RALPH BELLAMY Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Ralph Rexford Bellamy                                                                 
Born: 17 June 1904 Chicago, Illinois                                                         
Died: 29 November 1991 Santa Monica, California                                             
Ralph Rexford Bellamy (June 17, 1904 - November 29, 1991) was a Tony Award-winning           
American actor with a career spanning sixty-two years.                                       
Bellamy was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Lilla Louise (nee Smith), a               
native of Canada, and Charles Rexford Bellamy. He began his acting career on                 
stage, and by 1927 owned his own theatre company. In 1931, he made his film                 
debut and worked constantly throughout the decade to establish himself as a                 
capable supporting actor. Bellamy received the lead role in the 1936 film                   
Straight from the Shoulder.                                                                 
He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role               
in The Awful Truth (1937) opposite Irene Dunne and Cary Grant and played a                   
similar part (the naive, aw-shucks boyfriend competing with the sophisticated               
light-comedy Grant character) in His Girl Friday (1940). He portrayed detective             
Ellery Queen in a few films during the 1940s, but as his film career had not                 
progressed, he returned to the stage, where he continued to perform throughout               
the fifties. Highly regarded within the industry, he was a founder of the Screen             
Actors Guild and served as President of Actors' Equity from 1952-1964.                       
He was briefly married to organist Ethel Smith. From the Ethel Smith entry in               
Whatever Became Of ....? , Third Series by Richard Lamparski, (c)1970 Crown                 
Publishers, Inc., NYC:                                                                       
"In 1945 Ethel married Ralph Bellamy, who at the time was appearing on Broadway             
in State of the Union, and the couple lived in Ethel's Park Vendome apartment.               
In 1947 Bellamy walked out, stating that he had no intention of paying his wife             
alimony. Ethel charged abandonment and claimed that he drank heavily, that he               
was moody, and would lock himself in his room. The organist said that her                   
husband became jealous when at their parties she received most of the attention.             
Bellamy contended that she had advised him to be home fifteen minutes after his             
final curtain, or he would find the door locked."                                           
Bellamy was also married to Alice Delbridge (1927-1930), Catherine Willard (1931-1945),     
and, finally, Alice Murphy (1949-1991). Bellamy was a regular panelist on the               
CBS television game show To Tell the Truth during its initial run. He also                   
starred in thetelevision detective series Follow that Man.                                   
in Sunrise at Campobello (1960)                                                             
On Broadway he appeared in one of his most famous roles, as Franklin Delano                 
Roosevelt in Sunrise at Campobello. He later starred in the 1960 film version.               
In the summer of 1961, Bellamy hosted nine original episodes of a CBS Western               
anthology series called Frontier Justice, a Dick Powell Four Star Television                 
production. Lew Ayres and Melvyn Douglas had hosted the replacement program in               
the summers of 1958 and 1959, respectively.                                                 
On film, he also starred in Rosemary's Baby (1968) as a devilish physician,                 
before turning to television during the 1970s. An Emmy Award nomination for the             
mini-series The Winds of War (1983) - in which Bellamy reprised his Sunrise at               
Campobello role of Franklin Roosevelt - brought him back into the limelight.                 
This was quickly followed by his role as Randolph Duke, a conniving billionaire             
alongside Don Ameche in Trading Places (1983).                                               
In the 1988 Eddie Murphy film, Coming to America, Bellamy and co-star Don Ameche             
reprised a one-scene cameo of their roles as the Duke brothers. In Trading                   
Places, Randolph and Mortimer Duke lost their enormous fortune in that film                 
because of Murphy's character. In Coming to America, the brothers are now                   
homeless and living on the streets. Akeem (Murphy) gives them a paper bag filled             
with money, which they gratefully accept and exclaim "We're Back!" (while                   
failing to notice that the generous Prince Akeem bears an uncanny resemblance to             
Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy), the man who ruined them in Trading Places).                   
In 1984, he was presented with a Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors               
Guild, and in 1987 received an Honorary Academy Award "for his unique artistry               
and his distinguished service to the profession of acting".                                 
Among his later roles was a memorable appearance as a once-brilliant but                     
increasingly forgetful lawyer sadly skewered by the Jimmy Smits character on an             
episode of L.A. Law.                                                                         
He continued working regularly and gave his final performance in Pretty Woman (1990).       
He died as a result of a lung ailment in Santa Monica, California at the age of             
87, and was buried in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.