JOHN GAVIN. 1931 – 2018

John Gavin

The death of JOHN GAVIN on 9th February 2018.  at the age of 86, has been announced.

Born in Los Angeles, Juan Vincent Apablasa had a Chilean father and Mexican  mother, John’s name changed to John Anthony Golenor when his mother married again.  And he became John Gavin in Hollywood.

After studying at Stanford University and getting a degree in economics and Latin American affairs, John served in the Navy during the Korean War.

Producer Bryan Foy was a family friend  and arranged an audition for John at Universal-International. John had no acting experience but Universal saw him as another Rock Hudson – tall, dark and handsome described him perfectly .

He was in several films including QUANTEZ and FOUR  GIRLS IN TOWN before being given the lead in A TIME TO LOVE AND A TIME TO DIE in 1958.


John landed another starring  role, opposite Lana Turner in IMITATION OF LIFE. And then appeared in BACK STREET with Susan Hayward.

His performances never overshadowed the stars . He was a  shoulder to lean on, earnest, even dull, but oh so handsome!


With Susan Hayward.BACK STREET


With Vera Miles. PSYCHO


As Julius Caesar in  SPARTACUS


When the film roles dried up, John tried TV, with DESTRY and CONVOY, both in 1964. Neither show succeeded ,each running only  13 episodes .







back row: John Gavin, James Fox.

front row: Mary Tyler Moore, Julie Andrews, Carol Channing,  Beatrice Lillie.



With Constance  Towers.

John’s  first marriage to Cicely  Evans lasted from  1957 to 1965. He then married actress/singer Constance Towers in 1974.

In 1973 he toured in the musical, “See Saw ” with Lucie Arnaz.

In 1980, he played Cary Grant in the TV movie, “Sophia Loren,Her Own Story.”

So Universal didn’t get the next Rock Hudson, but John Gavin, in under a decade, managed to appear in films directed by Hitchcock, Stanley  Kubrick and Douglas Sirk. And to costar with Lana Turner,Susan  Hayward, Sophia  Loren and Doris  Day.

And he was signed to be James Bond in “Diamonds Are Forever” until Sean Connery was persuaded to return as Bond. I read that John received his full salary of $100,00!

Of all his films, my personal favourite is “Back Street” (1961).

Not a bad innings in a career of just over 20 films.

He was president of the Screen Actors Guild 1971-1973 . Under Ronald Reagan’s administration, John became the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico in 1981 and remained in that position till 1986.

A business career followed.



4 responses »

  1. Enjoyed your post. I do recall when he was made the ambassador to Mexico, a Mexican politician joked that he wanted President Reagan to appoint Wonder Woman, as that tv show was popular across the border!

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