John Richard Cox Jr.
April 14, 1913
|Died||February 19, 1995 (aged 81)|
Santa Rosa, California, U.S.
|Education||Case Western Reserve University|
John Howard (born John Richard Cox Jr.; April 14, 1913 – February 19, 1995) was an American actor. He is best remembered for his roles in the films Lost Horizon (1937) and The Philadelphia Story (1940).
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Howard was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of what now is Case Western Reserve University. At college he discovered a love for the theater, and took part in student productions.
One night, a talent scout from Paramount was in Cleveland to see the local stock company. The show was not on that night, so the scout decided to go and see a production at the local university. He was impressed by Howard in a production of John Brown's Body and arranged for a screen test.
He changed his name to John Howard and had a bigger part in Annapolis Farewell (1935).
Paramount promoted him to a leading man in just his fourth film, Millions in the Air (1935), though it was a "B" movie.
Paramount put him in an "A" feature, 13 Hours by Air (1936), and he was fourth billed in the credits. He starred in Border Flight (1936) alongside Frances Farmer and had a good part in Valiant Is the Word for Carrie (1936), with Gladys George.
According to David Shipman, "Howard..., was tried out in various capacities – supporting roles in As, leads in Bs, and on loan-outs. These last could be significant: the smaller studios had restricted contract lists and were prepared to pay well to borrow good-looking guys whose acting consisted mainly of not bumping into the furniture".
Howard's first memorable role came on loan out to Columbia: as Ronald Colman's younger brother in Lost Horizon (1937), directed by Frank Capra. Capra had seen him in Annapolis Farewell and arranged for a screen test. The film was a huge success and really established Howard, who later said "without Lost Horizon I doubt very much whether I would have survived in Hollywood".
Since 1937, Paramount had made a series of "B" movies about Bulldog Drummond. The first of the actors to play the role, Ray Milland, was in Bulldog Drummond Escapes (1937). Milland was becoming a big star, so the studio offered the role to Howard. In his first performance as Drummond, Bulldog Drummond Comes Back (1937), Howard took second billing to John Barrymore who played Drummond's colleague. According to Shipman, Howard "proved himself a resourceful, debonair and witty player, in his double-breasted suits and trilbies an admirable choice."
Howard and Barrymore did Bulldog Drummond's Peril (1938), then he supported Lloyd Nolan and Shirley Ross in Prison Farm (1938). Bulldog Drummond in Africa (1938) was the first Drummong without Barrymore. Howard was in Touchdown, Army (1938), Arrest Bulldog Drummond (1939), Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police (1939), Grand Jury Secrets (1939), and Bulldog Drummond's Bride (1939), the last in the series. As Shipman said, about Drummond, "titles, splendidly, had nothing to do with the plots (since Drummond was never captured, there was nowhere to escape from) and the inconsequence was pleasing... All the while the spider's-web plots (of death threats, disguises, ambushes, sobbing women and booby-trapped motor-cars) hurtled to the screen – under various directors – with superior production values. They are more enjoyable than competitors featuring the Falcon, Charlie Chan, the Lone Wolf, Sexton Blake et al. due in part to Howard's insouciant playing".
The Philadelphia Story
Universal borrowed him to play a key role in Green Hell (1940). MGM used him in The Man from Dakota (1940), supporting Wallace Beery, and The Philadelphia Story (1940), where he played the fiancée of Katharine Hepburn, competing for her amorous attentions with characters played by Cary Grant and James Stewart. It remains one of his best known films.
At Paramount, he supported Basil Rathbone in The Mad Doctor (1941), then Universal gave him the lead in Tight Shoes (1941). At RKO, he supported Adolphe Menjou and Gloria Swanson in Father Takes a Wife (1941), then at Columbia he was Joan Blondell's leading man in Three Girls About Town (1941).
Howard was top billed in Republic Pictures' A Tragedy at Midnight (1942). At Columbia, he had the starring role in The Man Who Returned to Life (1942), and Submarine Raider (1942), then he did Isle of Missing Men (1942) for Monogram Pictures.
Howard served in the United States Navy as a lieutenant during World War II, later becoming an executive officer aboard the minesweeper USS YMS-24, aboard which he participated in landing operations at the Allied invasion of Sicily, Allied invasion of Italy, and Anzio, and deception operations against the island of Sardinia and in "Operation Dragoon" on the South coast of Vichy France. During 'Operation Dragoon' off the French coast on August 16, 1944 USS YMS-24 struck a sea mine, the blast killing its captain and severely damaging the ship. Howard took command and fought to save the ship, jumping into the sea several times to save crew members that had gone into the water. For his actions he was awarded both the United States' Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre.
Return to acting
This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2017)
Upon his return to Hollywood, Howard struggled to re-establish himself. He was told Fox had no projects for him, so got out of his contract with them to do a play that closed out of town. "It was a long, long period of absolute dearth", he later said.
He was in "Entrapment" on NBC Presents in 1949.
Howard was in Models Inc. (1952 film) (1952) and Make Haste to Live (1954) and guest starred on Schlitz Playhouse, Suspense, Four Star Playhouse, and The Loretta Young Show. His first high-profile film in a long while came when he played Laraine Day's husband in The High and the Mighty (1954).
Howard continued to work in TV appearing in General Electric Theater, The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse, The Millionaire, The Whistler, The Ford Television Theatre, The Star and the Story, Science Fiction Theatre, Studio 57, Fireside Theatre, TV Reader's Digest, Front Row Center, and Lux Video Theatre.
Howard's 1960s acting work included guest spots on Lawman, Wagon Train, Men into Space, Cheyenne, The Magical World of Disney, The Americans, Outlaws, Gunslinger, Lock Up, Bronco, Surfside 6, 77 Sunset Strip, Rawhide, Hawaiian Eye, Perry Mason, Branded, Profiles in Courage, Days of Our Lives, and The Lucy Show, and The Legend of Jesse James.
He formed a friendship with Fred MacMurray, star of the TV series My Three Sons, and was a regular guest star on the show, playing MacMurray's boss. He also had a role in the films Destination Inner Space (1966) and The Destructors (1967).
Howard could be seen in Eye for an Eye (1971), The Bold Ones: The New Doctors, Mission: Impossible, Buck and the Preacher (1972), The Brady Bunch, Mod Squad, The ABC Afternoon Playbreak, The New Perry Mason, So Evil, My Sister, Capone (1975), Little House on the Prairie, Bronk, Wonder Woman, Police Woman and The Rockford Files.
Career change to education
In time, Howard moved into the field of specialized education. He taught English at Highland Hall Waldorf School for more than twenty years and helped to start the high school program at the institution.
He and his wife Eva had four children, Daniel, Deborah, Dale, and Deirdre. Dale went on to become an actor and director and the father of actor Noël John Howard. Howard also was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
|One Hour Late||1934||Elevator Operator||Uncredited|
|Car 99||1935||Recruit Carney|
|Four Hours to Kill!||1935||Assistant Repairman|
|Annapolis Farewell||1935||Duncan Haley|
|Millions in the Air||1935||Eddie Warren|
|Soak the Rich||1936||Kenneth "Buzz" Jones|
|Thirteen Hours by Air||1936||Freddie Scott|
|Border Flight||1936||Lt. Dan Conlon|
|Valiant Is the Word for Carrie||1936||Paul Darnley|
|Easy to Take||1936||Rodney Garfield|
|Lost Horizon||1937||George Conway|
|Let Them Live||1937||Dr. Paul Martin|
|Mountain Music||1937||Ardinger Burnside|
|Bulldog Drummond Comes Back||1937||Captain Hugh C. 'Bulldog' Drummond||Lead|
|That Navy Spirit||1937||Chuck Baldwin|
|Bulldog Drummond's Revenge||1937||Captain Hugh C. 'Bulldog' Drummond|
|Hitting a New High||1937||Jimmy James|
|Bulldog Drummond's Peril||1938||Captain Hugh C. 'Bulldog' Drummond|
|Prison Farm||1938||Dr. Roi Conrad|
|Bulldog Drummond in Africa||1938||Captain Hugh C. 'Bulldog' Drummond|
|Touchdown, Army||1938||Cadet Brandon Culpepper|
|Arrest Bulldog Drummond||1938||Captain Hugh C. 'Bulldog' Drummond|
|Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police||1939||Lead|
|Grand Jury Secrets||1939||John Keefe|
|Bulldog Drummond's Bride||1939||Captain Hugh C. 'Bulldog' Drummond||Lead|
|What a Life||1939||Mr. Nelson|
|Disputed Passage||1939||John Wesley Beaven|
|Green Hell||1940||Hal Scott|
|The Man from Dakota||1940||Lt. Oliver Clark|
|The Philadelphia Story||1940||George Kittredge|
|Texas Rangers Ride Again||1940||James Kingston aka Pecos Kid||Lead|
|The Invisible Woman||1940||Richard Russell|
|The Mad Doctor||1941||Gil Sawyer|
|Tight Shoes||1941||Jimmy Rupert||Lead|
|Father Takes a Wife||1941||Frederic Osborne Junior|
|Three Girls About Town||1941||Tommy Hopkins|
|A Tragedy at Midnight||1942||Greg Sherman||Lead|
|The Man Who Returned to Life||1942||David Hampton Jameson / George Bishop||Lead|
|Submarine Raider||1942||Commander Chris Warren||Lead|
|Isle of Missing Men||1942||Merrill Hammond||Lead|
|The Undying Monster||1942||Oliver Hammond|
|Love from a Stranger||1947||Nigel Lawrence|
|I, Jane Doe||1948||William Hilton|
|The Fighting Kentuckian||1949||Blake Randolph|
|Radar Secret Service||1950||Bill Travis|
|Experiment Alcatraz||1950||Dr. Ross Williams|
|Models Inc.||1952||John Stafford|
|Make Haste to Live||1954||Josh Blake|
