biography

Born in Chicago on January 31, 1921, B-movie legend John Agar did not harbor a desire to be an actor early on. During World War II, the 6'3" Agar had served as a physical training instructor with the U.S. Army Air Corp. By chance, he was invited to be an escort for child star Shirley Temple, then 16 years old. After a whirlwind courtship, Agar and Temple married in 1945. Shortly after the wedding, producer David O. Selznick signed Agar to a contract upon his discharge from the service. Acting lessons followed, during which Agar proved to be a quick study and showed much promise. His first film role came in the 1948 John Wayne film Fort Apache, which also featured Temple in a lead role. Agar proved to be a sturdy actor, and this film began his long association and friendship with John Wayne. The same year of Agar's film debut, he and Temple welcomed the birth of their daughter, but the marriage dissolved by the end of 1949. In the summer of 1951, Agar married his second wife, Loretta.

John Agar and Shirley TempleJohn Agar

LEFT: Still photo of John Agar and Shirley Temple, taken sometime around their 1945 wedding. RIGHT: Going golfing in this early 1950s photo

Although Agar's early career had shown great promise---and outlasted Temple's acting career---stories of his hard drinking spilled over into the press. Several drunk-driving arrests landed Agar in jail and nearly derailed his film career. But he somehow bounced back, and by the mid 1950s John Agar was starring in some of the best 1950s low-budget horror films, for which he's best known today.

the films of john agar

The Magic Carpet (1951)

John Agar and Patricia Medina

With Patricia Medina in The Magic Carpet

Shield for Murder (1954)

Marla English and John Agar

From the film noir thriller Shield for Murder with Marla English

Revenge of the Creature (1955)

John Agar and Lori NelsonLori Nelson and John Agar

LEFT: John Agar and Lori Nelson have just spotted the Creature in Revenge of the Creature, the second film in Universal's Creature From the Black Lagoon trilogy. RIGHT: With Lori Nelson

Tarantula (1955)

John Agar, Leo G. Carroll, and Mara CordayMara Corday and John Agar

LEFT: With Leo G. Carroll and Mara Corday in Tarantula, one of Universal's best 1950s science fiction movies. RIGHT: John Agar and Mara Corday are running from the Tarantula

Hold Back Tomorrow (1955)

John AgarJohn Agar and Cleo MooreJohn Agar and Cleo MooreJohn Agar and Cleo MooreJohn Agar and Cleo Moore

As condemned murderer Joe Cardos, Agar is comforted by Dora (Cleo Moore) in Universal's Hold Back Tomorrow

Star in the Dust (1956)

John Agar and Mamie Van DorenJohn Agar and Mamie Van DorenJohn Agar and Mamie Van Doren

From the Universal-International western Star in the Dust with Mamie Van Doren

The Mole People (1956)

John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, and Hugh BeaumontHugh Beaumont and John Agar

From the campy Universal-International sci-fi release The Mole People. LEFT: With Hugh Beaumont and Cynthia Patrick. RIGHT: With Hugh Beaumont

The Brain from Planet Arous (1957)

Robert Fuller and John Agar

With Robert Fuller in the effective science fiction flick The Brain from Planet Arous

Flesh and the Spur (1957)

John Agar, Marla English, and Mike Connors

From the American International western Flesh and the Spur with Marla English and Mike Connors

The Name of the Game (1968-1971 NBC TV Series)

John Agar and Troy Donahue

With Troy Donahue in a 1968 epsiode of NBC's adventure seres The Name of the Game titled Nightmare

later years

Although John Agar is best remembered for his fun horror and science fiction films, many fans will recall his numerous western roles at which he excelled. Indeed, his best films are the westerns he made with John Wayne, including She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and Chisum (1970). Agar also made a number of war pictures as well, such as Sands of Iwo Jima, also with John Wayne.

Despite Agar's strong performances in The Undefeated (1969; with John Wayne and Rock Hudson), Chisum (1970; with John Wayne and Christopher George), and Big Jake (1971; with John Wayne and Richard Boone), his film career cratered. He then decided to put his acting career on hold, concentrating instead on selling real estate and insurance. In the 1980s, Agar enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, and he made a few more films. Sadly, he passed away on April 7, 2002, at age 81. He was survived by two sons, a daughter, two granddaughters, a grandson, and a great grandson.

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filmography

FILMS
The Vampire Hunters Club (2001) with William Smith, Mary Woronov, and Mink Stole
Body Bags (1993) with Tom Arnold and Robert Carradine
Invasion of Privacy (1992) with Robby Benson and Jennifer O'Neill
The Perfect Bride (1991) with Kelly Preston
Fear (1990) with Ally Sheedy, Lauren Hutton, and Dina Merrill
Nightbreed (1990)
Miracle Mile (1989) with Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham
Perfect Victims (1988) with Deborah Shelton
Mr. No Legs (1981) with Lloyd Bochner
Divided We Fall (1980)
King Kong (1976) with Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, and Julius Harris
How's Your Love Life? (1971) with Mary Beth Hughes, William Hudson, and Eve Brent
Big Jake (1971) with John Wayne and Glenn Corbett
Chisum (1970) with John Wayne, Christopher George, and Glenn Corbett
The Undefeated (1969) with John Wayne and Rock Hudson
Hell Raiders (1968) with Bill Thurman; directed by Larry Buchanan
Night Fright (1967) with Bill Thurman
The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967) with Jason Robards, George Segal, Ralph Meeker, Clint Ritchie, David Canary, and Bruce Dern
Curse of the Swamp Creature (1966) with Francine York and Bill Thurman; directed by Larry Buchanan
Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966) with Bill Thurman; directed by Larry Buchanan
Johnny Reno (1966) with Dana Andrews, Jane Russell, Lon Chaney Jr., Richard Arlen, and Lyle Bettger
Waco (1966) with Jane Russell, Howard Keel, Brian Donlevy, Wendell Corey, Terry Moore, Richard Arlen, John Smith, Ben Cooper, and Jeff Richards
Women of the Prehistoric Planet (1966) with Wendell Corey, Merry Anders, Keith Larsen, Glenn Langan, and Suzie Kaye
Young Fury (1965) with Rory Calhoun, Merry Anders, Jody McCrea, Richard Arlen, and Virginia Mayo
Stage to Thunder Rock (1964) with Scott Brady, Barry Sullivan, Marilyn Maxwell, Keenan Wynn, Lon Chaney Jr., Wanda Hendrix, and Ralph Taeger
Law of the Lawless (1964) with Dale Robertson, Yvonne De Carlo, William Bendix, Bruce Cabot, Jody McCrea, Kent Taylor, Bill Williams, Richard Arlen, and Lon Chaney Jr.
The Young and the Brave (1963) with Rory Calhoun, William Bendix, Richard Jaeckel, and Richard Arlen
Cavalry Command (1963) with Richard Arlen, Myron Healey, and Vic Diaz
Of Love and Desire (1963) with Merle Oberon, Steve Cochran, and Steve Brodie
Hand of Death (1962) with Paula Raymond, Joe Besser, Butch Patrick, and Ruth Terry
Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962) with Greta Thyssen
Fall Girl (1961)
Raymie (1960) with Julie Adams, David Ladd, and Richard Arlen
Destination Space (1959) with Harry Townes, Whitney Blake, Cecil Kellaway, and Edward Platt
Invisible Invaders (1959) with John Carradine, Robert Hutton, and Jean Byron
Attack of the Puppet People (1958) with June Kenney, John Hoyt, and Jean Moorhead
Jet Attack (1958) with Audrey Totter and Gregory Walcott
Frontier Gun (1958) with Joyce Meadows and Morris Ankrum
The Brain from Planet Arous (1957) with Joyce Meadows and Robert Fuller
Flesh and the Spur (1957) with Marla English, Lance Fuller, Mike Connors, Raymond Hatton, Joyce Meadows, and Kenne Duncan
Joe Butterfly (1957) with George Nader, Audie Murphy, Keenan Wynn, and Fred Clark
Ride a Violent Mile (1957) with Penny Edwards and Charles Gray
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll (1957) with Gloria Talbott and Molly McCart
The Mole People (1956) with Hugh Beaumont, Cynthia Patrick, Alan Napier, and Nestor Paiva
Star in the Dust (1956) with Mamie Van Doren, Coleen Gray, Richard Boone, Leif Erickson, and Randy Stuart
Hold Back Tomorrow (1955) with Cleo Moore and Mel Welles
Tarantula (1955) with Mara Corday, Leo G. Carroll, Nestor Paiva, Raymond Bailey, and Hank Patterson
Revenge of the Creature (1955) with John Bromfield, Lori Nelson, and Nestor Paiva
The Lonesome Trail (1955) with Adele Jergens, Wayne Morris, and Edgar Buchanan
Bait (1954) with Cleo Moore, Hugo Haas, and Bruno VeSota
The Rocket Man (1954) with Charles Coburn, Anne Francis, Spring Byington, and Beverly Garland
Shield for Murder (1954) with Edmund O'Brien, Carolyn Jones, Marla English, and Claude Akins
The Golden Mistress (1954)
Man of Conflict (1953) with Susan Morrow
Woman of the North Country (1952) with Rod Cameron, Gale Storm, Ruth Hussey, J. Carrol Naish, Jim Davis, and Jay C. Flippen
The Magic Carpet (1951) with Lucille Ball, Patricia Medina, and Raymond Burr
Along the Great Divide (1951) with Kirk Douglas, Virginia Mayo, Walter Brennan, and Morris Ankrum
Breakthrough (1950) with David Brian and William Campbell
Adventure in Baltimore (1949) with Robert Young and Shirley Temple
The Woman On Pier 13 (1949) with Robert Ryan, Laraine Day, Janis Carter, and William Talman
Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) with John Wayne, Adele Mara, Forrest Tucker, Arthur Franz, Martin Milner, and Julie Bishop
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) with John Wayne, Joanne Dru, George O'Brien, and Tom Tyler
Fort Apache (1948) with John Wayne, Henry Fonda, George O'Brien, and Shirley Temple

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
The Twilight Zone, episode A Day in Beaumont/The Last Defender of Camelot, originally aired April 11, 1986
Highway to Heaven, episode Return of the Masked Rider, originally aired October 3, 1984
Charlie's Angels, episode Target: Angels, originally aired October 27, 1976
Police Story, episode The Long Ball, originally aired February 13, 1976
Chase, episode Remote Control, originally aired February 27, 1974
The Virginian, episode The Mustangers, originally aired December 4, 1968
The Name of the Game, episode Nightmare, originally aired October 18, 1968
Family Affair, episode What Did You Do in the West, Uncle?, originally aired April 17, 1967
Combat!, episode The Mockingbird, originally aired January 4, 1966
Branded, episode $10,000 for Durango, originally aired November 28, 1965
The Virginian, episode Another's Footsteps, originally aired March 11, 1964
Death Valley Days, episode Pioneer Doctor, originally aired January 2, 1963
Lawman, episode The Witness, originally aired June 24, 1962
Bat Masterson, episode Farmer with a Badge, originally aired May 18, 1961
The Best of the Post, episode Band of Brothers, originally aired January 28, 1961
Rawhide, episode Incident of the Slavemaster, originally aired November 11, 1960
Rawhide, episode Incident at the Buffalo Smokehouse, originally aired October 30, 1959
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Caretaker's Cat, originally aired March 7, 1959
The Gale Storm Show, episode Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend, originally aired September 6, 1958
General Electric Theater, episode Thousand Dollar Gun, originally aired October 20, 1957
Climax!, episode The First and the Last, originally aired April 28, 1955
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, episode Little War at San Dede, originally aired May 28, 1954
Fireside Theatre, episode The Farnsworth Case, originally aired March 9, 1954
Letter to Loretta, episode Earthquake, originally aired October 25, 1953
The Ford Television Theatre, episode The Old Man's Bride, originally aired February 12, 1953
The Unexpected, episode Desert Honeymoon, originally aired November 12, 1952
Hollywood Opening Night, episode Delaying Action, originally aired October 20, 1952
Fireside Theatre, episode Next to Crash, originally aired September 30, 1952

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This page premiered April 10, 2002.
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