Ralph Bellamy

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Ralph Bellamy (left) with Eleanor Roosevelt (seated) and Greer Garson filming Sunrise at Campobello (1960)

Ralph Rexford Bellamy (born June 17, 1904 in Chicago , Illinois , † November 29, 1991 in Santa Monica , California ) was an American actor . Over the course of his nearly 70-year acting career, he has become a well-known and respected face in American film, television, and theater. In 1987 Bellamy received an honorary Oscar for his life's work.

life and career

Ralph Bellamy began his acting career in 1922 after graduating from high school. In the years that followed, he traveled to the United States with various theater groups. With the play Town Boy Bellamy made his debut on New York Broadway in 1929 . Two years later he made his film debut opposite Wallace Beery in The Secret Six . In the next few years he mostly took on leading roles in smaller films, but mostly only took on supporting roles in larger productions. In 1937 he got an Oscar nomination for his appearance in the screwball comedy The Terrible Truth , in which he, as a rich but mother-dominated admirer of Irene Dunne's character, loses this to Cary Grant at the end of the film . He had a similar role two years later at Grant's side in His Special Occasion Girl . where he is engaged to Rosalind Russell as a lovable but honest insurance clerk . In this film too, Grant Bellamy snatched the woman away at the end. From an early age he was not limited to portraying positive characters, he also embodied villain roles in some films. In the 1940s he played the title character in the B film series about the detective Ellery Queen .

When his film career did not take the desired course and Bellamy did not make the leap among the top stars in Hollywood, he moved back to Broadway in 1945. There he appeared in several successful pieces in the following years. Ralph Bellamy made his first television appearance in the late 1940s at The Philco Television Playhouse . In 1949 he received his own television series Man Against Crime , of which a total of 122 episodes were produced by 1954. In this series he played in the role of Mike Barnnett one of the first private investigators in television history. At the time of Man Against Crime , Bellamy also had perhaps the greatest personal success of his career: He celebrated great success on Broadway in the 1950s with the impersonation of American President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the play Sunrise at Campobello by Dore Schary . For this he received a Tony Award for Best Actor on Broadway in 1958 . He also played Roosevelt in the 1960 film adaptation of the same name alongside Greer Garson as Eleanor Roosevelt . The reviews for Bellamy's film appearance were once again excellent.

Bellamy made only a few films in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, including the western The Fearful Four (1966), in which he played an oil tycoon, and Roman Polański's classic horror film Rosemary's Baby (1968), in which he played the satanist gynecologist Dr. . Sapirstein played. In 1983 he played Franklin D. Roosevelt again in the miniseries The Firestorm , for which he received an Emmy nomination. In the series sequel, War and Remembrance , he appeared one last time as Roosevelt in 1988. Also in 1983, in the comedy The Soldiers of Fortune , he played the devious Duke brothers together with Don Ameche , who carry out a nasty experiment with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd , but lose their entire fortune in their revenge at the end of the film. In The Prince from Zamunda , he and Ameche played the Duke brothers again in a cameo in 1987 - but this time as poor homeless people. He had his last appearance in 1990 in the romantic comedy Pretty Woman as shipyard owner James Morse, who is fighting for the continuation of his traditional company. In total, he had over 190 film and television appearances.

Ralph Bellamy was awarded the honorary Oscar for life's work in 1987 . He campaigned for the rights of other actors. He was one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild and was president of the Actors' Equity Association, a union for theater actors and theater managers, for over fourteen years.


Ralph Bellamy has been married four times. The marriage with Alice Delbridge lasted from 1927 until the divorce in 1931, they had one child. In 1931 he married Catharine Willard, the marriage was divorced in 1945 after another child. Marriage to actress Ethel Smith also ended in divorce in 1947.

He stayed with his fourth wife Alice Murphy from 1949 until his death. When he died in 1991, he was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood. Bellamy's Oscar statue got his great-nephew, the actor Sam Huntington .

Filmography (selection)


Web links

Commons : Ralph Bellamy  - collection of images, videos and audio files