Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Underdog Series

John Payne, Gail Russell, and Jeffrey Lynn in "Captain China"

I understand not a lot of people know who Jeffrey Lynn and probably think that I'm crazy for liking him so much but I can't help it. I am always rooting for the underdog and in a way I feel like he is an underdog. The first time I saw him, was in "My Love Came Back" and I seriously didn't think much of him then. As I gradually began to watch more of his films like "Four Daughters", I started to like him more and more. Many will disagree with me but he was quite charming in his films and not at all bad looking. He nearly had the role of Ashley Wilkes in "Gone with the Wind" but David O. Selznick felt audiences wouldn't know him as well as Leslie Howard. David did say though that he thought Jeffrey Lynn would have been the better choice over Leslie. Imagine if it was Jeffrey instead of Leslie, would he have had a bigger fan base today? What makes this whole thing ironic is Leslie Howard wasn't even that fond of his role in "Gone with the Wind". I personally think that Jeffrey could have done it, the only problem was his accent but with some training he could have done it.

Jeffrey Lynn was born Ragnar Godfrey Lind in Auburn Massachusetts on February 16th 1909. Though not much is out there about his younger years, according to what I've read he had two brothers and three sisters. That is all I have on his family.

In 1930, Jeffrey graduated from Bates College in Maine with a BA degree. Not only was he very intelligent but he was also athletic. He was on the track team and was also an English teacher. Something must have attracted him to Hollywood because that is where he went to next.

His first film role was in "Out Where the Stars Begin", where he played a news reporter(Gemini). Each character in the movie was an astrological sign. In the beginning of his film career, Jeffrey was getting the bit roles in the movies, but when "Four Daughters" came around, his bit roles were coming to an end. Though people wouldn't know him as well as Cary Grant or Clark Gable, he did have his own fan base.

When "Four Daughters" came out, the buzz was almost entirely on newcomer John Garfield(who ended up getting nominated for his role in FD). As two more sequels for "Four Daughters" came out, Jeffrey's role got bigger and bigger.

In the 1940's, Jeffrey officially changed his name to Jeffrey Lynn, enlisted in the army, and married Robin Chandler Tippett in 1946. When he came back from duty, Jeffrey's roles were no longer as great as they were before he went off to war. Still employed to Warner Brothers, Jeffrey did such films as "A Letter to Three Wives" and "Strange Bargain".

During his marriage to Robin, they had two children, a daughter named Letitia and a son named Jeffrey. In the 1950's, television was coming in and making a splash ans Jeffrey took a dip into the waters, making appearances on such shows as "Robert Montgomery Presents" and "My Son Jeep". As he got older, his interests in acting waned and he soon took a job as a real estate broker. In the 1950's and 1960's, Jeffrey did appear on Broadway in such plays as "Two for the Seesaw" and "Dinner at Eight".

His marriage to Robin ended in the 1950's, and he married again but that marriage ended in divorce in the 1970's(though they did remain friends). He married for one last time in his later years of his life. In the late 1980's, Jeffrey appeared on the popular hit show "Murder She Wrote" in which "Strange Bargain" was made into a sequel for the show.

On November 24th 1995, at the age of 86 Jeffrey passed away from natural causes.

Best films-

"Four Daughters"
"A Letter to Three Wives"
"A Child is Born"
"Yes,My Darling Daughter"

So there you go for the start of the Underdog Series. Who would you like to see on the Underdog Series?

Jeffrey Lynn with Mrs.John Rogers of the Salvation Army(He started off as a Salvation Army Santa Claus)

Jeffrey Lynn as Bartimeus in a 1952 episode of "Family Theatre"

Geraldine Fitzgerald and Jeffrey for "A Child is Born"

Jeffrey Lynn in "Law of the Tropics"


Genevieve said...

Don't worry, I don't think you're crazy for liking him! I like him as well, probably because of his films with Priscilla Lane : )

I'm excited to see who else wil be in your underdog series. Perhaps, good old Robert Cummings??

Nicole said...

Glad to feel like I'm not going crazy after all. haha

I will definitely write one for good old Robert.

Millie said...

That is such a cool idea for a series. How about Ray Milland? (Minus most of his horror movies.)