He was born in 1917, in Little Rock, the son of a highway construction contractor. After graduating from Central High School, he attended the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. While in college, he sang for local events and venues, and modeled for department stores. After his freshman year he left school and moved to California in pursuit of a singing career. He got jobs in nightclubs as a big band singer and, for a time, sang with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. In 1939, he married Frances Ellen Hayes of Little Rock in Winfield Methodist Church.
In 1937, at the age of 19, he got a small role in a Hollywood film, followed quickly by a larger role in a film with Harry Carey and Van Heflin, “Annapolis Salute.” Prior to WWII, he appeared in 21 movies with major stars like Preston Foster, Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers, Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Ronald Colman, Tim Holt and James Stewart. During the war, he appeared in 15 movies. He became one of the “Dead End Kids” in “Mug Town” in 1942. In 1947 and 1948, he was in five movies, the final one being Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rope” with Stewart and Farley Granger.
He returned to Little Rock in 1948 and became an insurance agent. He died in 1995 at the age of 77.
Who was this notable Arkansan who, in his final film, was quickly murdered and played the corpse for the rest of the movie?
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