Jeff Chandler (born Ira Grossel; December 15, 1918 – June 17, 1961) was an American film actor and singer in the 1950s, best remembered for playing Cochise in Broken Arrow (1950), and for being one of Universal International's most popular male stars of the decade. He was known for being prematurely gray at an early age.
Chandler became a top leading man. His sex appeal, prematurely gray hair, and ruggedly handsome tanned features put him into drama and costume movies. Among his movies are Iron Man (1951), Female on the Beach (1955), Foxfire (1955), Away All Boats (1956), Toy Tiger (1956), Drango (1957), The Tattered Dress (1957), Man in the Shadow (1957), A Stranger in My Arms (1959), The Jayhawkers!" (1959), Thunder in the Sun (1959), and Return to Peyton Place (1961).
His leading ladies included June Allyson, Joan Crawford, Rhonda Fleming, Maureen O'Hara, Kim Novak, Jane Russell, Esther Williams, and his Brooklyn friend Susan Hayward. His agent was David Barskin of The Barskin Agency in the late 50s.
When his friend Sammy Davis, Jr. lost an eye in an accident and was in danger of losing the other, Chandler offered to give Davis one of his own eyes. Chandler himself had nearly lost an eye and had been visibly scarred in an auto accident years earlier.
Shortly after completing his role in Merrill's Marauders in 1961, Chandler injured his back while playing baseball with U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers who served as extras in the movie. He entered a Culver City hospital and had surgery for a spinal disc herniation, on May 13, 1961. There were severe complications; an artery was damaged and Chandler hemorrhaged. In a seven-and-a-half-hour emergency operation over-and-above the original surgery, he was given 55 pints of blood. Another operation followed, date unknown, where he received an additional 20 pints of blood. He died on June 17, 1961. His death was deemed malpractice and resulted in a large lawsuit and settlement for his children.
At the time he was romantically involved with British actress Barbara Shelley. Tony Curtis and Gerald Mohr were among the pallbearers at Chandler's funeral. He was buried at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City.