Dall was born John Jenner Thompson in New York City, New York, the second son of Charles Jenner Thompson, a civil engineer, and his wife Henry (née Worthington).
Primarily a stage actor, he is best remembered today for two film roles; the cool-minded intellectual killer in Alfred Hitchcock's film Rope, and the trigger-happy lead in the 1950 noir Gun Crazy. He also had a substantial role in Stanley Kubrick's film Spartacus.
He first came to fame as the young prodigy who comes alive under the tutelage of Bette Davis in The Corn Is Green, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Warner Bros signed him to a contract to make the film but they let him go in 1946.
In 1962 Dall made two guest appearances on Perry Mason: "The Case of the Lonely Eloper", and the murder victim in "The Case of the Weary Watchdog." In 1963 he again portrayed the murder victim in "The Case of the Reluctant Model." He made his fourth and final appearance on the show in the 1965 episode, "The Case of the Laughing Lady."
Dall died in Hollywood, California. Sources indicate he died of a heart attack.
Arthur Laurents had a four-year affair with Farley Granger, who starred with John Dall in Rope, the 1948 Hitchcock thriller for which Laurents wrote the screenplay. Dall was also gay, as was a third actor in the film whom Laurents had also dated. "The studios didn't care what anybody did about anything so long as it was kept private," said Laurents. "There was wholesale fucking of all kinds in Hollywood then." --Charles Kaiser. The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America (Kindle Locations 934-937). Kindle Edition.Further Readings:
Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969 by William J. Mann
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st edition (October 15, 2001)
Amazon: Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969
William Mann's Behind the Screen is a thoughtful and eye- opening look at the totality of the gay experience in studio-era Hollywood. Much has been written about how gays have been portrayed in the movies but no book— until now— has looked at their influence behind the screen. Whether out of or in the closet, gays and lesbians have from the very beginning played a significant role in shaping Hollywood. Gay actors were among the earliest matinee idols and gay directors have long been among the most popular and commercially successful filmmakers. In fact, gay set and costume designers created the very look of Hollywood.
With this landmark book, Mann fills a void in the Hollywood history archives. Written in the tradition of Neal Gabler's An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood and based on hundreds of hours of interviews with survivors of this golden age, Behind the Screen is destined to become a classic of film literature.
More LGBT History at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics
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