Sunday, June 11, 2017

"King of Kings" Actor Ron Randell 2005 Westwood Village Cemetery

Ronald Egan "Ron" Randell (October 8, 1918 – June 11, 2005) was an Australian film and stage actor who also worked in the USA and Britain.


Australian career

Randell was born Sydney, Australia. He started his career as a stage and radio performer in his teens. He soon established himself as a leading male juvenile for radio, acting for 2KY Players, George Edwards, BAP and on Lux Playhouse. He also worked as a compere for variety shows, in particular with Jack Davey.[1] The majority of his stage work was done at the Minerva Theatre, including performances in Of Mice and Men and The Voice of the Turtle.

In 1943-44 he toured America, working in theatre and radio in San Francisco and Los Angeles, before returning to Sydney.[2] Around this time he changed his professional name from "Ron Randall" to "Ron Randell" to avoid confusion with actor George Randall.

Randell's break came when he was spotted by producer Nick Perry at the Minerva Theatre performing in While the Sun Shines.[3] This led to Randell being cast as the lead in Smithy, a biographical film about the pioneering Australian aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, who made the first flight across the Pacific (from the United States to Australia) in 1928. (The film was released as Pacific Adventure in the United States and as Southern Cross in the UK).

Randell had previously appeared in another film, A Son Is Born, opposite Peter Finch and Muriel Steinbeck. Although made before Smithy, its release was held off until after the latter film had come out, to take advantage of its publicity.[4]


Smithy had been made with funds from Columbia Pictures, who offered Randell a long-term contract and he moved to Hollywood in October 1946.[5][6]

Columbia cast Randell as Bulldog Drummond in two low-budget films, Bulldog Drummond at Bay and Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back. (These were made for an independent company, Venture, but released through Columbia.)[7] Columbia were impressed enough by this to cast Randell in a good support roles in an expensive "A" production, It Had to Be You (1947).[8] This was followed by The Mating of Millie (1947)[9] and the prestigious The Loves of Carmen (1948), which indicated he was one of Columbia's bright new stars.[10] Then came Sign of the Ram and two lower budgeted films The Lone Wolf and His Lady and Make Believe Ballroom.[11]

He continued to work in television and theatre and had a number of good roles for other studios, including:

Kiss Me, Kate (as Cole Porter), 

I Am a Camera, 

The She-Creature and The Longest Day.

Arguably his best performance was in King of Kings, as the Roman centurion Lucius, who defends Christ at his trial as a sort of impromptu legal counsel, and presumably becomes converted to Christianity after the Crucifixion.


Frustrated at the progress of his career, Randell moved to Britain in the 1950s.[12] From October 1954 to December 1955, Randell hosted the ABC anthology series The Vise. In 1957 to 1958 he starred in the lead role in O.S.S..

Later career

After he returned to Hollywood, in 1964 he appeared as Hubert Ambrose in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Illicit Illusion." He guest starred twice on Bewitched in 1964 and 1967 and played a lead role in the two-part The Contenders episodes for the Mission: Impossible series in 1968. During this time Randell played in several European films such as Savage Pampas (1966).

Ron Randell's Broadway credits included Terence Rattigan's The Browning Version (1948), Candida (1952), The World of Suzie Wong (1958), Butley (1972), Mrs. Warren's Profession (1976), Bent (1979), Duet for One (1981) and The School for Scandal (1995). He returned to Australia in 1969 to appear in There's a Girl in My Soup.[13]

Personal life

Randell was married three times. He married his first wife, stage actress Elaine Diana Maltzman, in New Canaan, Connecticut, in October 1948.[14] They divorced in 1949.[15] He was engaged to actress Amanda Blake and they planned to marry in 1951[16] but there seems no evidence they went through with their plans. He was engaged to Marie Keith in September 1952,[17] and they married in October that year. However, they separated in 1953, at which time he was seen with Amanda Blake, who was described as his "former fiancee."[18] Marie Keith and Randell were divorced in 1955.[19]

He married Laya Raki in 1955 and they remained together until his death in Los Angeles in 2005[20] following a stroke. He was 86. He is interred at Westwood Village Cemetery

Selected credits


South West Pacific (1943) (short) as U.S. Soldier
To Have and Have Not (1944) as Naval Ensign (uncredited)
Smithy (1946) as Charles Kingsford-Smith
A Son Is Born (1946) as David Graham
Bulldog Drummond at Bay (1947) as Hugh C. 'Bulldog' Drummond
Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1947) as Bulldog Drummond
It Had to Be You (1947) as Oliver H.P. Harrington
The Sign of the Ram (1948) as Dr. Simon Crowdy
The Mating of Millie (1948) as Ralph Galloway
The Loves of Carmen (1948) as Andrés
The Lone Wolf and His Lady (1949) as Michael Lanyard / The Lone Wolf
Make Believe Ballroom (1949) as Leslie Todd

