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|Jack Webb as Joe Friday on Dragnet|
|Birthday/Birthplace||John Randolph Webb
(1920-04-02)April 2, 1920
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Deceased||December 23, 1982(1982-12-23)
West Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles
34°08′54″N 118°19′38″W / 34.14840°N 118.32718°W / 34.14840; -118.32718
|Other names||John Randolph|
|Profession(s)||Actor, producer, director, screenwriter|
John Randolph “Jack” Webb (April 2, 1920 – December 23, 1982) was an American Emmy nominated actor, as well as a television producer, film director and author, famous above all for his portrayal of Sergeant Joe Friday on the Dragnet radio and television series. He also founded his own production company, Mark VII Limited.
First years and career
Born in Santa Monica (California), Webb grew up in a poor environment in the neighborhood of Bunker Hill in Los Angeles. His father was a Jew, and his mother a Catholic. He was a sickly child, and in his youth he studied art. One of the tenants of the pension run by his mother was a jazz musician, promoting in Webb a lasting interest in this music by giving him a recording of Bix Beiderbecke. Later Webb graduated from Belmont High School in Los Angeles.
Career as an interpreter
After serving in the Air Forces of the United States Army as a member of the crew of a Martin B-26 Marauder during World War II, he moved to San Francisco (California) to star in his own radio show, The Jack Webb Show, a half-hour humor show broadcast by ABC in 1946. In the spring and summer of 1949 he switched comedy for drama to acting in Pat Novak for Hire, a radio show about a private detective without a license. It was co-starring Raymond Burr. Other Webb radio shows were Johnny Modero; Pier 23; Jeff Regan, Investigator; Murder and Mr. Malone and One Out of Seven. The best was One Out of Seven, and in the same Webb gave voice to all the characters. Pat Novak was notable for the scripts, which imitated, and almost parodied, the style of writers like Raymond Chandler.
Probably his most famous role for the cinema was that of instructor of the United States Marine Corps in the 1957 film The D.I., with Don Dubbins. The characterization of Webb in this role would mark his interpretive career.
Dragnet and arrival to stardom
Webb had a role as a laboratory technician in the 1948 film He Walked by Night, based on the actual murder of a policeman. The film was made in semi-documentary style and with technical advice from a detective from the Los Angeles Police Department. This title was what gave Webb the idea to make Dragnet.
After being helped by the same adviser to He Walked by Night and the legendary Chief of Police William H. Parker, Dragnet debuted on the radio in 1949 (airing until 1954) and on television in 1951 on NBC. Webb played Sergeant Joe Friday, and Barton Yarborough played Sgt. Ben Romero.
In 1950 Webb acted alongside his future Dragnet partner Harry Morgan in the dark film film Dark City.
In 1952 Dragnet became a great television success. Unfortunately, Barton Yarborough died suddenly from a heart attack, and Barney Phillips (Sgt. Ed Jacobs) and Herbert Ellis (Frank Smith) temporarily supplied it. In 1952 veteran actor Ben Alexander debuted as the second incarnation of jovial Frank Smith, remaining on the show until its completion in 1959.
In the early days of Dragnet, Webb continued to perform in other films, highlighting his performance with William Holden in the 1950 film directed by Billy Wilder Sunset Boulevard.
In his personal life, Webb was more interested in jazz than in police work. His passion for the cornet and his racial tolerance allowed him to move easily in the jazz culture, in which Webb met the singer and actress Julie London. They married in 1947 and had two children. The couple divorced in 1953.
In 1951 Webb presented a short-lived series on the radio, Pete Kelly’s Blues, in an attempt to bring jazz to the big audience. That series was the basis for the 1955 film Pete Kelly’s Blues. However, neither the series nor the film were very successful.
In 1963 Webb replaced William T. Orr as executive producer of the ABC 77 television series Sunset Strip. He made changes in the program and kept only Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. .. The result was disastrous, and the audience sank, canceling the series mediated the sixth season.
In 1967 Webb produced and starred in a new color version of Dragnet for NBC, in which Harry Morgan intervened. The series was broadcast until 1970.
Starting in 1968, associated with Robert A. Cinader, Webb produced for NBC Adam-12, a series performed by Martin Milner and Kent McCord, and which continued until 1975.
In the early 1970s Webb produced The DA, with Robert Conrad, and O’Hara: US Treasury, with David Janssen. Both programs had a short life, but another show, Emergency !, was a great success, and aired between 1972 and 1979, with ratings that rivaled their competitor, All in the Family. Webb chose his ex-wife, Julie London, as well as her second husband, Bobby Troup, to be part of the cast. Emergency! he was so successful that he even had a spin-off series in cartoons, Emergency + 4.
Project UFO was another production by Webb, and it described the Blue Book Project, an investigation by the United States Air Force on UFOs. This was the last great product of its producer Mark VII.
In 1982 Webb was working in West Hollywood, California, on the script for a new Dragnet replacement with Kent McCord as his partner, when he died of acute myocardial infarction, at 62 years of age. Jack Webb was buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Webb had a funeral with full police honors, even though he had never served in the Corps.
Jack Webb Net Worth – $10 Million
More Facts about Jack Webb
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