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  • DeWolf Hopper
  • Hopper William

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William Hopper (1915)

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  Summary  

William Hopper, born DeWolf Hopper, Jr. (January 26, 1915 – March 6, 1970) was an American actor. Hopper was born in New York City, the only child of singer comic actor, DeWolf Hopper (1858–1935), a stage star, and actress, gossip columnist, Hedda Hopper (1885–1966).

  Biography  

 early life
His debut motion picture appearance was as a baby in his father's 1916 silent movie, Sunshine Dad. His mother divorced his father in 1922, and moved to Hollywood with Hopper.

He is best-remembered for playing Paul Drake in television's Perry Mason.

 acting career
 1930s–1940s
Hopper began his acting career as a teenager, working in summer stock in Ogunquit, Maine. He went from there to Broadway, where he appeared in two plays in 1934, Order Please and Romeo and Juliet.

Early in his film career, Hopper appeared uncredited in numerous movies or under the name DeWolf Hopper. In 1936, he played the small role as a photographer in the Columbia Pictures film The King Steps Out starring Grace Moore and Franchot Tone. In 1937 he portrayed the leading man in two films, Public Wedding with Jane Wyman and Over the Goal. He also enjoyed significant roles alongside Ann Sheridan in The Footloose Heiress and Mystery House .

After that he had roles that included playing a sergeant in the Western Stagecoach starring Claire Trevor and John Wayne; an intern in The Return of Dr. X, starring Humphrey Bogart; a New York reporter in Knute Rockne, All American starring Pat O'Brien, Gale Page, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Crisp; a reporter in the post-Hollywood Production Code version of The Maltese Falcon starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor; and a reporter in Yankee Doodle Dandy starring James Cagney and Walter Huston. Reagan and Hopper appeared in nine films together between 1937 and 1942.

 1950s–1970s

In the mid 1950s, Hopper resumed his movie career with the part of Roy in The High and the Mighty starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Laraine Day, and Robert Stack. In 1956, Hopper starred in Wayne's production of Good-bye, My Lady.

Other appearances included his iconic role as the father of Natalie Wood in the James Dean classic Rebel Without a Cause , as Robert Mitchum's ill fated brother Arthur in the William Wellman adventure Track of the Cat , and as the often absent father Col. Kenneth Penmark in The Bad Seed also starring Nancy Kelly and Patty McCormack. Hopper, along with Joan Taylor and a very young Bart Braverman, starred in the classic Ray Harryhausen science fiction film 20 Million Miles to Earth .

Also in 1957, he played a supporting role in the pilot episode of the television series The Restless Gun, which was broadcast as an episode of Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. His television guest appearances included the The Joseph Cotten Show, Gunsmoke, Studio 57, The Millionaire, and Schlitz Playhouse of Stars.

He made two movie appearances during his years on Perry Mason, but retired after the television show was canceled in 1966. He made one final movie appearance as a judge, Frederic D. Cannon, in Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge starring Raquel Welch, John Huston, Farrah Fawcett, Rex Reed, and Mae West.

 Perry Mason
Hopper is best known for his regular role as the private investigator, Paul Drake, on CBS' courtroom, television series, Perry Mason (1957–1966), with Raymond Burr in the title role and Barbara Hale as secretary, Della Street.

In 1959 Hopper was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series for his performance as Paul Drake.

 personal life
In the mid to late 1930s Hopper occasionally visited nightclubs with film actress, Isabel Jewell. He married actress, Jane Gilbert (née Kies, sister of the better-known Margaret Lindsay), in 1940; they had one daughter, Joan .

The couple divorced in 1959, and shortly thereafter he married Jeanette J. Hopper . Jeanette Hopper passed away due to heart failure in California in 2008. He became stepfather to her son, Gordon Casimire Williams II, a Freemason, journalist, and master jeweler who lives in Portland, Oregon.

 death
Hopper was hospitalized on February 14, 1970, after a stroke at his home in Yucca Valley, CA, and was transferred to a hospital in Palm Springs when pneumonia developed. He died of a heart attack on March 6 at age 55.

He was buried in Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.

Actor, Dennis Hopper, was his cousin.

 stage
  • Order Please Playhouse Theatre, as Victor Neilson
  • Romeo and Juliet (1934–1935) Martin Beck Theatre

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "William Hopper", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.