Signed Paramount Publicity Photo - 1950
Signed Paramount publicity photo, 4″ x 6″ mounted on autograph album page.
CORNELIUS LOUIS WILDE (1915-1989) was an American actor and film director. A talented linguist, and an astute mimic, he had an ear for languages which became apparent later in his acting career. He qualified for the United States fencing team prior to the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, but quit the team just prior to the games saying that it was in order to take a role in the theater.
Hired as a fencing teacher by Laurence Olivier for his 1940 Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet, Wilde was given the role of Tybalt in the production. Because of this role, he was noticed by Hollywood.
Wilde entered City College of New York (CCNY) as a member of the Class of 1933 but dropped out after his freshman year. He had several small film roles until he played the role of Frédéric Chopin in 1945’s A Song to Remember, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1945 he also starred in A Thousand and One Nights with Evelyn Keyes. He spent the rest of the decade appearing in romantic and swashbuckling films, but he also appeared in some significant films noir, opposite Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven (1945), Road House (1948) and Shockproof (1949), the latter film also starring his then wife Patricia Knight.
In the 1950s, Wilde created his own film production company and produced the film noir The Big Combo (1955). Wilde played the male lead alongside his second wife Jean Wallace. That same year, he appeared in an episode of I Love Lucy as himself. In 1957, he played the role of the 13th century Persian poet Omar Khayyam in the film Omar Khayyam.
He produced, directed, and starred in The Naked Prey (1966), in which he played a naked man being tracked by hunters from an African tribe affronted by the behavior of members of a safari party. The original script for The Naked Prey was largely based on a true historical incident about a trapper named John Colter being pursued by Blackfeet Indians in Wyoming. Lower shooting costs, tax breaks, and material and logistical assistance offered by Rhodesia convinced Wilde and the other producers to shoot the film there.
Wilde’s other notable directing efforts include Beach Red (1967) and No Blade of Grass (1970).
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