What does the name Victor Mature mean today? Most have either forgotten him or never heard of the man. In his day he was one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. If you are an old movie buff you no doubt know the name. Movies like The Robe come to mind. On the RAS blog this week we throw the spotlight on Victor John Mature (January 29, 1913 – August 4, 1999).
Victor was an American stage, film and television actor who starred most notably in several Biblical movies during the 1950s and was known for his dark good looks and mega-watt smile. His best known film roles include One Million B.C. (1940), My Darling Clementine (1946), Kiss of Death (1947), Samson and Delilah (1949) and The Robe (1953). He also appeared in a large number of musicals opposite such stars as Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable.
Mature studied and acted at the Pasadena Community Playhouse. For three years he lived in a tent in the backyard of Mrs Willigan, a mother of a fellow student, Catherine Lewis. He was spotted by an agent for Hal Roach while acting in a production of To Quito and Back. Mature signed a seven-year contract with Roach in September 1939.
In July 1942, Mature attempted to enlist in the U.S. Navy, but was rejected for color blindness. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard after taking a different eye test the same day. He was assigned to the USCGC Storis, which was historically significant vessel in its own right. He rose to the rank of chief boatswain’s mate and then join the US Coast guard recruitment group. Here he would tour country performing and encouraging young men to join the Coast Guard.
After the war, Mature was cast by John Ford in My Darling Clementine, playing Doc Holliday opposite Henry Fonda’s Wyatt Earp. The film was massive success and propelled Mature to stardom. It is still regarded by many film critics as one of the best Westerns ever made.
In 1974 Victor retired from movies and married Loretta Sebena. They had his only child, daughter Victoria, whom he was very proud. His last feature film appearance was a cameo as a millionaire in Firepower in 1979. Mature was quoted on his decision to retire:
“I was never that crazy about acting. I had a compulsion to earn money, not to act. So, I worked as an actor until I could afford to retire. I wanted to quit while I could still enjoy life… I like to loaf. Everyone told me I would go crazy or die if I quit working. Yeah? Well, what a lovely way to die.”
Victor Mature died of leukemia in 1999 at his Rancho Santa Fe, California home, at the age of 86.
This Week’s Podcast:
On the podcast this week we again have a collection of great stories. Victor Mature takes center stage in the Suspense classic, The Girl in Car 32. This one has an intricate plot that follows a detective as he uses a women to trap a arch criminal. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen to it on your radio Saturday night at 6pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.
June 01 – A woman of Many Names – (REPLAY)
June 11 – Horror Express #16 – (HE16)
June 15 – Crane Creek and Other Stories – (RAS288)
June 22 – Suspense Week – (RAS289)
June 29 – Science Fiction Week – (RAS290)