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Jeff Corey

Jeff Corey

With large, warm eyes, bushy salt 'n' pepper hair, and an angular chin, Corey has been known to audiences as Ann Romano's father on "One Day at a Time" and as the retired lawyer who helped Robert Blake with legal matters on "Hell Town" (NBC, 1985). Corey first played Broadway in 1936, as Rosencrantz to Leslie Howard's "Hamlet." By 1940, he was in Hollywood, working for MGM in "Third Finger, Left Hand" and he had a more substantial role in RKO's version of "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1941), as Tom Sharp, the man who sells his soul to Satan. But most of his roles during the decade were minor, such as playing a reporter in "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947), and a prison guard in "Joan of Arc" (1948). He was ranch hand Tim Murphy in "My Friend Flicka" (1947) and played Abe Lincoln for Republic Studios in "Rock Island Trail" (1950). Always a freelancer, Corey played in eight films in 1951 before being named by several witnesses to the House Committee on Un-American Activities and finding himself all but banned from work in Hollywood, despite his relatively minor status on the totem pole. Rather than try to revive a stage career in New York and with TV also a closed door, Corey began teaching acting workshops in L.A. Finally, in 1963, he returned to the screen with a small role in "The Balcony" (which also boasted Lee Grant, another re-emerging victim of the blacklisting). His features now made leathery by the elements, his craft now more fluid, Corey became a frequent screen presence in supporting roles, sometimes in roles of greater importance than he could have won before 1950. He was Scott Wilson's father in "In Cold Blood" (1967), and a sheriff with an eye on "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969). He played Wild Bill Hickock in "Little Big Man" (1970), alongside Dustin Hoffman, and the rabbi whose opinion is sought on John Denver's claims of seeing the divine in "Oh, God!" (1977). He reprised his role of Bledsoe in "Butch and Sundance: The Early Years" (1979), and was the grand vizier in "Conan the Destroyer" (1984). TV also opened up in the 60s and Corey appeared in episodes of most of the leading series, although he did not become a series regular until "Hell Town." Corey appeared alongside Sylvia Sidney and Kate Reid as retirees sharing their space with orphans in "Morningstar/Eveningstar" a short-lived 1986 CBS series. Corey made his TV-movie debut in "The Movie Murderer" (NBC, 1970), and played Prince Feiyad in "Harold Robbins' 'The Pirate'" (CBS, 1978). He began directing for TV with episodes of the short-lived NBC series "The Psychiatrist" (1971) and has since helmed many others.