John Agar - Rotten Tomatoes

John Agar



John Agar was one of a promising group of leading men to emerge in the years after World War II. He never became the kind of star that he seemed destined to become in mainstream movies, but he did find a niche in genre films a decade later. Agar was the son of a Chicago meatpacker and never aspired to an acting career until fate took a hand in 1945, when he met Shirley Temple, the former child star and one of the most famous young actresses in Hollywood. In a whirlwind romance, the 17-year-old Temple married the 25-year-old Agar. His good looks made him seem a natural candidate for the screen and, in 1946, he was signed to a six-year contract by producer David O. Selznick. He never actually appeared in any of Selznick's movies, but his services were loaned out at a considerable profit to the producer, beginning in 1948 with his screen debut (opposite Temple) in John Ford's classic cavalry drama Fort Apache, starring John Wayne and Henry Fonda. His work in that movie led to a still larger role in Ford's She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, also starring Wayne. Those films were to mark the peak of Agar's mainstream film career, though John Wayne, who took a liking to the younger actor, saw to it that he had a major role in The Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), which was one of the most popular war movies of its era. In 1949, however, Temple divorced Agar and his career slowed considerably; apart from the film he did with Wayne, the most notable aspect of his career that year was his appearance in the anti-Communist potboiler I Married a Communist (aka The Woman on Pier 13). During the early '50s, he appeared in a series of low-budget programmers such as The Magic Carpet, one of Lucille Ball's last feature films prior to the actress becoming a television star, and played leads in second features, including the offbeat comedy The Rocket Man.

Agar seemed destined to follow in the same downward career path already blazed by such failed mid-'40s leading men as Sonny Tufts, when a film came along at Universal-International in 1955 that gave his career a second wind. The studio was preparing a sequel to its massively popular Creature From the Black Lagoon, directed by Jack Arnold, and needed a new leading man; Agar's performance in an independent film called The Golden Mistress had impressed the studio and he was signed to do the movie. Revenge of the Creature, directed by Arnold, was nearly as successful as its predecessor, and Agar had also come off well, playing a two-fisted scientist. He was cast as the lead in Arnold's next science fiction film, Tarantula, then in a Western, Star in the Dust, and then in The Mole People, another science fiction title. In between, he also slipped in a leading-man performance in Hugo Haas' crime drama Hold Back Tomorrow. He left Universal when the studio refused to give him roles in a wider range of movies, but his career move backfired, limiting him almost entirely to science fiction and Western movies for the next decade. In 1956, the same year that he did The Mole People, Agar made what was arguably the most interesting of all his 1950s films, Flesh and the Spur, directed by Edward L. Cahn for American International. The revenge Western, in which he played a dual role, wasn't seen much beyond the drive-in circuit, however, and was not widely shown on television; it is seldom mentioned in his biographies despite the high quality of the acting and writing. Agar was most visible over the next few years in horror and science fiction films, including Daughter of Dr. Jekyll, Attack of the Puppet People, The Brain From Planet Arous, Invisible Invaders, and Journey to the Seventh Planet. Every so often, he would also work in a mainstream feature such as Joe Butterfly or odd independent features like Lisette, but it was the science fiction films that he was most closely associated with and where he found an audience and a fandom. Coupled with his earlier movies for Universal, those films turned Agar into one of th

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Shield for Murder
  • Mark Brewster
2003
No Score Yet Invasion of Privacy
  • Old Convict
1992
No Score Yet The Perfect Bride
  • Gramps
1991
No Score Yet Fear
  • Leonard Scott Levy
1990
36% Nightbreed
  • Special Appearance
1990
88% Miracle Mile
  • Ivan Peters
1989
No Score Yet Horrible Horror
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Perfect Victims
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Mr. No Legs
  • Actor
1981
46% King Kong
  • City Official
1976
No Score Yet Big Jake
  • Bert Ryan
1971
83% Chisum
  • Patton
1970
17% The Undefeated
  • Christian
1969
No Score Yet Night Fright
  • Sheriff Clint Crawford
1967
100% The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
  • Dion O'Bannion
1967
No Score Yet Women of the Prehistoric Planet
  • Dr. Farrell
1966
No Score Yet Curse of the Swamp Creature
  • Barry Rogers
1966
No Score Yet Zontar: Thing from Venus
  • Dr. Curt Taylor
1966
No Score Yet Warnings from Space
  • Actor
1966
No Score Yet Johnny Reno
  • Ed Tomkins
1966
No Score Yet Hell Raiders
  • Actor
1965
No Score Yet Law of the Lawless
  • Pete Stone
1964
No Score Yet Cavalry Command
  • Sgt. Judd Norcutt
1963
No Score Yet Journey to the Seventh Planet
  • Capt. Don Graham
1962
No Score Yet Invisible Invaders
  • Maj. Bruce Jay
1959
No Score Yet Attack of the Puppet People
  • Bob Westley
1958
No Score Yet Fantastic Puppet People
  • Actor
1958
33% The Brain from Planet Arous
  • Steve March
1957
No Score Yet Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
  • Janet Smith
1957
No Score Yet The Mole People
  • Dr. Roger Bentley
1956
No Score Yet Flesh and the Spur
  • Luke Random/Matt Random
1956
No Score Yet Star in the Dust
  • Sheriff Bill Jorden
1956
No Score Yet The Lonesome Trail
  • Actor
1955
22% Revenge of the Creature
  • Prof. Clete Ferguson
1955
92% Tarantula
  • Dr. Matt Hastings
1955
No Score Yet The Golden Mistress
  • Bill Buchanan
1954
No Score Yet Loretta Young Show, The - V. 1
  • Actor
1953
No Score Yet The Magic Carpet
  • Ramoth
1951
No Score Yet Along the Great Divide
  • Billy
1951
No Score Yet Breakthrough
  • Lt. Joe Mallory
1950
100% Sands of Iwo Jima
  • Pfc. Peter Conway
1950
No Score Yet The Woman on Pier 13 (I Married a Communist)
  • Don Lowry
1949
94% She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
  • Lt. Flint Cohill
1949
100% Fort Apache
  • Lt. Michael "Mickey" O'Rourke
1948

Quotes from John Agar's Characters