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Anthony Perkins (April 4, 1932 – September 12, 1992) was an American actor, director, and singer. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his second film, Friendly Persuasion (1956), but is best remembered for playing Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and its three sequels. His other films include Fear Strikes Out (1957), The Matchmaker (1958), On the Beach (1959), Tall Story (1960), The Trial (1962), Phaedra (1962), Five Miles to Midnight (1962), Pretty Poison (1968), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Mahogany (1975), The Black Hole (1979), North Sea Hijack (1980), and Crimes of Passion (1984).
|Died||September 12, 1992 (aged 60)|
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
Perkins was born in Manhattan, New York City, son of stage and film actor Osgood Perkins and his wife, Janet Esselstyn (née Rane). His paternal great-grandfather was wood engraver Andrew Varick Stout Anthony. He was five when his father died.
Perkins was a descendant of a Mayflower passengers John Howland, Myles Standish and William Brewster as well as Roger Conant. Through an entirely paternal line he is descended from John Perkins, who arrived in Boston from England in 1630 as part of the Puritan migration to New England. He attended Brooks School and Browne & Nichols School, having moved to Boston in 1942, and then Columbia University and Rollins College.
Perkins made his film debut in The Actress (1953). The film was a commercial disappointment. Perkins was first really noticed when he replaced John Kerr on Broadway in the lead of Tea and Sympathy in 1954. This renewed Hollywood interest in him.
Subsequently, Perkins starred as troubled former Boston Red Sox baseball player Jimmy Piersall in the 1957 biopic Fear Strikes Out (1957) and in the two Westerns The Lonely Man (1957) (with Jack Palance) and The Tin Star (1957) (with Henry Fonda).
He released three pop music albums and several singles in 1957 and 1958 on Epic and RCA Victor under the name Tony Perkins. His single "Moon-Light Swim" was a moderate hit in the United States, peaking at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957. He showcased his musical talents in The Matchmaker (1958) with Shirley Booth and Shirley MacLaine.
A life member of the Actors Studio, Perkins also acted in theater. In 1958, he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance in Look Homeward, Angel (1957–59) on Broadway. He played the role of Eugene Gant.
Perkins was Audrey Hepburn's love interest in Green Mansions (1959), one of Hepburn's few flops. He was a doomed young father in On the Beach (1959) and played a college basketball champion in Tall Story (1960), best remembered for being Jane Fonda's film debut.
Perkins in youth had a boyish, earnest quality, reminiscent of the young James Stewart, which Alfred Hitchcock exploited and subverted when the actor starred as Norman Bates in the film Psycho (1960). The film was a critical and commercial success, and gained Perkins international fame for his performance as the homicidal owner of the Bates Motel. Perkins's performance gained him the Best Actor Award from the International Board of Motion Picture Reviewers. The role and its multiple sequels affected the remainder of his career.
He appeared in a short-lived Broadway play, Harold (1962), then was featured in a series of films shot in Europe: Phaedra (1962), shot in Greece with Melina Mercouri and directed by Jules Dassin; Five Miles to Midnight (1962) with Sophia Loren; Orson Welles' version of The Trial (1962, from the Kafka novel); Le glaive et la balance (1963), shot in France; and Une ravissante idiote (1964) with Brigitte Bardot.
Return to the U.S.Edit
For American television, Perkins appeared in Evening Primrose (1966), an original musical with a score by his close friend Stephen Sondheim. He then went to Broadway to appear in a play by Neil Simon, The Star-Spangled Girl (1966–67).
He starred in another French film, The Champagne Murders (1967) for Claude Chabrol, then made his first Hollywood movie since Psycho, Pretty Poison (1968) with Tuesday Weld. It was not a box office success, but has become a notable cult favorite.
In the 1970s, Perkins moved into supporting roles in Hollywood-feature films, playing Chaplain Tappman in Catch-22 (1970) and appearing in WUSA (1970), starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Off-Broadway, he appeared in and directed Steambath (1970).