|The High and the Mighty||1954||Howard Rice|
|The Unknown Terror||1957||Dan Matthews|
|Destination Inner Space||1967||Dr. James|
|The Destructors||1968||Ernest Bushnell|
|El sabor de la venganza||1971|
|Buck and the Preacher||1972||George|
|So Evil, My Sister||1974||Dr. Thomas|
|Capone||1975||Warden J. Johnston||last film|
Television1962 Dr. Guy Omstead episode: 165- The Case of the Capricious Corpse
|Science Fiction Theatre||1955||John Emerson||episode: The Brain of John Emerson|
|Lawman||1960||Lance Creedy||episode: The Showdown|
|Wagon Train||1960||Colonel James Harris||episode: The Colonel Harris Story|
|Cheyenne||1960||John Thompson||episode: Home Is the Brave|
|Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color||1962||Mayor Wood||episodes: Moochie of Pop Warner Football: Pee Wees Versus City Hall & Moochie of Pop Warner Football: From Ticonderoga to Disneyland|
|Rawhide||1962||James Carr||episode: The Captain's Wife|
|Perry Mason||1964||Harley Leonard||episode: The Case of the Ruinous Road|
|My Three Sons||1964||Buddy Albert||episode: Adventures in New York|
|My Three Sons||1965||Mr. Hargraves||episode: Be My Guest|
|My Three Sons||1965–1967||Dave Welch||episodes: Office Mother & Douglas a Go-Go & Charley, the Pigeon & From Maggie with Love & Whatever Happened to Baby Chip? & Stag at Bay & Good Guys Finish Last & Happy Birthday World & A Falling Star & My Pal Dad & TV or Not TV & Weekend in Paradise|
|The Legend of Jesse James||1966||Dr. Samuel||episode: 1863|
|Family Affair||1967||Myron Fox||episode: Star Dust|
|Mannix||1969||Dr. Daniels||episode: A Question of Midnight|
|The Brady Bunch||1971–1972||Dr. Howard & Doctor||episodes: Coming Out Party & Today, I Am a Freshman|
|Mission: Impossible||1972||Foreman||episode: Committed|
|Mod Squad||1973||Dr. Brandson||episode: Put Out the Welcome Mat for Death|
|The New Perry Mason||1973–1974||Judge Channing & Judge||episodes: The Case of the Ominous Oath & The Case of the Tortured Titan|
|Police Woman||1974||Leland Perrier||episode: The End Game|
|Bronk||1976||Judge Sheehan||episode: Long Time Dying|
|Little House on the Prairie||1976||Hiram Potter||episode: The Pride of Walnut Grove|
|Wonder Woman||1977||Dr. Diderich||episode: Last of the $2 Bills|
|Police Woman||1977||David Earl||episode: Bondage|
|The Rockford Files||1978||Mort||episodes: Black Mirror: Parts 1 & 2, (final appearance)|
- Shipman, David (February 27, 1995). "OBITUARY: John Howard". The Independent.
- Rowan, Terry. Whodoneit! A Film Guide. Lulu.com. pp. 31–32. ISBN 9781312308060. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
- Weaver p 191
- "THE LIFE STORY OF JOHN HOWARD: Quiet, But Likes Action on the Screen". Picture Show. 39 (1, 011). London. Sep 10, 1938. p. 18.
- Weaver, Tom John Howard Interview Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers and Writers of the 1940s Through 1960s McFarland, 2006 p 186
- Shaffer, George. (July 3, 1937). "Barrymore Gag Spoils a Take of Crime Movie: John Plays an Inspector in "Bulldog Drummond"". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 10.
- Schallert, Edwin (Sep 3, 1937). "JOHN HOWARD CHOSEN AS LEADING MAN FOR DIVA: Second Pairing of Taylor, Wendy Barrie Planned". Los Angeles Times. p. A18.
- Weaver p 196
- St. Petersburg Times – Feb 15, 1957
- "Full Text Citations For Award of The Navy Cross To U.S. Navy Personnel World War II". Home of Heroes. Archived from the original on 12 April 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
- "Half Hour Video Films Shot in 2 Days, Cost $10,000", The Washington Post, May 1, 1949, p. T1.
- Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 1948, v. 51, no. 6, p. 592.
- "NBC Mulls Video Pix Distrib", Billboard, Nov. 6, 1948, p. 11.
- "John Howard; Movie Hero Earned Honors During World War II". Los Angeles Times (Home ed.). Feb 27, 1995. p. 16.
- Hopper, Hedda (Dec 14, 1954). "Rita Moreno Gets Role in 'The Vagabond King'". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. b10.
- Smith, Cecil (Sep 11, 1955). "'Hudson's Journal' by Lloyd Douglas to Be TV Series". Los Angeles Times. p. d11.
- Wise, James. Stars in Blue: Movie Actors in America's Sea Services. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1997. ISBN 1557509379 OCLC 36824724
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