Wendell Reid Corey1
was born on 20 Mar 1914 in Dracut, Middlesex Co, MA. He died on 8
Nov 1968 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles Co, CA. The son of Congregationalist
minister, Wendell Corey was pursuing a brief career as a washing machine salesman
when he showed up at the rehearsals for a community play to pick up a friend.
Invited by the director to read for a part, Corey found he liked performing,
and eventually turned pro in summer stock.
He turned to life upon the wicked stage in 1934, the poker-faced Corey made his
way to Broadway in the early 1940s, appearing in several prominent shows. After
a string of Broadway flops, Corey finally scored a success in the original 1945
production of Elmer Rice's Dream Girl.
Corey was signed to a Paramount movie contract by producer Hal Wallis in 1946.
He made his film debut in a strong supporting role in Desert Fury (1947),
and went on to meaty roles in I Walk Alone, The Search, Sorry,
Wrong Number (all 1948), The Accused, Any Number Can Play,
Holiday Affair, The File on Thelma Jordon (all 1949), The Furies,
Harriet Craig (all 1950), The Wild Blue Yonder (1951), Carbine
Williams (1952), and many others.
Over the next two decades he appeared as combination servant-strongarm henchman
to gambler John Hodiak in Corey's debut film, "Desert Fury" (1947),
as a homicide detective opposite Loretta Young in the thriller, "The Accused"
(1948), as an exhausted mobster in "Any Number Can Play" (1949) and
as Frank James in "The Great Missouri Raid" (1951).
The incisive, sharp-eyed Corey spent the next fifteen years alternating between
leads (File on Thelma Jordon), "best friend" supporting characters
(Rear Window), and, most effectively, villains (The Big Knife).
A reasonably good actor, Corey lacked the charisma to make him a star; his few
leading-man turns are bland at best. But he ably projected menace when called
upon to do so, and few could rival his cynical delivery of tart dialogue.
His later films include Rear Window (1954), The Big Knife (1955),
The Killer Is Loose, The Rainmaker (both 1956), Loving You
(1957), Alias Jesse James (1956, as Jesse), Blood on the Arrow (1964),
Agent for H.A.R.M., Picture Mommy Dead, Women of the Prehistoric
Planet, Cyborg 2087 (all 1966), AstroZombies (1968, his career
On TV Corey starred in the weekly series Harbor Command (1957) and The
Eleventh Hour (1961-63).
Intensely interested in politics, Corey was once the president of the Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the director of the Screen Actors, and
served on the Santa Monica City Council. He made a brief but unsuccessful stab
at politics in 1966 whe he ran for but did not win California's Republican congressional
After his defeat, Corey went back into films, but these were very low-budget
Corey died of a liver ailment brought on by alcoholism.
Wendell Reid Corey and Alice Nevin Wiley were married on 14 Nov 1937 in Newton,
Middlesex Co, MA. Wendell Reid Corey and Alice
Nevin Wiley had the following children: