Friday, March 14, 2008

A Couple of 'Gangsters' - Marc Lawrence and Sheldon Leonard

Marc Lawrence specialized in playing sinister characters, usually 'gangster-type' roles. His distinguishing feature was a 'pockmarked' face. He was very active in the 1930s through the 1950s, and then was seen in many tv shows into the 1990s.

He was living in Palm Springs, California, when I called him in 1980. He was very cordial, and we had a brief chat. I told him I was sending him a photo to sign, and he welcomed it, being appreciative that I thought him worthy of adding to my collection.

He returned the photo, signed, "with special appreciation to a devoted fan", with this added comment: "I never thought I looked so good". He also enclosed this 'recent' photo, with the comment "thank you for putting me in your collection". I still don't know why he dated the first photo '1980' and the second '1981'.

Sheldon Leonard was another character actor who specialized in playing 'heavies', usually gangsters. While he was very versatile in other roles, it's for his 'tough guy' portrayals I'll remember him. He acted during the same period as Marc Lawrence, except that in the 1950s, Mr. Leonard went on to become a writer, director and producer in television too.

Some of the popular tv shows he produced were "The Danny Thomas Show", "The Dick Van Dyke Show", "The Andy Griffith Show", and "I Spy" (how's that for a jump? - from comedy to espionage!).

I wrote him, requesting a photo, and he sent me this very nice portrait.

No comments: