JACK WEBB BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Jack Webb was born John Randolph Webb on April 2, 1920 in Santa Monica, California to parents Samuel and Margaret. He grew up in a poor section of Los Angeles and attended Belmont High School in Los Angeles, CA.
During World War II he served as a crew member of a B-26 and upon complettion of his service he starred in a radio show about a private detective. Webb married singer and actress Julie London in 1947 and raised two children. They later divorced and Webb married three more times.
Pat Novak, For Hire was an old time radio show (1946-1947) that helped launch his radio and television career as the crusty and strick tough guy roles he portrayed.
In 1948, Webb got a role in the movie, "He Walked By Night" also starring Scott Brady, Whit Bissell and Richard Basehart. It was this film done in a docudrama style that gave Webb the idea for his television series, "Dragnet" (1949).
Webb had gone on some ride alongs with Los Angeles Police Officers and got many of his ideas for his story lines from these ride alongs. Dragnet starred Webb as Joe Friday and Barton Yarborough as Ben Romero. They played detective sergeants working various divisions. Walter Schumann did the theme song for the show.
By 1953, the show was becoming even more successful, however, sadly, Barton Yarborough died suddenly and Ben Alexander would step in as the jovial, burly Frank Smith. The television series ran for 276 episodes through till 1959. Later it was reprised for an additional 98 episodes as Dragnet 1967 co-starring Harry Morgan.
Classic actress Gloria Swanson and film star William Holden were featured in the movie "Sunset Blvd." (1950) in which he solidified his persona as a tough guy.
1951 saw Jack in a World War II film titled "Halls of Montezuma" starring alondside Richard Boone, Richard Widmark, Jack Palance, Robert Wagner, Reginald Gardiner, Skip Homeier, Neville Brand, Philip Ahn and Karl Malden dealing with Japanese prisoners captured on an island in the Pacific similar to "Sands of Iwo Jima" starring John Wayne. The title is referenced after the first line of the Marine Corp Hymn.
Webb also tried to enter the film industry with, "The D.I." (1957) in a black and white military film with Jack starring as Marine Gunnery Sergeant Jim Moore who is a Drill Instructer on Parris Island training recruits and starring with his real life wife at the time Jackie Loughery and "Pete Kelly's Blues" (1955) in which he directed and starred in the title role and also featured Janet Leigh, Edmond O'Brien, Peggy Lee, Andy Devine, Ella Fitzgerald, Lee Marvin and Martin Milner, but was not as successful. He did however, produce and star in a colored version of, "Dragnet" for television, but it was shelved until 1969. Another show he produced, "Emergency!" was a huge success and ran from 1972 to 1977.
Jack Webb created the cop television show "Adam-12" that ran from 1968-1975 featuring patrol officers of the L.A.P.D. and still has reruns playing throughout the country on cable channels.
He also narrated a documentary "Red Nightmare" (1962) showcasing the dilemmas faced in the Cold War fears of Communisim caused by Russia.
The last major project of his Mark VII production company was, "UFO" and depicted Project Blue Book, a US Air Force investigation into Unidentified Flying Objects. Webb thought about bringing back, "Dragnet" in 1983, but 1 year prior he past away from a heart attack on December 23rd, 1982. He is buried at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.
He had two daughters and was married three times during his life period. He also won Three Edgar Allan Poe Awards for Dragnet, one for the television series in 1953 and two for his radio show in 1951 and 1952.
Jack Webb was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to Television.
1971 O'Hara, U.S. Treasury: Operation Cobra
1967-1969 Dragnet 1967
1962-1963 G.E. True
1962 Red Nightmare
1961 The Last Time I Saw Archie
1957 The D.I.
1956-1957 Noah's Ark
1955 Pete Kelly's Blues
1951 Appointment with Danger
1951 You're in the Navy Now
1951 Halls of Montezuma
1950 Dark City
1950 The Men
1950 Sunset Blvd.
1949 Sword in the Desert
1948 He Walked by Night
1948 Hollow Triumph
1947 Pat Novak, For Hire