Born John Jenner Thompson in New York City in 1918, he studied acting at the Theodora Irvine School of the Theatre, whose alumni include Anne Baxter, Marsha Hunt, and Cornel Wilde. (Note: The school is erroneously listed as Theodore Irvine in some sources; it's also known as the Theodora Irvine Studio of the Theatre and the Theodora Irvine Drama School).
Dall made his Broadway debut in 1941 and got his first lead role in Dear Ruth, which ran from 1944 to 1946. When Paramount made the play into a 1947 film, William Holden was cast in Dall's Broadway role as Lieutenant William Seacroft.
|Dall with Bette Davis in The |
Corn is Green.
Dall's follow-up was Something in the Wind, a Deanna Durbin musical in which he played the romantic leading man. He got a juicier part as a Civil War veteran in Another Part of the Forest, Lillian Hellman's prequel to The Little Foxes. Dall's star seemed to be on the rise when he was offered Rope in 1948.
|He and Farley Granger played|
murderers in Hitchcock's Rope.
|Dall and Peggy Cummins play newlyweds|
pondering a life of crime in Gun Crazy.
By 1965, his acting career was over. He died seven years later, age 52, from either a punctured lung or a heart attack (the accounts vary).
A talented actor with good looks, Dall seemed destined to become a star. Instead, he leaves us with three memorable performances and a reminder that acting is a fickle business where success can often be attributed to being in the right movies at the right time.