Ralph Bellamy (1904-1991)
\Ralph Bellamy

Rope Fever, December 4, 1967 Written by Chris Rellas, Directed by David Alexander, Guest Cast: Ralph Bellamy, Anna Lee, George Murdock, Ted Gehring, Ken Mayer, Sam Gilman, Dennis Cross, Hal Baylor

Ralph Bellamy was a veteran actor who had enjoyed stardom for a time and mostly performed in character roles. He had performed for six decades on stage, in films and on television. Tall, well built and distinguished looking with wavy hair, a square jaw, light blue eyes and a booming resonant voice he was a natural for playing authoritarian types. He was born Ralph Rexford Bellamy in Chicago, Illinois on June 17, 1904 the son of an advertising executive. As a youngster he disliked school and studying but he did become the President of his high school drama club. On a summer vacation as a teen he worked for a time as a bellboy at Balboa Bay in California where he met actress Louise Lovely. He told her he wanted to be an actor and she got him a job as an extra in "Wings of Morn." When he returned home he quit school and toured with stock theatre companies, with his good friend, actor Melvyn Douglas, where he learned all aspects of theatre: acting, directing, producing, set design, props, etc. After 10 years he made his Broadway debut and was on his way. In the 1930s he moved to Hollywood and movies. He made his film acting debut in "The Secret Six" (1931) as Johnny Franks. His other films included: "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" (1932) with Shirley Temple, as Dr. Ladd; "Young America" (1932) as Judge Blake; "Ace of Aces" (1933) as Maj. Blake; "Helldorado" (1935) as J.F. Van Avery; "The Awful Truth" (1937) as Daniel 'Dan' Leeson, one of his better roles for which he received and Oscar nomination; "Blind Alley" (1939) as Dr. Shelby; "His Girl Friday" (1940) as Bruce Baldwin; "Brother Orchid" (1940) as Clarence Fletcher; he played famed Detective Ellery Queen in a series of films in the early 1940s starting with "Ellery Queen, Master Detective" (1940); "The Wolf Man" (1941) with Lon Chaney Jr., as Col. Montford; "The Ghost of Frankenstein" (1942) as Erik Ernst; "Lady on a Train" (1942) as Jonathan Waring; "The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell" (1955) as Congressman Frank Reid; "Sunrise at Campobello" (1960) as Franklin D. Roosevelt, one of his finest roles for which he had won a Tony and N.Y. Drama Critics Award on stage; "The Professionals" (1966) as J.W. Grant; "Rosemary's Baby" (1968) as Dr. Abe Sapirstein; "Oh, God!" (1977) as Sam Raven; "Trading Places" (1983) with Eddie Murphy, as Randolph Duke, my favorite of his roles; "The Good Mother" (1988) as Grandfather; "Coming to America" (1988) again as Randolph Duke and "Pretty Woman" (1990) with Julia Roberts, as James Morse, his last film. On TV he was quite busy as a regular on the series: "Man Against Crime" (1949-54) as Mike Barnett; "To Tell the Truth" (1957-59) as Panelist; "Frontier Justice" (1961) as Host; "The Eleventh Hour" (1963-64) as Dr. L. Richard Starke; "The Survivors" (1969-70) as Baylor Carlyle; "The Most Deadly Game" (1970-71) as Ethan Arcane; "Once an Eagle" (1976) a mini-series, as Ed Caldwell; "Hunter" (1977) as Gen. Harold Baker; ""Testimony of Two Men" (1977) a mini-series, as Dr. Jim Spaulding; "Wheels" (1978) a mini-series, as Lowell Baxter; "The Winds of War" (1983) a mini-series, as Pres. Roosevelt; "Space" (1985) a mini-series, as Paul Stidham; "War and Remembrance" (1989) a mini-series, as Pres. Roosevelt and "Christine Cromwell" (1989) as Cyrus Blain. He also appeared in TV movies including: "The Missiles of October" (1974); "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (1976) and "The Fourth Wiseman" (1985). He guested on many series including: "Rawhide"; "Gunsmoke"; "The F.B.I."; "The Bob Newhart Show"; "Little House on the Prairie" and "Matlock." He died of a lung ailment on November 29, 1991 in Santa Monica, California at age 87.

Biography courtesy of GREAT CHARACTER ACTORS