Actor-writer George Nader, popular leading man of the 1950s whose combination of rugged good looks, sex appeal and easygoing charm kept him busy on the silver screen and TV for three decades, died Monday Feb. 4 of pneumonia at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Country Home in Woodland Hills. He was 80.
In the 1950s, the WWII vet — later known for his Jerry Cotton spy pics and for his novels — joined Universal’s roster of young, hunky actors, which included Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis and Jeff Chandler.
He won a Golden Globe Award as best male newcomer of 1954.
His roles usually emphasized his beefcake appeal and sonorous voice, and he appeared in more than 50 action and adventure films, including the starring role of the classically “bad” 3-D movie “Robot Monster” (1953), which has since gone on to enjoy campy popularity.
A sampling of the WWII vet’s other pic credits include “Six Bridges to Cross” (1953, with Curtis), “Sins of Jezebel” (1953), “Carnival Story” (1954), “Four Guns to the Border” (1954), “Lady Godiva” (1955), “The Second Greatest Sex” (1955), the well-regarded “Away All Boats” (1956) and “The Unguarded Moment” (1956) as well as “Congo Crossing” (1956), “Four Girls in Town” (1956), “Man Afraid” (1957), “Joe Butterfly” (1957), “The Female Animal” (1957) and “Appointment with a Shadow” (1957).
In the late 1950s and early 1960s he starred for a season in the long-running television series “The Adventures of Ellery Queen,” and in the short-lived ones “Man and the Challenge” and “Shannon.” He also essayed roles on the small screen with appearances on “The Loretta Young Show,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” He produced and directed one film, “Walk by the Sea” in 1963.
Nader later went to Europe and starred in a string of West German crime-thriller features as a tough American FBI agent, Jerry Cotton.
He retired from the screen in 1973 and became a novelist. His first novel, sci-fier “Chrome,” published in 1978 and now in its sixth printing, was considered groundbreaking for its depiction of a homosexual romance.
He recently co-authored the novel “The Perils of Paul” with his life partner of 55 years, Mark Miller, who had been Hudson’s secretary. (Nader was among the beneficiaries of Hudson’s estate after the actor died in 1985.)
In 1998, Nader was the subject of an extensive biography “Jerry Cotton — George Nader and His Films” by Christos Tses and Dirk Bruderle. In April 2000, he was honored with a Jerry Cotton film retrospective in Titisee-Neustadt, Germany.
Nader’s last public appearance was at the first Palm Springs Film Noir Festival in May 2001.
In addition to Miller, Nader is survived by three cousins, including soap opera actor Michael Nader.