Updated: March 30, 2021
DAVID HEDISON PHOTO GALLERY #04
David Hedison is the only child of Albert, a jeweller, and Rose. At a young age David
knew that a career in acting was in store for him after seeing the swashbuckler
Tyrone Power in Blood and Sand. Before his thespian dream could be realized, David would
first enter the Navy shortly before the end of WWII. He later left the service as a
Seaman Second Class. Though he wanted to study acting in New York, his father wanted
his son to attend college, so Hedison entered Brown where he became a member of the Ivy
League School's "Socks and Bushkin Players". After a few years at the noted institute,
he relocated to New York to pursue his dream. While in New York, he studied under acting
teacher Lee Strasberg at the famed Actors Studio, and with Sanford Meisner and
Martha Graham at the Neighborhood Playhouse, sharing the classroom with the likes of
aspiring actors Steve McQueen and Joanne Woodward.
During his days as a struggling actor, he met up with another aspiring star named Roger Moore
who, as fate would have it, would become a life-long friend of Hedison's. Getting his foot in
the door was a hard process, but eventually David landed some roles in commercials on such
programs as Studio One, Playhouse 90, and Kraft Television Theatre. His big break came when
his acting teacher, the famed Uta Hagen, recommended him for a part in an off-Broadaw run of
Ivan Turgenev's A Month in the Country. He auditioned for director Sir Michael Redgrave and
nabbed a role in the play, along with the Theatre World Award for Most Promising Newcomer. It
was during the show's run at the Phoenix Theatre that Hedison attracted the attention of a
talent scout from Twentieth Century Fox who soon signed the actor to a contract with the studio.
The one-time Navy Seaman Second Class made his cinematic debut in Dick Powell's WWII thriller
The Enemy Below in 1958, starring opposite Robert Mitchum. His next role came in a film, which
like many 50's films, alluded to the destructive technological advances made in the previous
decade. He played a scientist whose experiments go awry in the creepy thriller The Fly.
Although Hedison loved the story, he thought the use of a fly mask made for a bad idea and
suggested that a progressive make-up technique be used. His idea was rejected, but
interestingly, nearly 30 years later, David Cronenberg went on to use this technique in his
remake. Despite Hedison's not being keen on the finished product of The Fly, the film was a hit.
David was later cast in a TV series based on the film Five Fingers. It was then that NBC felt that
Al had to go, not the actor but his name, since it lacked star quality. The name of David Hedison
was born, and the Five Fingers TV series soon died as it was up against the television oater Gunsmoke.
David followed up Five Fingers with the adventure The Lost World in 1960, based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's
book. The film marked the first time he worked for Irwin Allen; a union that would eventually prove
profitable for the both of them. When David was asked by Allen to play the role of Captain Lee Crane
in the feature film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Hedison declined because he thought it was
nothing more than a special effects and adventure fantasy. Instead, David chose to appear as the
apostle Phillip in George Stevens' biblical epic The Greatest Story Ever Told.
While the actor was in England, he again was contacted by Irwin Allen, who wanted him to play
Captain Crane in a TV series inspired by his hit film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. At the
time Hedison was filming a guest spot on the series based on Leslie Charteris' The Saint. The
series star, old friend Roger Moore, encouraged his American friend to take the offer because a
role on a series would mean a steady income. But it was only when he found out that
Richard Basehart was signed to play the lead, did Hedison come on board. He felt the opportunity to
work with the multi-talented Basehart would be worth anything.
Though happy to have a regular job, Hedison grew tired of resorting to the use of a monster of the
week or a story that relied more on special effects. When the series ended in 1968 after a four
season run, making it the longest-running Irwin Allen series, David was offered the role of
patriarch Mike Brady in the Sherwood Schwartz series The Brady Bunch. He turned down the series,
stating at the time, "After four years of subs and monsters, who needs kids and dogs?"
He left America to work on a film in Italy. He later met Bridget Mori, a striking, raven- maned
woman who would become his wife [They have two daughters: Serena and Alexandra]. David and his new
bride relocated to England where he appeared on British television and on the stage. His proudest
effort as an actor came when he appeared with Lee Remick in a production of Tennessee Williams' Summer
and Smoke. It aired one night and one night only on British TV as there was a contract that following
its airing, the tape would be erased.
David was suggested by old friend Tom Mankiewicz, a writer, to portray the American ally of Ian Fleming's
superspy James Bond. The actor was cast as CIA agent Felix Leiter in Live and Let Die. At the time, the
producers were hoping Sean Connery would return to the role that made him a star, but Connery said "no"
and Hedison's old friend Roger Moore stepped into the shoes of the charming 007. David would later go on
to reprise his role in License To Kill. An interesting piece of trivia is that Hedison being fed by a
shark in License is originally what happened to his character in the Live and Let Die novel.
Though many of his films and television series were successful, theatre is where David continues to find
his greatest joy.