Handsome American leading man Guy Madison stumbled into a film career and became a television star and hero to the Baby Boom generation. As a young man he worked as a telephone lineman, but entered the Coast Guard at the beginning of the Second World War.
Handsome American leading man Guy Madison stumbled into a film career and became a television star and hero to the Baby Boom generation. As a young man he worked as a telephone lineman, but entered the Coast Guard at the beginning of the Second World War. While on liberty one weekend in Hollywood, he attended a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast and was spotted in the audience by an assistant to Henry Willson, an executive for David O. Selznick. Selznick wanted an unknown sailor to play a small but prominent part in Since You Went Away (1944), and promptly signed Robert Moseley to a contract. Selznick and Willson concocted the screen name Guy Madison (the guy girls would like to meet, and Madison from a passing Dolly Madison cake wagon). Madison filmed his one scene on a weekend pass and returned to duty. The films release brought thousands of fan letters for Madisons lonely, strikingly handsome young sailor, and at wars end he returned to find himself a star-in-the-making. Despite an initial amateurishness to his acting, Madison grew as a performer, studying and working in theatre. He played leads in a series of programmers before being cast as legendary lawman Wild Bill Hickok in the TV series Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (1951). He played Hickok on TV and radio for much of the 1950s, and many of the TV episodes were strung together and released as feature films. Madison managed to squeeze in some more adult-oriented roles during his off-time from the series, but much of this work was also in westerns.