in All the King's Men (1949), making him the first Vancouver-born actor to receive an Oscar nomination.
Ireland was a supporting actor in several Western films such as My Darling Clementine (1946), Red River (1948), Vengeance Valley (1951), and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). His other film roles include 55 Days at Peking (1963), The Adventurers (1970), and Farewell, My Lovely (1975).
Ireland was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on January 30, 1914. He lived in New York City from a very early age. Ireland's formal education ended at the 7th grade, and he worked to help his family make ends meet.
He never knew his natural father; his mother, a Scottish piano teacher Gracie Ferguson, remarried to Michael Noone, an Irish vaudevillian, and had three other children, a daughter Kathryn, a son named Tommy (the future actor-comedian Tommy Noonan), and another son, Michael. Their last name was Noone; Ireland never knew for sure where his last name came from. One of his jobs was in a water carnival where he wrestled a dead octopus.
One day he was passing the Davenport Free Theater in Manhattan. He entered, thinking it offered a free show and instead received free training. He slept in a dressing room and was paid a dollar a day to work backstage while rehearsing lines.
20th Century Fox
This was followed by Wake Up and Dream (1946); Behind Green Lights (1946) with Carole Landis; and It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog (1946), again with Landis. He played Billy Clanton in John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946).
Freelance actor and Red River
Ireland had his first lead role in Railroaded! (1947), directed by Anthony Mann for Eagle-Lion. He went back to support parts for The Gangster (1947) for the King Brothers and I Love Trouble (1948) for Columbia.
Ireland had a vital support part in Howard Hawks' 1948 film Red River as the gunslinger Cherry Valance. However, Ireland's part was reduced when Hawks became annoyed with the actor. Ireland was an army captain in the Ingrid Bergman spectacular, Joan of Arc (1948).
All the King's Men
In April 1948 Ireland signed a contract with Columbia Pictures at $500 a week going up to $1500 a week. Ireland was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his forceful performance as Jack Burden, the hard-boiled newspaper reporter who evolves from devotee to cynical denouncer of demagogue Willie Stark (Broderick Crawford) in All the King's Men (1949), making him the first Vancouver-born actor to receive an Academy Award nomination.
Ireland was featured as Bob Ford in the low budget I Shot Jesse James (1949) the first movie directed by Sam Fuller. He was a villain in the Western Roughshod (1949) and a love rival for Paulette Goddard in Anna Lucasta (1949).
During McCarthyism in the early 50s, he successfully sued two television producers for breach of contract and slander, claiming that they reneged on roles promised to him due to his perceived political undesirability, including the lead in a TV series The Adventures of Ellery McQueen. He received an undisclosed but "substantial" cash settlement.
Ireland had the leads in some low-budget films: The Basketball Fix (1951); The Scarf (1951); Little Big Horn (1951); The Bushwackers (1952); and Hannah Lee (1953) with his wife. He directed the latter. That film resulted in a lawsuit against the producers.
John Ireland turned director with The Fast and the Furious (1955), an early production from Roger Corman; Ireland also starred. He had the lead in the British thriller The Glass Cage (1955) and the war film Hell's Horizon (1955). He made another for Corman, this time only as an actor – Gunslinger (1956).
In July 1955 he signed a contract with Revue to act and direct films for television.
In January 1956 he signed to play the lead in the TV series Port of Call.
In 1959, Ireland appeared as Chris Slade, with Karl Swenson as Ansel Torgin, in the episode "The Fight Back" of the NBC western series, Riverboat. In the storyline, Tom Fowler (Tom Laughlin), the boss of the corrupt river town of Hampton near Vicksburg, Mississippi, blocks farmers from shipping their crops to market. In a dispute over a wedding held on the Enterprise, a lynch-mob led by Fowler comes after series lead-character Grey Holden (Darren McGavin). Karl Swenson also was cast in this episode.
In 1959, John guest-appeared on Judy Garland's album, The Letter for Capitol Records.
Ireland had a key role as the gladiator Crixus in the Stanley Kubrick 1960 spectacle Spartacus, co-starring with Kirk Douglas. That year he starred as Winch in the western series Rawhide episode "Incident of the Garden of Eden" and made Faces in the Dark (1960) in England.
