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(Hugh Hipple 1911–1982). American actor.

Acted in: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Robert WISE 1951); Monkey Business (Howard HAWKS 1952); World without End (Edward BERNDS 1952); Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (Fred F. SEARS 1956); Seven Days in May (John FRANKENHEIMER 1964); "Thing from Inner Space" (1966), episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; Castle of Evil (Francis C. LYON 1966); "The Seven Wonders of the World Affair" (1968), two-part episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
With a decent quota of roles in 1950s science fiction films, it is puzzling that Hugh Marlowe is rarely remembered or celebrated in the manner of contemporaries like, say, John AGAR, Richard CARLSON, or Rex REASON. After all, he looked about as handsome as those other leading men, and he acted just as well, if not better, than many of his peers. The problem may have been that to an unusual extent, he visibly regarded science fiction as something beneath his dignity, and he struggled for all of his life to stay away from genre films.

It will be recalled that in his most convincing performance, in The Day the Earth Stood Still, Marlowe portrayed a crass social climber, Tom Stevens, somehow persuaded that ratting on the alien Klaatu will make him rich and famous and convince the shrewd Helen Benson (Patricia NEAL), who has wisely resisted his advances, to finally marry him; and an overview of his career does suggest a parallel desire to appear in only the best sorts of film. After performances at the Pasadena Playhouse led to minor roles in major productions like Mrs. Parkington (1944) and Meet Me in St. Louis (1945), he worked his way up to more noteworthy parts in Twelve O'Clock High (1949), All about Eve (1950), and Monkey Business (1952), wherein he served as a straight man to none other than Cary Grant himself. Enjoying such company, he surely believed that he was finally making it as a star, and that his encounter with flying saucers and robots in The Day the Earth Stood Still would be remembered only as an aberration.

However, it was at precisely this time that Marlowe's upward progress stalled, so that he soon felt compelled to accept leading roles in two low-budget science fiction films. In World without End, as the commander of four astronauts who find themselves in a post-holocaust future, he did an adequate job, though he was effortlessly upstaged by the more charismatic Rod TAYLOR, who became the film's true center of attention. His work in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is more problematic, since here he was required to carry the entire film as its sole protagonist; however, as if displeased to find himself in such déclassé circumstances, he never quite seems to be really in love with his beautiful wife, and he never quite seems to be really concerned about the impending conquest of Earth by powerful aliens in flying saucers. And a bit of the creepy Stevens persona comes out when his Dr. Marvin improperly defies orders and decides to contact the aliens on his own, predictably with no good results.

Unsurprisingly not offered any more starring roles after Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Marlowe spent the next decade primarily as a television guest star, usually in westerns or crime dramas, although former television director John FRANKENHEIMER did offer him and another hard-working journeymen, Whit BISSELL, small but significant roles in two prestigious movies, Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) and Seven Days in May. His bad memories of past humiliations were stirred only when he found himself helping the crew of the Seaview battle a ridiculous monster in an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. To avoid any further incidents of this kind, Marlowe finally sought steady employment in the soap opera Another World, with occasional parts in off-Broadway plays, which kept him busy until his death in 1982; and one hopes that he found a sense of peace in these more dignified surroundings, with no flying saucers around to spoil his view.

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