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!
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.
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.