Guy Madison: Hollywood Heartthrob

Any discussion of Hollywood's handsomest men would be incomplete without Guy Madison.

In fact, "handsome" isn't quite the word for the TV and movie actor, who in his prime would've given The David serious bouts of self-doubt.

Today, he would be turning 96 years old, if you can believe it.

Robert Ozell Moseley was born January 19, 1922 in California, he worked repairing telephone lines before serving in the Navy in WWII. His stint in the service led to his stardom when notorious beefcake magnet Henry Willson (1911-1978), a talent agent known for repping (and renaming) such heartthrobs as Rock Hudson (1925-1985) and Tab Hunter (b. 1931) — among many others — spotted him on leave in Hollywood.

Signed via Willson to David O. Selznick (1902-1965), Madison bowed with a bit part in the massive wartime hit Since You Went Away (1944), which whetted moviegoers' appetites for more info on the uniformed Adonis.

It was a small role, but definitely one of his most engaging and memorable performances.

When his service ended, he began his career in earnest, starring in the hit Till the End of Time (1946) and the flop Honeymoon (1947). He had an uneven film career that was overshadowed by his looks, including working for schlockmeister William Castle (1914-1977) in Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven (1948).

His big break came as the star of The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (1951-1958), a TV western with an impressively long run.

He made movies while ensconced in his hit series, including The Command (1954), Hilda Crane (1956) and action flicks like Slave of Rome (1961) and Women of Devil's Island (1962), some of which were made in Europe.

Madison, once married to actress Gail Russell (1924-1961), made sporadic TV appearances throughout his life and worked off and on in films until the late '70s, with his final performance popping up in the direct-to-video release Crossbow: The Movie (1989).

He died of emphysema on February 6, 1996, aged 74.

7 Responses

  1. Fantastic info and pics-thank you, Matthew!

    • Great piece Matthew. Long may Guy be remembered!

  2. Wow what a beautiful man! How old is he in that last picture?

    • Matthew Rettenmund

      I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think more than late 50s.

  3. Great work. Can you imagine sitting in a movie theater in 1944 and he came on the screen? Truly radiant man. Love your blog. Thanks for what you do.

  4. I saw him in a movie as a child with Dorothy McGuire called Till the End of Time and I was so taken by how “beautiful” this man looked! I was only five but I never forgot him. Until this day, I think he is the most handsome man I have ever seen. I only wish I could have met him! My father loved Westerns and John Wayne so I would watched a lot of Westerns and old movies as a kid in the mid 1970’s and so miss those types of actors/storytellers and movies today. It definitely was a special time in cinema the 40s, 50s, etc. I often feel that I was born in the wrong time, too late and find myself longing for certain aspects of the past. But then I remember how my father and I use to watch those types of movies together and immediately I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have had that time with my father as “time” is so short!

  5. Actress Virginia Leith, a very attractive gal, nonetheless had the misfortune of being the love interest of actors even prettier than she…Guy Madison, in “On the Threshhold Of Space”. and Bill Holden, in “Toward the Unknown.” Ironically filmed the same year, 1956.

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