From 1960 to 1962, he starred in the British television series The Cheaters, playing John Hunter, a claims investigator for an insurance company who tracked down cases of fraud. He supported Elvis Presley in Wild in the Country (1961) and had the lead in the British Return of a Stranger (1961).
In 1962, he portrayed the character Frank Trask in the episode "Incident of the Portrait" on Rawhide. He had a supporting part in 55 Days at Peking (1963) with Charlton Heston and was Ballomar in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), both films shot in Spain by producer Samuel Bronston.
In 1967, he appeared as Marshal Will Rimbau on Bonanza with Michael Landon in the episode "Judgment at Red Creek". A few years later, he again appeared with Landon on two episodes of Little House on the Prairie as a drunk who saves Carrie Ingalls, who had fallen down an abandoned mine shaft in season 3 episode "Little Girl Lost" and season 5 episode "The Winoka Warriors".
He had some leads in the A. C. Lyles Western Fort Utah (1967), then traveled to Europe to appear in Hate for Hate (1967), and Pistol for a Hundred Coffins (1967) and supported in Villa Rides (1968), Trusting Is Good... Shooting Is Better (1969), One on Top of the Other (1969), and Carnal Circuit (1969).
In 1970, Ireland appeared as Kinroy in the TV western The Men From Shiloh (rebranded name for The Virginian) in the episode titled "Jenny". Ireland was seen in productions like The House of Seven Corpses (1974), Salon Kitty (1976) and Satan's Cheerleaders (1977). He did, however, also appear in big-budget fare such as The Adventurers (1970), also as a police lieutenant in the Robert Mitchum private-eye story Farewell, My Lovely (1975).
In 1987, he put an ad in the newspapers stating "I'm an actor... let me act." It led to a role as Jonathan Aaron Cartwright, the younger brother of Ben Cartwright, in the television movie Bonanza: The Next Generation.
He was seen in the War of the Worlds episode "Eye for an Eye" in 1988.
Ireland regularly returned to the stage throughout his career and co-directed two features in the 1950s: the acclaimed Western drama Hannah Lee (1953) and the carjacking B-movie The Fast and the Furious (1955).
Occasionally Ireland's name was mentioned in tabloids of the times, in connection with much younger starlets, including Natalie Wood, Barbara Payton, and Sue Lyon. He attracted controversy by dating 16-year-old actress Tuesday Weld when he was 45. Ireland also had an affair with co-star Joan Crawford while on the set of Queen Bee (1955). A decade later, Ireland and Crawford co-starred again in William Castle's movie I Saw What You Did.
He was married three times. His first wife, from 1940 to 1949, was Elaine Sheldon, by whom he had two sons, John and Peter.
From 1949 to 1957, he was married to actress Joanne Dru (whose younger brother, entertainer Peter Marshall, was originally best known for his comedy act with Ireland's half-brother Tommy Noonan). In July 1956, Dru was admitted to hospital with a black eye which she said was accidental but which commonly was believed to have been caused by Ireland. Ireland later was admitted to hospital for taking an overdose of barbiturates.
When the couple divorced in 1957 they had over $50,000 in debts.
From 1962 until his death, Ireland was married to Daphne Myrick Cameron, with whom he had a daughter named Daphne and a son named Cameron. He has four grandchildren: Pete, Melissa, Jack and Helios.
In his later years, he owned the restaurant Ireland's in Santa Barbara, California. An accomplished chef, he regularly worked in the kitchen and concocted Ireland Stew, combining whatever ingredients were available on a given night. He was also a regular at the restaurant's bar, greeting patrons and buying drinks for friends.
The restaurant failed. In May 1977, Ireland declared bankruptcy.
For his contribution to the television industry, he was commemorated with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1610 Vine Street.
