Warren Hull

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
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

Early years

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]

Career

Films

In the mid-1930s, Hull pursued 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.

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. Two of Hull's better-known appearances of this period were opposite Boris Karloff, in The Walking Dead (1936) and Night Key (1937). Some of Hull's early appearances have him billed as "J. Warren Hull."

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 perhaps 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 television

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 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 life

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]

Death

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]

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1935Personal Maid's SecretJimmy
1935Miss Pacific FleetSgt. Tom Foster
1936Freshman LoveBob Wilson
1936The Walking DeadJimmy
1936The Law in Her HandsAsst. Dist. Atty. Robert Mitchell
1936The Big NoiseKen Mitchell
1936Bengal TigerJoe Larson
1936Love Begins at 20Jerry Wayne
1936Fugitive in the SkyTerry Brewer
1937Her Husband's SecretaryBarton 'Bart' Kingdon
1937Night KeyJim Travers
1937Michael O'HalloranDr. Douglas Bruce
1937Rhythm in the CloudsBob McKay
1937Paradise IsleKennedy
1937A Bride for HenryHenry Tuttle
1938Hawaii CallsCmdr. Milburn
1938The Spider's WebRichard Wentworth / The Spider / Blinky McQuadeSerial
1938Smashing the Spy RingPhil Dunlap
1939Star ReporterJohn Randolph / John Charles Benton
1939Mandrake the MagicianMandrake the MagicianSerial
1939Should a Girl Marry?Dr. Robert Benson
1939Girl from RioSteven Ward
1939Crashing ThruConstable Kelly
1940Yukon FlightBill Shipley
1940Hidden EnemyBill MacGregor
1940The Lone Wolf Meets a LadyBob Penyon
1940The Last AlarmFrank Rogers
1940Marked MenBill Carver
1940Ride, Tenderfoot, RideDonald Gregory
1940Remedy for RichesTom Stewart
1940The Green Hornet Strikes Again!Britt Reid / Green HornetSerial
1941The Spider ReturnsRichard Wentworth / The Spider / Blinky McQuadeSerial
1941Bowery BlitzkriegTom Brady

References

  1. Fierch, Frederick G. (2010). Royalton, Middleport, and Hartland. Arcadia Publishing. p. 36. ISBN 0-738-57238-1.
  2. "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. "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.
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