Actor Stuart Whitman, an Oscar nominee for his role as a convicted child molester in the 1961 movie “The Mark,” died on Monday of natural causes surrounded by his family at his ranch house in Montecito, Calif., his son Justin told Variety. He was 92.
Whitman had more than 200 film and television credits. His movies include “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines,” “The Longest Day,” “The Comancheros,” “The Sound and the Fury,” “Johnny Trouble,” “Hound-Dog Man,” “The Story of Ruth,” “Murder, Inc.,” “Convicts 4,” “Shock Treatment,” “Rio Conchos” and “The Day and the Hour.” Whitman made his film debut in 1951 in “When Worlds Collide.”
He replaced Richard Burton in the role of Jim Fuller on “The Mark,” which earned him an Academy Award nomination for best actor. He lost out to Maximilian Schell, who won for “Judgment at Nuremberg.” Whitman portrayed a child molester who gets out of prison and seeks the aid of a psychiatrist, played by Rod Steiger, to try to lead a normal life.
He starred as Marshal Jim Crown in “Cimarron Strip,” a 1967-68 CBS western series set in Oklahoma territory during the 1880s. His other TV credits include “The F.B.I.,” “Night Gallery” and “S.W.A.T.” Whitman made his last onscreen appearance on the 2000 CBS movie “The President’s Man.”
Whitman was born on Feb. 1, 1928, in San Francisco as the oldest of two sons to Cecilia and Joseph Whitman. His father sparked his son’s show business gene while running for Congress and giving speeches at the old Tammany Hall theater in New York. He appeared in summer stock productions at 12. They arrived in Los Angeles in the mid-1940s, and his father worked for the post-WWI government-run Manhattan Project before becoming a lawyer, and, soon after, a real estate developer.
After graduating from Hollywood High School in 1945, Whitman enlisted for three years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During his service, he won all but one of his 32 boxing matches. After his honorable discharge in 1948, he studied law, minoring in drama, at Los Angeles City College. Attending acting classes at night, he landed small roles in film and stage productions, and made his breakthrough in 1957’s “Johnny Trouble.”
In 1958, he was cast alongside Gary Cooper in the film, based on the John O’Hara bestseller “Ten North Frederick.” He also shared one of Hollywood’s first interracial kisses with his co-star Dorothy Dandridge in the 1958 film “The Decks Ran Red.” Hundreds of film and television roles followed, concurrent with his activities in real estate development.
“I didn’t need to act to make a living, but I had a real passion for it,” he told writer Nick Thomas. “I just loved to act.”
He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Yulia Whitman; four children from his first marriage to the late Patricia LaLonde — Tony Whitman, Michael Whitman, Linda LaLonde Whitman and Scott Whitman — and one son, Justin Whitman, from his second marriage to Caroline Boubis Whitman. He’s also survived by seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren. The family asks that donations be made to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.