|1945||A Walk in the Sun||Pfc. Windy Craven|
|1946||Behind Green Lights||Det. Engelhofer|
|1946||Somewhere in the Night||Minor Role||Voice, Uncredited|
|1946||It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog||Benny Smith|
|1946||My Darling Clementine||Billy Clanton|
|1946||Wake Up and Dream||Howard Williams|
|1947||Repeat Performance||Narrator||Voice, Uncredited|
|1947||The Gangster||Frank Karty|
|1948||I Love Trouble||Reno|
|1948||Open Secret||Paul Lester|
|1948||A Southern Yankee||Capt. Jed Calbern|
|1948||Red River||Cherry Valance|
|1948||Joan of Arc||Jean de la Boussac, St. Severe|
|1949||I Shot Jesse James||Bob Ford|
|1949||The Walking Hills||Frazee|
|1949||The Undercover Man||Narrator||Voice, Uncredited|
|1949||The Doolins of Oklahoma||Bitter Creek|
|1949||Anna Lucasta||Danny Johnson|
|1949||Mr. Soft Touch||Henry "Early" Byrd|
|1949||All the King's Men||Jack Burden||Academy Award nomination for Ireland, the film won the Oscar for Best Picture|
|1950||Cargo to Capetown||Steve Conway|
|1950||The Return of Jesse James||Johnny Callum|
|1951||Vengeance Valley||Hub Fasken|
|1951||The Scarf||John Howard Barrington|
|1951||Little Big Horn||Lt. John Haywood|
|1951||The Basketball Fix||Pete Ferreday|
|1951||Red Mountain||Gen. William Quantrill|
|1951||The Bushwackers||Jefferson Waring|
|1952||Hurricane Smith||Hurricane Smith|
|1953||The 49th Man||Investigator John Williams|
|1953||Hannah Lee||Marshal Sam Rochelle||Also co-director. Released in color and 3-D, re-released "flat" in B&W; a.k.a. Outlaw Territory|
|1953||Combat Squad||Sgt. Ken 'Fletch' Fletcher|
|1954||The Good Die Young||Eddie Blaine|
|1954||Southwest Passage||Clint McDonald|
|1954||Security Risk||Ralph Payne|
|1954||The Steel Cage||Al, a Ringleader||(segment "The Hostages")|
|1955||The Glass Cage||Pel Pelham|
|1955||The Fast and the Furious||Frank Webster||Also co-director.|
|1955||Queen Bee||Judd Prentiss|
|1955||Hell's Horizon||Capt. John Merrill|
|1957||Gunfight at the O.K. Corral||Johnny Ringo|
|1958||Stormy Crossing||Griff Parker|
|1958||No Place to Land||Jonas Bailey|
|1958||Party Girl||Louis Canetto|
|1959||Med mord i bagaget||Johnny Greco|
|1960||Faces in the Dark||Max Hammond|
|1961||Wild in the Country||Phil Macy|
|1961||Return of a Stranger||Ray Reed|
|1963||55 Days at Peking||Sgt. Harry|
|1963||The Ceremony||Prison Warden|
|1964||The Fall of the Roman Empire||Ballomar|
|1965||I Saw What You Did||Steve Marek|
|1965||Day of the Nightmare||Detective Sgt. Dave Harmon|
|1967||Hate for Hate||James Arthur Cooper|
|1967||Fort Utah||Tom Horn|
|1967||Dirty Heroes||Capt. O'Connor|
|1968||Go for Broke||The Owl|
|1968||Arizona Bushwhackers||Deputy Dan Shelby|
|1968||Villa Rides||Client in barber shop||Uncredited|
|1968||Trusting Is Good... Shooting Is Better||The Colonel|
|1968||Pistol for a Hundred Coffins||Douglas|
|1968||Run, Man, Run||Santillana|
|1968||A Taste of Death||Dan El|
|1968||Revenge for Revenge||Maj. Bower|
|1969||El 'Che' Guevara||Stuart|
|1969||Carnal Circuit||Richard Salinger|
|1969||One on Top of the Other||Inspector Wald|
|1969||Zenabel||Don Alonso Imolne|
|1969||I diavoli della guerra||American General||Uncredited|
|1970||Men From Shiloh (rebranded name of The Virginian)||Kinroy|
|1970||La sfida dei MacKenna||Jones|
|1970||The Adventurers||Mr. James Hadley|
|1972||Escape to the Sun||Jacob Kagan|
|1972||Northeast of Seoul||Flanagan|
|1973||Huyendo del halcón||Shot in 1966|
|1974||The House of Seven Corpses||Eric Hartman|
|1974||The Phantom of Hollywood||Lieutenant Gifford||TV movie|
|1974||Welcome to Arrow Beach||Sheriff Duke Bingham|
|1974||Dieci bianchi uccisi da un piccolo indiano||Abel Webster|
