Dan Duryea Guest Column (1961)
Scottsdale Daily Progress
Monday, July 24, 1961
by Dan Duryea
I'M NOT REALLY CONTEMPTIBLE;
IT'S THE VILLAIN ROLES I PLAY
(Editors: Vernon Scott is on vacation. Dan Duryea is today's guest columnist.)
HOLLYWOOD (UPI) --- Who says movies are make believe? In many TV and movie roles I've played the villain so many times, people honestly think I'm a mean, contemptible person. I've had kids sneer at me, and grownups call me names that would make an angry truck driver blush. All because they think I'm the same kind of person off the screen.
It just isn't true! How can it be, when I've got a lovely wife who talks to me, and kids who aren't the least bit afraid to ask me for money? How many other fathers can say the same?
Just because I've proved you don't have to be overweight to be a "heavy," the studios have had me slug more men and women than most other movie villains combined. But underneath it all, I'm soft.
You see, I've really got a heart of gold, and that makes it difficult for me to play a bad guy. I don't know why I keep accepting those parts. Oh, I do know, really--- it's the money.
But an actor likes a change of pace, different roles. I wouldn't mind playing a comic in one picture, a lover in another. Or even a comical lover. But do you think I'll ever get the chance? Uh, uh.
As soon as a villainous part comes up, some producer or casting director will say "It's a great part for a blackguard--- get Duryea."
And whether I like it or not, I'll have to slug the leading man or punch the beautiful heroine in the jaw. And the audience will hate me again.
Do they hate the producer? Or the casting director? Or the writer? No--- they'll hate Dan Duryea, because he's a mean, villainous scoundrel.
Once more, kids will throw rocks at me, and grownups will deliberately cross the street to get our of my way. I'll hear more hissing and booing than an umpire who calls one against the home team.
What makes it ironic is that I started out as a nice fellow--- which I am! When you watch the late, late movies on TV, you can see some of my old pictures--- as I used to be. Lovable, good natured, smiling.
Then, as the movies unfold, you can see the change in me. The smile fades, and a sneer and a snarl take over. My countenance becomes menacing, and even our family dog crawls away from the set. And if you think I can snarl, you ought to hear our dog!
I can't blame him, really. When you're playing a movie villain, you have to sustain a mood. Many nights I'd come home, and snap at my family. Just because it was in the script.