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John Warren Hull (January 17, 1903 – September 14, 1974), known professionally as Warren Hull, was an American actor and television personality active from the 1930s through the 1960s. He was one of the most popular serial actors in the action-adventure field.

Warren Hull
Warren hull 1937.JPG
Hull in 1937
Born
John Warren Hull

(1903-01-17)January 17, 1903
DiedSeptember 14, 1974(1974-09-14) (aged 71)
Resting placeNorth Cemetery
NationalityAmerican
Other namesJ. Warren Hull
EducationLockport High School
Alma materNew York University
Eastman School of Music
OccupationActor, radio and television personality
Years active1923–1964
Spouse(s)
Agnes Briggs
(m. 1926; div. 1928)

Dorothy Daye
(m. 1929; div. 1944)

Elouise Gilmore Shea
(m. 1945; div. 1950)

Susan Fossum Stevens (m.1951; 1974)
Children4

Contents

Early yearsEdit

 
Warren Hull in 1953

Born in Gasport, New York, Hull was one of three children born to John and Laura (nee Shafer) Hull. Both of his parents were Quakers. Hull attended Lockport High School, graduating in 1922.[1] He then attended New York University with the intention of pursuing a career in business. He later decided to pursue a career in music and enrolled at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied voice. After completing his studies, he moved to New York City, where he became a chorus boy in Shubert operas and operettas. This eventually led to Hull working in Broadway musicals. In 1923, he began working as a radio announcer. Hull was the master of ceremonies for the first Your Hit Parade radio program and also worked as an announcer for The Beatrice Lillie Show.[2]

CareerEdit

FilmsEdit

In the mid 1930s, Hull moved to Los Angeles to pursue a screen career.[2] He made his screen debut in 1934 for Educational Pictures, a short-subject studio. He co-starred opposite singer Sylvia Froos in the Young Romance series of musical comedies filmed in New York; Hull often joined Froos in song. In 1935 Hull was signed to a contract by Warner Bros., and spent the next few years playing leading men both in dramas and musicals. One of Hull's better-known appearances of this period came in The Walking Dead (1936), a horror movie starring Boris Karloff and directed by Michael Curtiz. Some of Hull's early appearances have him billed as "J. Warren Hull."

When his Warners contract expired, Hull had no trouble finding work at other studios. He teamed with Patricia Ellis, one of his leading ladies at Warners, for the Republic Pictures musical Rhythm in the Clouds (1937). He also played romantic leads in a string of features for Monogram Pictures.

In 1938, Columbia Pictures terminated its association with the Weiss Brothers, independent producers who had been making adventure serials for Columbia release, and decided to make its own cliffhangers. Warren Hull was signed for Columbia's first (and probably best) serial production, The Spider's Web (1938), based on a popular magazine character. Hull played three parts: criminologist Richard Wentworth, his masked-and-caped alter ego The Spider, and, in a second masquerade, lowlife mobster Blinky McQuade. The personable Hull brought a breezy sense of humor to his serial roles; he is probably the only serial hero who ever laughs on screen. Hull kept audiences following the Spider's thrilling exploits, making The Spider's Web the most popular and profitable serial of the year, outstripping such worthy cliffhangers as Buck Rogers and Dick Tracy Returns by a wide margin, according to a tally published in the Motion Picture Herald.

Pleased with Hull's performance, Columbia cast him as Mandrake the Magician in its 1939 serial. Universal Pictures starred the now-established serial hero in The Green Hornet Strikes Again! (1941) and Columbia put him back in the mask and cloak for The Spider Returns (1941).

Radio and televisionEdit

In the mid 1940s, Hull returned to radio announcing, appearing with frequency on such programs as Your Hit Parade and Vox Pop. In 1947, he hosted his own radio show, The Warren Hull Show, for CBS radio. During this time, Hull also hosted Cavalcade of Bands for Dumont radio. The following year, he began hosting the radio series Strike It Rich. He continued as host when the series was adapted for television in 1951.[2] In 1953-54, Warren Hull, with former Miss America Bess Myerson, hosted a game show called "The Big Payoff" that lasted for several seasons. Hull was also the emcee of Spin to Win, only the second game show created by the team of Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. During the next two decades he hosted TV programs such as Top Dollar, Beat the Odds, and Public Prosecutor. By the early 1960s, Hull was largely retired and was living in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 1962, he came out of retirement to host the game show Who in the World.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Hull was married four times and had four children.[1] His first three marriages ended in divorce. His fourth marriage to Susan Fossum Stevens lasted until his death in 1974.[4]

DeathEdit

On September 14, 1974, Hull died of congestive heart failure at Waterbury Hospital in Waterbury, Connecticut, at the age of 71.[2] His funeral was held on September 18 at the Church of the Epiphany in Southbury, Connecticut, after which he was buried at the New North Cemetery in Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut.[4]

For his contributions to the radio and television industry, Warren Hull has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star for radio is located at 6270 Hollywood Blvd., and the star for television is located at 6135 Hollywood Blvd.[5]

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1935 Personal Maid's Secret Jimmy
1935 Miss Pacific Fleet Sgt. Tom Foster
1936 Freshman Love Bob Wilson
1936 The Walking Dead Jimmy
1936 The Law in Her Hands Asst. Dist. Atty. Robert Mitchell
1936 The Big Noise Ken Mitchell
1936 Bengal Tiger Joe Larson
1936 Love Begins at 20 Jerry Wayne
1936 Fugitive in the Sky Terry Brewer
1937 Her Husband's Secretary Barton 'Bart' Kingdon
1937 Night Key Jim Travers
1937 Michael O'Halloran Dr. Douglas Bruce
1937 Rhythm in the Clouds Bob McKay
1937 Paradise Isle Kennedy
1937 A Bride for Henry Henry Tuttle
1938 Hawaii Calls Cmdr. Milburn
1938 The Spider's Web Richard Wentworth / The Spider / Blinky McQuade Serial
1938 Smashing the Spy Ring Phil Dunlap
1939 Star Reporter John Randolph / John Charles Benton
1939 Mandrake the Magician Mandrake the Magician Serial
1939 Should a Girl Marry? Dr. Robert Benson
1939 Girl from Rio Steven Ward
1939 Crashing Thru Constable Kelly
1940 Yukon Flight Bill Shipley
1940 Hidden Enemy Bill MacGregor
1940 The Lone Wolf Meets a Lady Bob Penyon
1940 The Last Alarm Frank Rogers
1940 Marked Men Bill Carver
1940 Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride Donald Gregory
1940 Remedy for Riches Tom Stewart
1940 The Green Hornet Strikes Again! Britt Reid / Green Hornet Serial
1941 The Spider Returns Richard Wentworth / The Spider / Blinky McQuade Serial
1941 Bowery Blitzkrieg Tom Brady

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Fierch, Frederick G. (2010). Royalton, Middleport, and Hartland. Arcadia Publishing. p. 36. ISBN 0-738-57238-1.
  2. ^ a b c d "Warren Hull, veteran radio TV host, was star of 'Strike It Rich' show". St. Petersburg Times. September 19, 1974. pp. 11–B. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  3. ^ Remington, Fred (June 27, 1962). "'Strike It Rich' Was Agony Show For Warren Hull". The Pittsburgh Press. p. 66. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "TV host Warren Hull funeral set for tomorrow". Bangor Daily News. September 17, 1974. p. 22. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  5. ^ "Warren Hull". latimes.com. Retrieved June 29, 2014.

External linksEdit