DeWilde is best known for his performance as Joey Starrett in the film Shane
(1953) for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
. He also starred in his own sitcom Jamie
and became a household name making numerous radio and TV appearances before being featured on the cover of Life
magazine on March 10, 1952, for his second Broadway outing, Mrs. McThing
He continued acting in stage, film and television roles into adulthood before his death at age 30 in a car crash in Colorado on July 6, 1972.
Andre Brandon deWilde was the son of Frederic A. "Fritz" deWilde and Eugenia (née Wilson) deWilde.
Fritz deWilde was the only son of Dutch immigrants who changed their surname from Neitzel-de Wilde to "deWilde" when they emigrated to the United States. He was a descendant of the Dutch merchant and seigneurAndries de Wilde
, who was married to Cornelia Henrica Neitzel. Fritz deWilde became an actor and Broadway production stage manager. Eugenia was a part-time stage actress.
DeWilde made his much-acclaimed Broadway debut at the age of seven in The Member of the Wedding
. He was the first child actor to win the Donaldson Award, and his talent was praised by John Gielgud
the following year. He also starred in the 1952 film version of the play, which was directed by Fred Zinnemann
In 1952 deWilde acted in the film Shane
as Joey Starrett and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance, becoming the youngest nominee for the time in a competitive category. He had the lead role in his own television series, Jamie
which aired in 1953 and 1954. Although the series was popular, it was canceled due to a contract dispute.
In 1956 he was featured with Walter Brennan
, Phil Harris
, and Sidney Poitier
in the coming-of-age Batjac
movie production of Good-bye, My Lady
, adapted from James Street
's book. This film showcased the then-rare dog breed Basenji
, the African barkless dog, to American audiences.
DeWilde shared an onscreen camaraderie with both James Stewart
and Audie Murphy
in the 1957 western Night Passage
. In 1958 deWilde continued his career, starring in The Missouri Traveler
sharing lead billing with Lee Marvin
in another coming-of-age film, this one set in the early 1900s. He made a mark on screen at age 17 as an adolescent father in the 1959 drama Blue Denim
, co-starring Carol Lynley
, with the then-mature theme of abortion
, even though the word is never used in the film. He guest-starred on many TV series, including Alcoa Theatre
and the popular Western, Wagon Train
In the 1959 Wagon Train
episode, "The Danny Benedict Story", deWilde starred in the title role as the estranged, musically-inclined son of a stern Army colonel.
Brandon deWilde, 1963
In 1961 deWilde appeared in the Alfred Hitchcock Presents
episode "The Sorcerer's Apprentice
". He portrayed Hugo, a mentally impaired youth who could not separate fact from fantasy. After seeing a magician saw a woman in half
at a carnival, Hugo emulates the trick and kills a woman by sawing her in half. The episode never aired on NBC because the finale was deemed "too gruesome" by 1960s television standards. The episode was included in Alfred Hitchcock Presents
syndication and was released in public-domain VHS, DVD and video on demand
After 1965, many of his roles were limited to television guest appearances. "Being small for his age and a bit too pretty ... in his favour as a child ... worked against him as an adult", wrote author Linda Ashcroft
after talking with deWilde at a party. "He spoke of giving up movies until he could come back as a forty-year-old character actor".
DeWilde's final western role was in Dino De Laurentiis
' 1971 Spaghetti Western The Deserter
, one year before his death.
He played adjutant Lieutenant Ferguson who meets with an untimely end. He made his last screen appearance in Wild In The Sky
Parsons and Harris later co-wrote a song titled "In My Hour of Darkness", the first verse of which refers to the car crash that killed deWilde.
DeWilde was married twice and had one son. His first marriage was to writer Susan M. Maw, whom he married in 1963. The couple had a son, Jesse, before divorcing in 1969.
He married Janice Gero in April 1972, three months before his death.
On July 6, 1972, deWilde was in Denver, Colorado, for a stage production of Butterflies Are Free
He was killed in a traffic accident in the Denver suburb of Lakewood
DeWilde was driving a camper van that went off the roadway, struck a guardrail and then a parked truck. DeWilde was alone in his vehicle and not wearing a seatbelt. His camper rolled onto its side and pinned him in the wreckage. He was taken to St. Anthony Hospital, where he died at 7:20 p.m. of multiple injuries that included a broken back, neck, and leg. He was thirty years old.
- ^ Obituary Variety, July 12, 1972.
- ^ a b "Brandon deWilde, 30, Is Killed In Traffic Accident in Colorado". The New York Times. July 7, 1972.
- ^ a b c d e f Aylesworth, Thomas G., Hollywood Kids c. 1987, E. P. Dutton, New York, NY, ISBN 0-525-24562-6 (pp. 233–235)
- ^ Lillian and Helen Ross, The Player: A Profile of an Art, c. 1961, New York, NY. "Brandon deWilde," p. 43 First Limelight Edition, 1984
- ^ Brandon deWilde Acting Credits at IMDb
- ^ Grams, Martin and Patrik Winstrom, The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion c. 2001, OTR Publishing, Churchville, MD, ISBN 0-9703310-1-0 (pp. 385–388)
- ^ Parker, Vernon. "On This Day in History, April 9: Gifted Young Brooklynite". brooklyneagle.com.
- ^ Ashcroft, Linda, Wild Child: Life With Jim Morrison c. 1997, Thunder's Mouth Press, New York, NY, Da Capo Press, c. 1999, ISBN 1-56025-249-9
- ^ "Wildest Westerns Magazine". Archived from the original on 2001-02-22. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
- ^ Remembering Brandon.net/Jamming With Brandon
- ^ Hoskyns, Barney (2009). Waiting for the Sun: A Rock 'n' Roll History of Los Angeles. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 223. ISBN 978-0-879-30943-5.
- ^ "deWilde Sued". The Tuscaloosa News. March 23, 1969. p. 36.
- ^ a b "deWilde Known for 'Shane'". The Denver Post. July 7, 1972. p. 37.
- ^ "Lakewood Wreck Claims Actor". The Denver Post. July 7, 1972. p. 3.
- ^ "Brandon deWilde Dies in Accident". The Times-News. July 7, 1972. p. 3.
- ^ "Accident claims film, stage actor Brandon deWilde". The Bulletin. July 7, 1972. p. 7.
- Best, Marc. Those Endearing Young Charms: Child Performers of the Screen (South Brunswick and New York: Barnes & Co., 1971), pp. 62–67.
- Dye, David. Child and Youth Actors: Filmography of Their Entire Careers, 1914-1985. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1988, pp. 56–57.
- Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, pp. 232–233.
- McLean, Patrisha, All Fall Down, The Brandon deWilde Story
Last edited on 25 July 2021, at 19:09
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