Perkins had the lead in a TV movie, How Awful About Allan (1970) and supported Charles Bronson in the French crime drama, Someone Behind the Door (1971). He starred in Chabrol's murder mystery Ten Days' Wonder (1971). Perkins was reunited with Weld when he supported her in Play It as It Lays (1972). He was also in the successful western The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972). He co-wrote, with composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, the screenplay for the ensemble film The Last of Sheila (1973).
Perkins was one of the many stars featured in Murder on the Orient Express (1974), adapted from a popular Agatha Christie novel. He co-starred with Beau Bridges and Blythe Danner in Lovin' Molly (also 1974). He enjoyed success on Broadway in Peter Shaffer's 1974 play Equus (where he was a replacement in the leading role originally played by Anthony Hopkins). Off-Broadway he directed The Wager (1974).
Perkins supported Diana Ross in the romantic drama Mahogany (1975) and hosted television's Saturday Night Live in 1976. He co-starred with Geraldine Chaplin in Remember My Name (1978) and had roles on television, playing Mary Tyler Moore's husband in First, You Cry (1978) and Javert in Les Misérables (1978). He was featured in Walt Disney's science fiction film The Black Hole, in 1979. He had another Broadway success with Bernard Slade's 1979 play Romantic Comedy. Perkins was a villain in the action film North Sea Hijack (1980), starring Roger Moore, and one of many names in Winter Kills (1980), which was never released. He also starred in the 1980 Canadian film Deadly Companion (also known as Double Negative).
The Last of SheilaEdit
Perkins and Stephen Sondheim co-wrote the script of The Last of Sheila, a 1973 American neo noir mystery film directed by Herbert Ross. They then went on to try to collaborate together again two more times, but the projects were ultimately unrealized.
The Chorus Girl Murder CaseEdit
In 1975, Tony Perkins said he and Sondheim were working on another script, The Chorus Girl Murder Case. "It's a sort of stew based on all those Bob Hope wartime comedies, plus a little Lady of Burlesque and a little Orson Welles magic show, all cooked into a Last of Sheila-type plot", said Perkins. He later said other inspirations were They Got Me Covered, The Ipcress File and Cloak and Dagger. They had sold the synopsis in October 1974. At one point, Michael Bennett was to direct, with Tommy Tune to star. In November 1979, Sondheim said they had finished it. However, the film was never made.
Crime and VariationsEdit
In the 1980s, Perkins and Sondheim collaborated on another project, the seven part Crime and Variations for Motown Productions. In October 1984 they had submitted a treatment to Motown. It was a 75-page treatment set in the New York socialite world about a crime puzzle – another writer was to write the script. It, too, was never made.
Perkins reprised the role of Norman Bates in Psycho's three sequels. The first, Psycho II (1983), was a box-office success twenty-three years after the original film.
Perkins went to Australia to appear in TV mini-series For the Term of His Natural Life (1983). After The Glory Boys (1984) for British television, Perkins made Crimes of Passion (1984) for Ken Russell. He then starred in and directed Psycho III (1986).
Perkins had supporting roles in Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story (1987), and the slasher film Destroyer (1988). He directed but did not appear in the comedy Lucky Stiff (1988). Perkins starred in some additional horror films, Edge of Sanity (1989), Daughter of Darkness (1990), and I'm Dangerous Tonight (1990). He played Norman Bates again in the made-for-cable film Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990).
Perkins appeared in six television productions between 1990 and 1992, including Daughter of Darkness (1990) and hosting a 12-episode horror anthology series titled Chillers (1990). He made his final appearance in In the Deep Woods (1992) with Rosanna Arquette. He had agreed to provide the voice for the role of the dentist, Dr. Wolfe, in The Simpsons episode "Last Exit to Springfield" but died before the part could be recorded. In the end, the character was voiced by Simpsons regular Hank Azaria.
Perkins was extremely shy, especially in the company of women. According to the posthumous biography Split Image by Charles Winecoff, he had exclusively same-sex relationships until his late 30s, including with actor Tab Hunter, artist Christopher Makos, dancer Rudolf Nureyev, composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and dancer-choreographer Grover Dale. Perkins has also been described as one of the two great men in the life of French songwriter Patrick Loiseau.
Perkins reportedly had his first heterosexual experience at age 39 with actress Victoria Principal on location filming The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean in 1971. He was in therapy with psychologist Mildred Newman, whom Stephen Sondheim later described to author Mark Harris as “completely unethical and a danger to humanity.” In his 2021 biography of Mike Nichols, Harris wrote that “Perkins and his longtime boyfriend, Grover Dale, had both become convinced that their homosexuality was obstructing their happiness and wanted to restart their lives with women,” adding that Newman and her husband–partner Bernard Berkowitz “clung to the belief that male homosexuality was a form of arrested development, and made a small fortune convincing willing clients that it was an impediment to getting what they wanted.”
Perkins met photographer Berinthia "Berry" Berenson, the younger sister of actress and model Marisa Berenson, at a party in Manhattan in 1972. They married when he was 41 and she was 25, on August 9, 1973, and had two sons: director Oz Perkins (b. 1974) and musician Elvis Perkins (b. 1976). Perkins and Berenson remained married until his death. In 2001, on the day before the ninth anniversary of his death, Perkins's widow died at age 53 in the September 11 attacks aboard American Airlines Flight 11. She was returning to her California home following a vacation on Cape Cod.
Perkins was diagnosed with HIV during the filming of Psycho IV: The Beginning, and died at his Los Angeles home on September 12, 1992, from AIDS-related pneumonia at age 60. His urn, inscribed "Don't Fence Me In", is in an altar on the terrace of his former home in the Hollywood Hills.
|1953||The Actress||Fred Whitmarsh|
|1956||Friendly Persuasion||Josh Birdwell||Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Male|
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
|1957||Fear Strikes Out||Jim Piersall|
|1957||The Lonely Man||Riley Wade|
|1957||The Tin Star||Sheriff Ben Owens|
|1957||This Angry Age||Joseph Dufresne||Alternative title: The Sea Wall|
|1958||Desire Under the Elms||Eben Cabot|
|1958||The Matchmaker||Cornelius Hackl|
|1959||On the Beach||Lt. Commander Peter Holmes|
|1960||Tall Story||Ray Blent|
|1960||Psycho||Norman Bates||International Board of Motion Picture Reviewers for Best Actor|
Nominated—Bambi Award for Best International Actor
|1961||Goodbye Again||Philip Van der Besh||Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor|
David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor
Nominated—Bambi Award for Best International Actor
|1962||Five Miles to Midnight||Robert Macklin|
|1962||The Trial||Josef K|
|1963||Le glaive et la balance||Johnny Parsons||English titles: The Sword and the Balance and Two Are Guilty|
|1964||Une ravissante idiote||Harry Compton / Nicholas Maukouline||English title: The Ravishing Idiot|
|1965||The Fool Killer||Milo Bogardus|
|1966||Is Paris Burning?||Sgt. Warren|
|1967||The Champagne Murders||Christopher Belling||French title: Le scandale|
|1968||Pretty Poison||Dennis Pitt|
|1970||Catch-22||Chaplain Tappman||Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1970||WUSA||Morgan Rainey||Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1970||How Awful About Allan||Allan Colleigh||Television film|
|1971||Someone Behind the Door||Laurence Jeffries||French title: Quelqu'un derrière la porte|
|1971||Ten Days' Wonder||Charles Van Horn||French title: La Décade prodigieuse|
|1972||Play It as It Lays||B.Z. Mendenhall|
|1972||The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean||Reverend LaSalle|
|1973||The Last of Sheila||N/A||Co-writer with Stephen Sondheim|
Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay [Shared with Sondheim]
|1974||Lovin' Molly||Gid Frye|
|1974||Murder on the Orient Express||Hector McQueen|
|1978||Remember My Name||Neil Curry|
