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Fehmer Christy "Chick" Chandler (January 18, 1905 – September 30, 1988) was an American film character actor who appeared in more than 130 films from 1925 through the mid-1950s. Chandler was known for his starring role as Toubo Smith in the Universal-produced 1955 syndicated television series Soldiers of Fortune.

Chick Chandler
Chick Chandler.jpg
Born Fehmer Christy Chandler
(1905-01-18)January 18, 1905
Kingston, New York, U.S.
Died September 30, 1988(1988-09-30) (aged 83)
Laguna Beach, California, U.S
Occupation Actor
Years active 1925-1971
Spouse(s) Eugenia Frontai (1931-1988; his death)

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Born Fehmer Christy Chandler[1] (named after his uncle, well-known architect Carl Fehmer),[2] in Kingston, New York to Colonel George F. Chandler and the former Martha Schultze (a sportswriter and daughter of Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor Carl Schultze),[3][4] by the age of 12, he was appearing as a dancer and entertainer in local stage shows. His father, an army surgeon and organizer of the New York State Police, enrolled him in a military academy, The Manlius School, which he attended for three years, serving with distinction and rising to the school rank of corporal.[5] At 16, though he was being groomed by his family for a military career, he dropped out to work on a tramp steamer[6] and, later, to pursue work in vaudeville[7] and to study dance at the school of famed choreographer Ned Wayburn.[8]

CareerEdit

Chandler maintained a successful career throughout the 1920s as a dancer and comedian in vaudeville and burlesque, at times teamed with Naomi Morton, granddaughter of vaudeville and Broadway star Sam Morton.[9]

In 1930, Chandler, still billed as Fehmer Chandler, joined the cast of the Liberty Bell Filling Station radio show starring Chic Sale, as Rodney Gordon, the assistant to Wheel Wilkins (Sale), proprietor of the titular gas station.[10] Two years later, he landed a role in the Ben Hecht-Gene Fowler Broadway play The Great Magoo.[11] Spotting him there, film producer David O. Selznick signed Chandler, now billed under his boyhood nickname Chick, to a film contract at RKO, telling the press that Chandler was "a cross between Lee Tracy and James Cagney."[12][13] Chandler, who had done behind-the-camera work for director Charles Brabin in 1923[14] and had appeared in at least one silent film as an actor, turned full-time to movie acting with his first films under contract, Sweepings and Melody Cruise, in 1933. He appeared mainly in supporting roles, mostly comic, in nearly 120 films over the next 36 years.

Under the pseudonym Guy Fehmer, Chandler wrote a screenplay about racing called The Quitter.[15] There is no evidence the film was ever produced.

In 1955, Chandler was cast in the starring role of Toubo Smith in the adventure series Soldiers of Fortune alongside John Russell as Tim Kelly. In the show, Smith and Kelly traveled the world engaging in treasure hunts, rescues, and exploration adventures. It brought Chandler his greatest fame. During the off-seasons, he toured the country in stock and musical theatrical productions such as Harvey and Annie Get Your Gun.[16]

He was also a regular on the short-lived 1961 NBC comedy series One Happy Family. In the 1959 debut episode of NBC's Johnny Staccato, he played a police detective who was friends with John Cassavetes' title character. He also portrayed photographer "Billy Hackett" in the I Love Lucy episode "Ethel's Hometown". In 1965 he played the old fisherman Andy McGrew in the Lassie episode "Trouble at Paradise Lake" (Season 12, Ep. 7). He retired in 1971 following a sixth guest appearance on Bonanza.

Personal lifeEdit

 
Drawing of actor Chick Chandler by his uncle, artist Howard Chandler Christy

Chandler was the nephew of artist Howard Chandler Christy.[17]

Chandler was engaged to Ziegfeld Follies performer and Christy model Dorothy Knapp, whom he had met while visiting his brother at West Point Military Academy in 1925. Knapp broke off the engagement to pursue her career further, and Chandler then became partnered, both privately and professionally, with 17-year-old Sallie Sharon, whom he also met at West Point. The pair formed a vaudeville team, but never married.[18] On April 4, 1931, Chandler married Eugenia "Jean" Frontai, a former contract performer with David Belasco's theatrical company. They were married 57 years, until Chandler's death from a heart attack on September 30, 1988. (Jean Chandler followed her husband in death [from cancer] the next day in the same hospital, South Coast Medical Center.)[19] The couple had no children.

Chandler had been an avid amateur auto racer, until his wife filed for a restraining order to make him stop as he had promised to do upon their marriage.[20]

Partial filmographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ One Little Wink from the Prize West Point "Widow", Hamilton Evening Journal, May 16, 1925, p. 20
  2. ^ Rapid City Journal, August 25, 1939, p. 12
  3. ^ Rapid City Journal, August 25, 1939, p. 12
  4. ^ How Chick Chandler Became an Actor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 16, 1956, p. 60
  5. ^ Manlius 'Old Boy' in New Keith Show, Syracuse Herald, June 12, 1931, p. 25
  6. ^ How Chick Chandler Became an Actor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 16, 1956, p. 60
  7. ^ Children Dance for Comfort Kits, Kingston Daily Freeman, July 26, 1917, p. 12
  8. ^ One Little Wink from the Prize West Point "Widow", Hamilton Evening Journal, May 16, 1925, p. 20
  9. ^ Manlius 'Old Boy' in New Keith Show, Syracuse Herald, June 12, 1931, p. 25
  10. ^ Chick Sale Creates New Character for First Broadcast of Series Tonight, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 18, 1930, p. 7-I
  11. ^ How Chick Chandler Became an Actor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 16, 1956, p. 60
  12. ^ Twenty and Ten Years Ago, Kingston Daily Freeman, December 8, 1952, p. 4
  13. ^ Selznick Gets Two Leading Men in East, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 8, 1932, p. 18
  14. ^ Two Kingstonians in the Movies, Kingston Daily Freeman, February 14, 1923, 7
  15. ^ Novel Twist, Lansing State Journal, July 19, 1938, p. 6
  16. ^ How Chick Chandler Became an Actor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 16, 1956, p. 60
  17. ^ Follies Beauty Loves Art, Turns Down Chandler, Bridgeport Telegram, April 10, 1925, p. 2
  18. ^ One Little Wink from the Prize West Point "Widow", Hamilton Evening Journal, May 16, 1925, p. 20
  19. ^ Movie Tough Guy, Comedian Chick Chandler, Los Angeles Times, October 6, 1988, p. 196
  20. ^ San Bernardino County Sun, November 11, 1933, p. 15

External linksEdit