Wendell Corey
Corey in the trailer for The Search (1948)
Member of the Santa Monica City Council
In office
Personal details
Wendell Reid Corey

(1914-03-20)March 20, 1914
Dracut, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedNovember 8, 1968(1968-11-08) (aged 54)
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Alice Wiley
(m. 1939)

Wendell Reid Corey (March 20, 1914 – November 8, 1968) was an American stage, film, and television actor.

He was President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a board member of the Screen Actors Guild, and also served on the Santa Monica City Council.


Early years

Corey was born in Dracut, Massachusetts,[1] the son of Milton Rothwell Corey (October 24, 1879 – October 23, 1951) and Julia Etta McKenney (April 11, 1882 – June 16, 1947). His father was a Congregationalist clergyman and an actor who appeared in Rawhide as Dr Tucker. Wendell was educated in Springfield, Massachusetts. His ancestors included U.S. Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.[1]


After graduating from high school in Springfield, Corey sold washing machines and refrigerators at a Springfield department store, when he stopped by to see a friend who was acting at the Springfield Repertory Theater. The group needed an actor to play the role of a Swedish janitor in Street Scene. Corey took the role and stayed with the theater group for a year, working in the department store during the day and acting at night. He went into acting full time after that with a theater group in Holyoke. He went on to serve a long apprenticeship in the theater, producing, directing and acting in hundreds of plays in summer stock.[2][3] Corey also was employed by the Federal Theatre Project".[4]


While appearing as the cynical newspaperman in Elmer Rice's comedy Dream Girl (1945), he was seen by producer Hal Wallis, who persuaded him to sign a contract with Paramount and pursue a motion picture career in Hollywood.[5] Corey's feature film debut came as a gangster in Wallis's Desert Fury (1947) starring Burt Lancaster, John Hodiak, Lizabeth Scott, and Mary Astor. In 1947 he appeared in The Voice of the Turtle on stage with Margaret Sullavan in England.[6]

Wallis promoted him to co-star status in The File on Thelma Jordon (1950) where he appeared opposite Barbara Stanwyck. Corey had a good part in Columbia's No Sad Songs for Me (1950) playing Margaret Sullavan's husband.[7]

He co-starred with Lana Turner in A Life of Her Own but pulled out after only a few days claiming he was miscast. He was replaced by Ray Milland.[8]

Corey had one of his most memorable roles when he played Lt. Thomas Doyle in Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. He toured the US on stage in The Caine Mutiny Court Martial in 1954.[9]


Corey and cast of the 1959 summer replacement TV series Peck's Bad Girl

Corey portrayed Lou Gehrig in "The Lou Gehrig Story" for the television series Climax! (1955). He was a series lead in Harbor Command (1957–1958) for which Corey starred with Casey Walters.[10]

Other activities

Corey was President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1961 to 1963 and was a member of the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild. A Republican campaigner in national politics since 1956, Corey was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in April 1965.[11]

Corey supported Barry Goldwater in the 1964 United States presidential election.[12]


Corey died November 8, 1968,[13] at age 54 at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital[14] in Woodland Hills, California, of cirrhosis of the liver as a result of alcoholism. Funeral services were held at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica, California.[15]

Walk of Fame

Wendell Corey has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame awarded for his work in TV, at 6328 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Los Angeles.[16]


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Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1952 Cavalcade of America Away Boarders[17]
1952 Broadway Playhouse The Big Clock[17]
1953 Theatre Guild on the Air Kate Fennigate[18]
1953 Stars over Hollywood Bus Driver's Holiday[19]


  1. ^ a b Corby, Jane (January 22, 1950). "Screenings". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. p. 27. Retrieved June 18, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  2. ^ "Veteran Stage, TV, Film Actor Wendell Corey Dead at Age 54". Boston Globe. United Press International. Retrieved 15 April 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Short Illness Claims Life Of Film Actor". Eugene Register-Guard. November 9, 1968. p. 8A. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Wendell Corey Dies Friday; Liver Ailment". Lawrence Journal World. November 9, 1968. p. 7. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  5. ^ "FILM SCOUT FOUND WENDELL COREY". Times Pictorial. Dublin, Ireland. Nov 11, 1950. p. 5.
  6. ^ Schallert, Edwin (May 5, 1948). "Astaire Will Prepare New Dance Routines". Los Angeles Times. p. 22.
  7. ^ Schallert, Edwin. (Oct 7, 1949). "Wendell Corey Male Star in 'No Sad Songs'; Erickson Gets Ace Role". Los Angeles Times. p. A7.
  8. ^ THOMAS F. BRADY (18 Feb 1950). "RAY MILLAND GETS METRO MOVIE LEAD: Replaces Wendell Corey, Who Withdraws From 'Life of Her Own' During Filming Columbia Releases Ireland Of Local Origin". New York Times. p. 9.
  9. ^ Scheuer, Philip K. (July 18, 1954). "Corey Hits Road With 'Mutiny'". Los Angeles Times. p. D1.
  10. ^ Terrace, Vincent (November 7, 2013). Television Introductions: Narrated TV Program Openings since 1949. Scarecrow Press. p. 84. ISBN 9780810892507 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ "Wendell Corey Wins City Council Seat". Park City Daily News. April 12, 1965. p. 9. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  12. ^ Critchlow, Donald T. (2013-10-21). When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107650282.
  13. ^ "Wendell Corey Dies; Veteran Movie Actor". The Morning Record. November 9, 1968. p. 5. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Wendell Corey Dies". Herald-Journal. November 9, 1968. p. 1. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Wendell Corey Services Held". The Tuscaloosa News. November 12, 1968. p. 2. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Wendell Corey". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  17. ^ a b Kirby, Walter (November 16, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. The Decatur Daily Review. p. 48. Retrieved June 18, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  18. ^ Kirby, Walter (May 24, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. The Decatur Daily Review. p. 48. Retrieved June 28, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  19. ^ Kirby, Walter (October 11, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. The Decatur Daily Review. p. 50. Retrieved July 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
Non-profit organization positions Preceded byValentine Davies President of Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences 1961–1963 Succeeded byArthur Freed