|1978||First, You Cry||Arthur Heroz||Television film|
|1978||Les Misérables||Javert||Television film|
|1979||Winter Kills||John Cerruti|
|1979||Twice a Woman||Alfred Boeken||Dutch title: Twee vrouwen|
|1979||The Black Hole||Dr. Alex Durant|
|1980||North Sea Hijack||Lou Kramer||Alternative titles: ffolkes and Assault Force|
|1980||Deadly Companion||Lawrence Miles||Alternative title: Double Negative|
|1983||The Sins of Dorian Gray||Henry Lord||Television film|
|1983||Psycho II||Norman Bates|
|1984||Crimes of Passion||Reverend Peter Shayne|
|1986||Psycho III||Norman Bates||Also director|
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actor
|1989||Edge of Sanity||Dr. Henry Jekyll / Jack "The Ripper" Hyde|
|1990||Daughter of Darkness||Anton / Prince Constantine||Television film|
|1990||I'm Dangerous Tonight||Professor Buchanan||Television film|
|1990||Psycho IV: The Beginning||Norman Bates||Television film|
|1991||A Demon in My View||Arthur Johnson|
|1992||The Naked Target||El Mecano|
|1992||In the Deep Woods||Paul Miller, P.I.||Television film (released posthumously; final film role)|
|1953||The Big Story||Ralph Darrow||Episode: "Robert Billeter of the Pendleton Times of Franklin, West Virginia"|
|1954||Armstrong Circle Theatre||Philippe||Episode: "The Fugitive"|
|1954||The Man Behind the Badge||Pedro||Episodes: "The East Baton Rouge Story", "The Case of the Narcotics Racket"|
|1955||General Electric Theater||West Wind||Episode: "Mr. Blue Ocean"|
|1955||Windows||Benji||Episode: "The World Out There"|
|1956||Kraft Television Theatre||Willie O'Reilly||Episode: "Home Is the Hero"|
|1956||Studio One||Clyde Smith||Episode: "The Silent Gun"|
|1956||Front Row Center||Dexter Green||Episode: "Winter Dreams"|
|1956||The Goodyear Playhouse||Joey||Episode: "Joey"|
|1966||ABC Stage 67||Charles Snell||Episode: "Evening Primrose"|
|1968||Play of the Month||Tommy Turner||Episode: "The Male Animal"|
|1976||Saturday Night Live||Himself – Host / Norman Bates / Various||Episode: "Anthony Perkins/Betty Carter"|
|1983||For the Term of His Natural Life||Reverend James North||Television miniseries|
|1984||The Glory Boys||Jimmy||Television miniseries|
|1987||Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story||Talleyrand||Television miniseries|
|1990||Chillers||Himself – Host||12 episodes|
|1990||The Ghost Writer||Anthony Strack||Unsold television pilot|
|1954–55||Tea and Sympathy||Tom Lee||Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City||Broadway (replacement for John Kerr)|
|1957–59||Look Homeward, Angel||Eugene Gant||Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City||Broadway|
|1960||Greenwillow||Gideon Briggs||Alvin Theatre, New York City||Broadway|
|1962||Harold||Harold Selbar||Cort Theatre, New York City||Broadway|
|1966–67||The Star-Spangled Girl||Andy Hobart||Plymouth Theatre, New York City||Broadway|
|1970||Steambath||Tandy||Truck and Warehouse Theater, New York City||Off-Broadway (also director)|
|1974||The Wager||N/A||Eastside Playhouse, New York City||Off-Broadway (director)|
|1975–76||Equus||Martin Dysart||Plymouth Theatre, New York City||Broadway (replacement for Anthony Hopkins)|
|1979–80||Romantic Comedy||Jason Carmichael||Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City||Broadway|
|1957||Orchestra Under the Direction of Martin Paich||Epic Records|
|1958||On A Rainy Afternoon||RCA Victor|
|1958||From My Heart...||RCA Victor|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Anthony Perkins.|
- Anthony Perkins at IMDb
- Anthony Perkins at the Internet Broadway Database
- Anthony Perkins at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Anthony Perkins at the TCM Movie Database
- Anthony Perkins at AllMovie
- Psycho star Anthony Perkins on playing Norman Bates
- Anthony Perkins interviewed by Mike Wallace on The Mike Wallace Interview March 22, 1958