Saturday, May 25, 2024

Godspeed Darryl Hickman

Darryl Hickman, who appeared in such movies as The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), and The Tingler (1959), and later did a good deal of voice work on television cartoons, died on May 24 2024 at the age of 92.

Darryl Hickman was born  on July 28 1931 in Hollywood, California. His father was an insurance salesman. His younger brother was Dwayne Hickman, who would later become famous as the title character on the classic sitcom Dobie Gillis. Darryl Hickman would appear on three episodes of the show in its first season as Dobie's older brother Davey.

He was discovered by one of his father's clients, a former Ziegfeld Girl named Ethel Meglin who had a troupe of child performers known as Meglin Kiddies. It was a year after becoming one of Meglin Kiddies that Darryl Hickman signed with Paramount. He made his film debut in Three Cheers for Love (1936). He had an uncredited role in the classic The Prisoner of Zenda (1937). In the late Thirties he appeared in the movies If I Were King (1938), The Star Maker (1938), Emergency Squad (1938), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Farmer's Daughter (1940), Untamed (1940), The Way of All Flesh (1940), Prairie Law (1940), and Mystery Sea Raider (1940).

In the Forties he appeared in the movies Sign of the Wolf (1941), Men of Boys Town (1941), Coffins on Wheels (1941), Mob Town (1941), Glamour Boy (1941), Young America (1942), Joe Smith, American (1942), Jackass Mail (1942), Northwest Rangers (1942), Keeper of the Flame (1942), The Human Comedy (1943), Assignment in Brittany (1943), Henry Aldrich, Boy Scout (1944), Song of Russia (1944), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), And Now Tomorrow (1944), Salty O'Rourke (1945), Captain Eddie (1945), Kiss and Tell (1945), Leave Her to Heaven (1945), Two Years Before the Mast (1946), The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), Boys' Ranch (1946), The Devil on Wheels (1947), Black Gold (1947), Dangerous Years (1947), The Sainted Sisters (1948), Fighting Father Dunne (1948), Big Town Scandal (1948), Alias Nick Beal (1949), The Set-Up (1949), Any Number Can Play (1949), A Kiss for Corliss (1949), and The Happy Years (1950). He made his television debut in 1950 in an episode of Pulitzer Prize Playhouse (1950).

In the Fifties Darryl Hickman increasingly appeared on television. As mentioned above, he appeared in three episodes of Dobie Gillis as Dobie's older brother Davey Gillis, who was away at college. He also guest starred on the shows Sky King; Mark Saber; The Ford Television Theatre; The Ranger Rider; Biff Baker, U.S.A.; Footlights Theatre; The Lone Ranger; Waterfront; Annie Oakley; Public Defender; Schlitz Playhouse of Stars; Sneak Preview; The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp; The Sheriff of Cochise; Panic!; Perry Mason; Climax!; Alfred Hitchcock Presents; Playhouse 90; Men of Annapolis; General Electric Theatre; Studio One; Matinee Theatre; Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse; Pursuit; Wanted: Dead or Alive; Tales of Wells Fargo; Whirlybirds; Walt Disney Presents; Gunsmoke; The Millionaire; The DuPont Show with June Allyson; The Man and the Challenge; and The Detectives. He appeared in the movies Lightning Strikes Twice (1951), Criminal Lawyer (1951), Submarine Command (1951),  Destination Gobi (1953), Island in the Sky (1953), Sea of Lost Ships (1953), Southwest Passage (1954), Prisoner of War (1954), Ricochet Ronance (1954), Many Rivers to Cross (1955), Tea and Sympathy (1956), The Iron Sheriff (1957), The Persuader (1957), and The Tingler (1957).

In the Sixties he starred on the Civil War drama television series The Americans. He guest starred on The Loretta Young Show, Westinghouse Preview Theatre, The United States Steel Hour, 87th Precinct, Insight; Rawhide; The Untouchables; Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Colour; Dr. Kildare; Vacation Playhouse; New York Television Theatre, and Love, American Style.

From 1975 to 1977 Darryl Hickman served as an executive producer on the daytime soap opera Love of Life. He also served as a producer on the short-lived sitcom A Year at the Top. He was later put in charge of CBS's daytime programming and spent five years in the position. During the Seventies he guest starred on the TV shows Maude and All in the Family. He provided additional voices for the Saturday morning cartoon Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo. In the movie Network (1976) he played an executive from UBS's West Coast Special Programs Department.

In the Eighties he appeared in the movies Looker (1981) and Sharky's Machine (1981). He was regular voice actor on several Saturday morning cartoons and other television cartons, including Space Stars, Pac-Man, The Biskitts, Challenge of the GoBots, Pole Position, Super Friends, The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible; Wildfire, Johnny Quest, Sky Commanders, and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. He guest starred on the shows Whiz Kids and Beauty and the Beast.

In the Nineties Darryl Hickman guest starred on Baywatch and The Nanny. He continued to provide voices for The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible. In 2006 he and several other former child actors appeared on Turner Classic Movies, where they were interviewed by Robert Osborne. Darryl Hickman also appeared at the TCM Classic Film Festival multiple times.

Darryl Hickman also wrote several episodes of The Loretta Young Show and one episode of Hawaiian Eye. In 2007 he published a book on acting, The Unconscious Actor: Out of Control, In Full Command.

Darryl Hickman was a remarkable actor who had great range. He played Danny Harland, the younger brother of Richard Harlan (Cornel Wilde), left disabled by polio, in Leave Her to Heaven. He played a delinquent in Men of Boys Town. In The Human Comedy he played Lionel, an intellectually disabled, but sensitive and at times insightful boy.  In Tea and Sympathy, he played Al, the sympathetic roommate of Tom Robinson Lee (John Kerr). He gave some great performances on television as well, In the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece," he played Steve Harris, a somewhat duplicitous, poor young man engaged to the wealthy Edna Hammar (Nancy Hadley).  In the Gunsmoke episode, "The Choice" he played Andy Hill, a young gunslinger who appears to want to give up using his guns. He also did a good job playing Dobie Gillis's  older, but somewhat wiser brother Davey on the classic sitcom Dobie Gillis. Darryl Hickman gave many great performances throughout his career and played a wide variety of roles.

No comments: