B-movie bad boy Steve Cochran was born Robert Alexander Cochran in Eureka, California, on May 25, 1917. His father, a lumberjack, moved the family to Wyoming in the 1920s, where Cochran grew up. After graduating from the University of Wyoming in 1939, Cochran began working in regional theater and summer stock. By the time he signed to make films with the Samuel Goldwyn Company in 1945, Cochran had a couple of Broadway plays under his belt. His film debut came in the 1945 Danny Kaye film Wonder Man, produced by Goldwyn and released by RKO. His work for Goldwyn consisted of mostly supporting roles, often playing boxers and gangsters. Upon being released from his contract with Goldwyn in 1948, Cochran went back to Broadway. After appearing in the Broadway show Diamond Lil with Mae West, he signed with Warner Bros. in 1949 and returned to Hollywood. His film career fared better at the new studio, with Cochran landing leading roles in such film noir classics as The Damned Don't Cry (1950; with Joan Crawford), Highway 301 (1950; with Virginia Grey), and Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951; with Ruth Roman). Warners also cast him as the heavy in a number of solid westerns, including Dallas (1950; with Gary Cooper, Ruth Roman, and Barbara Payton) and Back to God's Country (1953; with Rock Hudson and Hugh O'Brian).

Steve CochranSteve CochranSteve CochranSteve Cochran

Various shots of Steve Cochran

With the end of his Warner Bros. contract in 1953, Cochran started his own production company, Robert Alexander Productions. He freelanced for other studios and began taking television roles. Cochran starred in a string of B movies throughout the later 1950s, including Carnival Story (1954; with George Nader); The Outcry (1957; produced by Robert Alexander Productions); and The Beat Generation (1959; with Mamie Van Doren and Fay Spain).

the films of steve cochran

Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion (1945)

Chester Morris and Steve Cochran

With Chester Morris in Columbia's mystery series Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion

The Chase (1946)

Michele Morgan, Peter Lorre, and Steve Cochran

From the independently produced film noir flick The Chase, released by United Artists, with Michele Morgan and Peter Lorre

The Kid From Brooklyn (1946)

Virginia Mayo, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, and Steve Cochran

With Virginia Mayo, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen in The Kid From Brooklyn, one of Cochran's few comedies

White Heat (1949)

Virginia Mayo and Steve Cochran

With frequent co-star Virginia Mayo in the film noir thriller White Heat

Highway 301 (1950)

Virginia Grey and Steve CochranVirginia Grey, Steve Cochran, and Gaby Andre

From the Warner Bros. film noir thriller Highway 301 with Virginia Grey and Gaby Andre

Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951)

Ruth Roman and Steve Cochran

With Ruth Roman in the Warner Bros. noir thriller Tomorrow Is Another Day

Storm Warning (1951)

Steve Cochran and Ginger Rogers

With Ginger Rogers in the Warner Bros. noir Storm Warning

Back to God's Country (1953)

Steve CochranSteve Cochran and Marcia Henderson in Back to God's CountrySteve Cochran and Rock Hudson in Back to God's CountrySteve Cochran and Rock Hudson

Cochran was at his best playing villains. In Back to God's Country, he's after Peter Keith's (Rock Hudson) wife, Dolores (Marcia Henderson). LEFT: Promotional photo. CENTER A: Cochran puts the moves on Marcia Henderson. CENTER B and RIGHT: Rock Hudson exacts revenge on Steve Cochran

Slander (1957)

Van Johnson, Ann Blythe, and Steve Cochran

With Van Johnson and Ann Blythe in the MGM film noir release Slander

I Mobster (1958)

Steve Cochran and Lita Milan

With Lita Milan in the 20th Century-Fox film noir thriller I Mobster, directed by Roger Corman

Quantrill's Raiders (1958)

Steve Cochran, Leo Gordon, and Glenn Strange

From the Warner Bros. war western Quantrill's Raiders with Leo Gordon and Glenn Strange

The Beat Generation (1959)

Steve CochranSteve Cochran and Jackie Coogan

From The Beat Generation, one of two films Cochran starred in for producer Albert Zugsmith. LEFT: Behind-the-scenes photo. RIGHT: With Jackie Coogan

The Big Operator (1959)

Steve Cochran, Mamie Van Doren, and Mel Torme

With Mamie Van Doren and Mel Torme in Albert Zugsmith's The Big Operator

Of Love and Desire (1963)

Merle Oberon and Steve Cochran

From the 20th Century Fox release Of Love and Desire with Merle Oberon in one of her final films

Mozambique (1965)

Steve Cochran

Lobby card from Mozambique, Cochran's penultimate film

later years

Cochran's film career began to cool in the early 1960s, but he stayed busy making numerous guest appearances on such television programs as Route 66, The Untouchables, and Burke's Law. In June 1965, Steve Cochran sailed to Guatemala with an all-girl crew to scout filming locations for his production company. Tragically, he developed a sudden acute lung infection and died a few days into the trip, on June 15, 1965, at the age of 48. His final films, Mozambique and Tell Me in the Sunlight (a film in which he directed, wrote, produced, and acted), were released posthumously. He was survived by his estranged third wife, Jonna, and a daughter from his first marriage.

Married three times, Cochran's best-known wife was his second, actress Fay McKenzie, whom he married in 1946. Throughout his career, Cochran was known as quite the ladies man and was romantically linked with a number of actresses, including Mae West, Mamie Van Doren, Jayne Mansfield, Joan Crawford, and Merle Oberon.

steve cochran films available from


Tell Me in the Sunlight (1965) with Rockne Tarkington
Mozambique (1965) with Hildegard Knef
Of Love and Desire (1963) with Merle Oberon, John Agar, and Steve Brodie
The Deadly Companions (1961) with Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith
The Big Operator (1959) with Mamie Van Doren, Mickey Rooney, Ziva Rodann, Vampira, Mel Torme, Ray Danton, and Ray Anthony
The Beat Generation (1959) with Mamie Van Doren, Ray Danton, Ray Anthony, Fay Spain, Regina Carroll, Vampira, and Irish McCalla
I Mobster... The Life of a Gangster (1958) with Lita Milan, Yvette Vickers, and Lili St. Cyr
Quantrill's Raiders (1958) with Myron Healey, Leo Gordon, and Glenn Strange
The Outcry (1957) aka Il Grido
The Weapon (1957) with Lizabeth Scott and Nicole Maurey
Slander (1957) with Van Johnson and Ann Blyth
Come Next Spring (1956) with Ann Sheridan and Sonny Tufts
Private Hell 36 (1954) with Ida Lupino, Howard Duff, and Dorothy Malone
Carnival Story (1954) with George Nader and Anne Baxter
Back to God's Country (1953) with Rock Hudson, Hugh O'Brian, and Marcia Henderson
The Desert Song (1953) with Kathryn Grayson, Gordon MacRae, and Raymond Massey
Shark River (1953) with Carole Mathews
She's Back on Broadway (1953) with Virginia Mayo and Gene Nelson
The Lion and the Horse (1952) with Bob Steele and Tom Tyler
Operation Secret (1952) with Cornel Wilde and Phyllis Thaxter
Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951) with Ruth Roman and Lurene Tuttle
The Tanks Are Coming (1951) with Philip Carey
Raton Pass (1951) with Dennis Morgan and Patricia Neal
Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951) with Burt Lancaster and Phyllis Thaxter
Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison (1951) with David Brian, William Campbell, and Philip Carey
Storm Warning (1951) with Ginger Rogers, Doris Day, and Ronald Reagan
Dallas (1950) with Gary Cooper, Ruth Roman, Raymond Massey, and Barbara Payton
Highway 301 (1950) with Virginia Grey and Richard Egan
The Damned Don't Cry (1950) with Joan Crawford, David Brian, and Richard Egan
White Heat (1949) with James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, and John Archer
A Song Is Born (1948) with Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, and Hugh Herbert
Copacabana (1947) with Groucho Marx and Carmen Miranda
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) with Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Virginia Mayo, Cathy O'Donnell, and Dana Andrews
The Chase (1946) with Robert Cummings, Michele Morgan, and Peter Lorre
The Kid from Brooklyn (1946) with Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Eve Arden, Vera-Ellen, and Fay Bainter
Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion (1945) with Chester Morris
Boston Blackie's Rendezvous (1945) with Chester Morris and Nina Foch
The Gay Senorita (1945) with Jinx Falkenburg and Lita Baron
Wonder Man (1945) with Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, and Vera-Ellen

Bonanza, episode The Trap, originally aired March 28, 1965
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed the Rest?, originally aired March 17, 1965
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed the Tall One in the Middle?, originally aired November 25, 1964
Mr. Broadway, episode Keep an Eye on Emily, originally aired September 26, 1964
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed Who IV?, originally aired April 3, 1964
Death Valley Days, episode The Westside of Heaven, originally aired March 1, 1964
Route 66, episode Shall Forfeit His Dog and Ten Shillings to the King, originally aired February 22, 1963
Stoney Burke, episode Death Rides a Pale Horse, originally aired January 14, 1963
The Virginian, episode West, originally aired November 28, 1962
The Untouchables, episode 90-Proof Dame, originally aired June 8, 1961
The Untouchables, episode The Purple Gang, originally aired December 1, 1960
Naked City, episode Debt of Honor, originally aired November 23, 1960
The Twilight Zone, episode What You Need, originally aired December 25, 1959
Zane Grey Theater, episode Debt of Gratitude, originally aired April 18, 1958
Studio One, episode A Most Contagious Game, originally aired October 17, 1955
Studio One, episode The Role of a Lover, originally aired February 22, 1954
Studio One, episode Letter of Love, originally aired October 19, 1953
NBC Presents, episode Tin Can Skipper, originally aired May 2, 1949

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Watch Steve Cochran's 1954 film Private Hell 36

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