|1975||Farewell, My Lovely||Det. Lt. Nulty|
|1975||We Are No Angels||Mr. Shark|
|1976||The Swiss Conspiracy||Dwight McGowan|
|1977||Assault in Paradise||Chief Haliburton||a.k.a. The Ransom and Maniac!|
|1977||Mission to Glory: A True Story||Benny|
|1977||Satan's Cheerleaders||The Sheriff|
|1977||Love and the Midnight Auto Supply||Tony Santore|
|1977||Quel pomeriggio maledetto||Benny|
|1977||The Moon and a Mumur|
|1978||Tomorrow Never Comes||Captain|
|1979||H. G. Wells' The Shape of Things to Come||Senator Smedley|
|1979||Crossbar||Miles Kornylo||TV movie|
|1979||Guyana: Cult of the Damned||Dave Cole|
|1979||Delta Fox||Lucas Johnson|
|1979||On the Air Live with Captain Midnight||Agent Pierson|
|1982||The Incubus||Hank Walden|
|1985||Treasure of the Amazon||Priest|
|1986||Thunder Run||George Adams|
|1987||Terror Night||Lance Hayward|
|1988||Bonanza: The Next Generation||Capt. Aaron Cartwright||TV movie|
|1988||Messenger of Death||Zenas Beecham|
|1989||Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat||Ethan Jefferson|
|1990||The Graveyard Story||Dr. McGregor|
|1992||Waxwork II: Lost in Time||King Arthur|
|1992||Hammer Down||Lt. Bates||(final film role)|
- Wyndham Wise (April 3, 2011). "John Ireland". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- "Actor John Ireland dies at 78". Las Vegas Review–Journal. Associated Press. 22 Mar 1992. p. 2.f.
- "John Ireland". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "John Ireland". NNDB. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "John Ireland, 78, Longtime Actor With Role in 'All the King's Men'" Bruce Lambert, THE NEW YORK TIMES, March 22, 1992
- "Actor John Ireland Suspended by Studio". Los Angeles Times. December 22, 1949. p. A8.
- "Actor Petitions Court to Break Film Contract". Los Angeles Times. December 15, 1949. p. 26.
- "Actor John Ireland Files $1,756,000 Slander Suit: Charges He Was Dismissed From Television Series by False Claim of Communist Leanings". Los Angeles Times. Mar 3, 1954. p. 10.
- "JOHN IRELAND AGREES TO SETTLING OF SUIT". The New York Times. May 22, 1954. p. 8.
- "Joanne Dru and Ireland Countersued on Movie: Producer Asks for $200,000 Damages Against Their Action for Accounting". Los Angeles Times. Nov 27, 1953. p. 22.
- Scheuer, Philip K. (21 June 1953). "In Debut, John Ireland Directs 2D, 3D, Color and Wide Screen Western: Wide, Colorful Debut". Los Angeles Times. p. D1.
- Ames, Walter (13 July 1955). "VIDEO-RADIO BRIEFS: John Ireland Joins Directing Actors". Los Angeles Times. p. 26.
- "JOHN IRELAND SET FOR 39 TV SHOWS: Actor Will Portray Captain in 'Port of Call,' Warner Brothers' Film Series". The New York Times. Jan 12, 1956. p. 55.
- ""The Fight Back", Riverboat, October 18, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
- Little House on the Prairie episode profile
- "Actor John Ireland dies". The Ottawa Citizen (Final\ ed.). Mar 23, 1992. p. C10.
- "John Ireland; Played Tough Guys in Movies, TV Shows". Los Angeles Times (Home ed.). Mar 22, 1992. p. 38.
- "JOANNE DRU HOSPITALIZED BY BLACKED EYES, PUFFED NOSE". Los Angeles Times. July 7, 1956. p. 3.
- Aline Mosby (7 July 1956). "Ireland, Joanne Land in Hospital After Row". The Washington Post and Times Herald. p. 3.
- "VERY LITTLE ELSE TO DIVIDE: Joanne Dru Gets Divorce, Must Help Pay Off $53,388.66 in Bills". Los Angeles Times. May 17, 1957. p. B1.
- "LATE NEWS: John Ireland Bankrupt". Los Angeles Times. May 5, 1977. p. a1.
- "John Ireland – Hollywood Star Walk –". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-08-09.
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