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Robert Shayne
Shayne in 1930
Robert Shaen Dawe

(1900-10-04)October 4, 1900
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 29, 1992(1992-11-29) (aged 92)
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, California
Years active1929–1991
Mary Crouch
(m. 1925; div. 1933)
Mary Sheffield
(m. 1933; div. 1943)
Elizabeth (Bette) McDonald
(m. 1943)

Robert Shayne (born Robert Shaen Dawe, October 4, 1900 – November 29, 1992) was an American actor whose career lasted for over 60 years.[1][2] He was best known for portraying Inspector Bill Henderson in the American television series Adventures of Superman.[3]

Early years

Shayne was born in Yonkers, New York.[3] He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Grosvenor Dawe, and he had a brother, Allen Shaen Dawe.[4] His father was one of the founders of the United States Chamber of Commerce.[5]

Shayne left Boston University in his senior year so that his brother could go to college.[5] For a time, he lived in Birmingham, Alabama, writing advertising copy for a women's clothing store by day and acting in a stock theater company at night. When the store went out of business, he began acting full-time.[6]


Shayne became an actor after having worked as a reporter at the Illustrated Daily Tab in Miami, Florida.[7] His initial acting experience came with repertory companies in Alabama,[8] including the Birmingham Players.[5]


Shayne's first Broadway appearance came by 1931 in The Rap.[8] His other Broadway shows include Yellow Jack (1934), The Cat and the Canary (1935), Whiteoaks (1938), with Ethel Barrymore, and Without Love (1942), with Katharine Hepburn.[2][9]


Shayne in Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947)

Shayne began his film career in 1934, appearing in two features. In 1942, he became a contract actor with Warner Bros.[10] He played many character roles in movies and television, including a film series of Warner Bros. featurettes called the "Santa Fe Trail" series such as Wagon Wheels West,[11] and as a mad scientist in the 1953 horror film The Neanderthal Man.

From Indestructible Man (1956), L-R: Lon Chaney Jr., Joe Flynn, and Robert Shayne

He appears briefly in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest, seated at a booth in a hotel bar, where his character meets Cary Grant's character, just as the latter is about to be kidnapped.[12] He also had a small but pivotal role in the 1953 sci-fi classic Invaders From Mars as a scientist.[13] Shayne enjoyed a brief rebirth in his career when he was cast as the blind newspaper vendor in The Flash television show;[14] he was by this time actually blind and learned his lines by having his wife read them to him and then rehearse until he memorized them.[citation needed]


Shayne portrayed Police Inspector William "Bill" Henderson on the 1950s TV series Adventures of Superman. He appeared sporadically in the early episodes of the series, in part because he was accused by his second wife Mary Sheffield,[15] and came under HUAC scrutiny and was briefly blacklisted on unproven and unspecific charges of association with Communism.[16][17] As the program evolved, especially in the color episodes, he was brought into more and more of them, to the point where he was a regular on the series.[18][19]

Personal life

Shayne married Mary Crouch in 1925.[20] They divorced in 1933 and had one daughter.[5]

In 1933, he married Mary Sheffield. They divorced in 1943[21] and had one daughter.[5]

In 1943, he married Elizabeth McDonald, with whom he had 2 more children. They remained married until his death in 1992.


Shayne died in 1992 of lung cancer at the Motion Picture Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.[9] He was 92 years old. Shayne was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, California.[22]

Selected filmography

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  1. ^ "Robert Shayne". BFI. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Overview for Robert Shayne". Turner Classic Movies.
  3. ^ a b Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 97. ISBN 9780786450190. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  4. ^ "(untitled brief)". Tallahassee Democrat. Florida, Tallahassee. May 28, 1927. p. 2. Retrieved December 20, 2017 – via Open access icon
  5. ^ a b c d e Laura, Wagner (November 2017). "Robert Shayne". Classic Images (509): 72–74.
  6. ^ MacPherson, Virginia (August 9, 1945). "Handsome Robert Shayne A 'Comer' in Hollywood". Tampa Bay Times. Florida, St. Petersburg. United Press. p. 6. Retrieved December 21, 2017 – via Open access icon
  7. ^ Raymer, Dorothy (October 13, 1945). "Robert Shayne, Film Star, Was Once Miami Reporter". The Miami News. Florida, Miami. p. 12. Retrieved December 20, 2017 – via Open access icon
  8. ^ a b Folkart, Burt A. (December 2, 1992). "Robert Shayne, Broadway and Movie Actor". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. p. A 28. Retrieved December 19, 2017 – via Open access icon
  9. ^ a b "Robert Shayne Actor, 92". The New York Times. December 3, 1992. Archived from the original on December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  10. ^ Weaver, Tom (2000). Return of the B Science Fiction and Horror Heroes: The Mutant Melding of Two Volumes of Classic Interviews. McFarland. p. 356. ISBN 9780786407552. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  11. ^ "Warner Bros. Featurettes "Santa Fe Trail" series". The Old Corral. Archived from the original on December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  12. ^ "Robert Shayne".
  13. ^ Alan Jones. "Invaders from Mars". RadioTimes. Archived from the original on May 2, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  14. ^ "Robert Shayne movies, photos, movie reviews, filmography, and biography - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  15. ^ Wagner, Laura (October 11, 2017). "Robert Shayne". Quad-City Times. Iowa, Davenport. Archived from the original on July 8, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  16. ^ Vaughn, Robert (1996). Only Victims. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879100810.
  17. ^ Weaver, Tom (September 28, 2006). Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes. McFarland. ISBN 9780786428571.
  18. ^ "Superman Homepage - Superman on Television".
  19. ^ Hal Erickson (2013). "Robert Shayne - Biography - Movies & TV -". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013.
  20. ^ see the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, NY 12/19/1925, page 7
  21. ^ "Actor Shayne Divorced". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. July 19, 1946. p. 2 - Part II. Retrieved December 22, 2017 – via Open access icon
  22. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 681. ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved December 20, 2017.