Omoo-Omoo the Shark God (1949) as Jeff Garland

Tyrant of the Sea (1950) as Lt. Eric Hawkins

Counterspy Meets Scotland Yard (1950) as Agent Simon Langton
Lorna Doone (1951) as Tom Faggus
China Corsair (1951) as Paul Lowell

The Brigand (1952) as Capt. Ruiz

Captive Women (1952) as Riddon

The Mississippi Gambler (1953) as George Elwood
Kiss Me Kate (1953) as Cole Porter
The Triangle (1953) as Sam (segment "American Duel")
The Girl on the Pier (1953) as Nick Lane
One Just Man (1954)
I Am a Camera (1954) as Clive
Desert Sands (1955) as Pvt. Peter Ambrose Havers
Three Cornered Fate (1955) as Host
Count of Twelve (1956) as Host
Quincannon, Frontier Scout (1956) as Capt. Bell
Bermuda Affair (1956) as Chuck Walters
The She-Creature (1956) as Police Lt. Ed James
Beyond Mombasa (1956) as Eliot Hastings
The Hostage (1956) as Bill Trailer
Morning Call (1957) as Frank Wenzel The Girl in Black Stockings (1957) as Edmund Parry

Davy (1958) as George

Most Dangerous Man Alive (filmed 1958, released 1961) as Eddie Candell

King of Kings (1961) as Lucius
The Phony American (1961) as Captain Smith, USAF
The Longest Day (1962) as Joe Williams

Follow the Boys (1963) as Lt. Cmdr. Ben Bradville

Gold for the Caesars (1963) as Centurion Rufus

The Outer Limits "The Duplicate Man" (1964) as Henderson James

Das Haus auf dem Hügel (de) (1964) as Allan Wilton, Kriminalkommissar
Legend of a Gunfighter (1964) as Al Nutting
Savage Pampas (1966) as Padrón
To Chase a Million (1967) as Michael
Whity (1971, German film) as Benjamin Nicholson
The Seven Minutes (1971) as Merle Reid
Exposed (1983) as Curt (final film role)

Radio credits

The Fatal Truth (1938)
Mutiny of the Bounty (1938)
Spy Exchange (1938)
Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1939)
Another Language (1940)
Star Parade (1941) – compere
Three Men on a Horse (1942)
Prisoner at the Bar (1944) – as Roger Casement
How Green was my Valley
When a Girl Marries (1946)


Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1940) – Minerva Theatre, Sydney
The Voice of the Turtle (1944)
The Browning Version / Harlequinade (1949)
Candida (1952)
The World of Suzie Wong (1958–60)
There's a Girl in My Soup (1967) – Australia[21]
Butley (1972–73)
Sherlock Holmes (1975–76)
Mrs Warren's Profession (1976)
No Man's Land (1976)
Bent (1979–80)
Duet for One (1981–82)
The School for Scandal (1995)


1. Richard Lane, The Golden Age of Australian Radio Drama, Melbourne University Press, 1994 p248
2. ""STARS OF THE AIR" YOUNG ACTOR IN 'FRISCO AND LOS ANGELES.". Kilmore Free Press. Kilmore, Vic.: National Library of Australia. 18 May 1944. p. 3.
3. '"SMITHY"—ACTOR BY ACCIDENT!', The Canberra Times Tuesday 8 October 1946 p 3
4. Richard Lane, The Golden Age of Australian Radio Drama, Melbourne University Press, 1994 p250
5. 'HOLLYWOOD CONTRACT FOR SYDNEY ARTIST', The Canberra Times, Thursday 26 September 1946 p 2
6. "Australian Brides Sail for U.S." New York Times 29 Oct 1946: 10.
7. "RON RANDELL TO DO FILM FOR COLUMBIA: ONE-THIRD OF CAST" New York Times 23 November 1946: 22.
8. "GROSS BUYS RIGHTS TO FILM MRS. MIKE': Pays $200,000 for Novel by Freedmans -- UA to Release Story of Mountie's Wife" by THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 29 April 1947: 32.
9. "STUDIO BRIEFS" Los Angeles Times 19 June 1947: A2.
11. "Aussie Marvels At Movie Love" by Richard L. Coe The Washington Post; 2 November 1948; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post pg. 17
12. "Ran's back in Hollywood.". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 26 October 1960. p. 91.
13. "RON RANDELL IS HOME AGAIN.". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 26 November 1969. p. 15.
14. "Ron Randell weds secretly". (18 October 1948). Townsville Daily Bulletin, p. 2.
15. 'RANDELL'S WIFE TO SUE FOR A DIVORCE', The Canberra Times, Saturday 5 February 1949 p 1
16. 'To Marry Ron Randell', The Canberra Times, Saturday, 21 July 1951 p 2
17. [1]
18. [2]
19. "Randell loses a wife". (18 June 1955). The Argus, p. 3
20. Ron Randell, 86
21. "RON RANDELL IS HOME AGAIN.". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 26 November 1969. p. 15.

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