Known for movies

Short Info

DiedDecember 6, 1989, Malibu, California, United States
SpouseAlexandra Crowell Curtis, Gloria DeHaven, Anne Shirley
FactAs early as 1953 he planned to produce a film of "The Puppet Masters, finally striking a deal with author Robert A. Heinlein in 1959. However, the story was plagiarized and spoiled by Roger Corman's The Brain Eaters (1958).

John Payne (born December 6, 1912 – December 6, 1989) was an American actor. He is best known for his leading roles in the films Miracle on 34th Street (1947), The Bad Seed (1956), and The Long, Hot Summer (1958).

Payne was born in Roanoke, Virginia, the son of Ida Hope (née Scott) and George Henry Payne. His father was a railroad engineer. Payne was educated at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, and Washington and Lee University in Lexington. He worked as a journalist for a Roanoke newspaper before moving to New York City to pursue an acting career.

Payne made his Broadway debut in 1935 in the play Elmer the Great. He went on to appear in several Broadway productions, including the musicals High Button Shoes (1947) and Mr. Wonderful (1956). He made his film debut in 1937 in the film version of the play The Last Mile.

Payne’s most famous role was as Kris Kringle in the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street. He also starred in the films The Bad Seed (1956), The Long, Hot Summer (1958), and The Diary of Anne Frank (1959).

Payne was married three times. His first wife was actress Gloria DeHaven, whom he married in 1940. They had two children together: Christopher and Christina. Payne and DeHaven divorced in 1950. Payne’s second wife was actress Anne Francis, whom he married in 1951. They had one child together: a son, John Jr. Payne and Francis divorced in 1957. Payne’s third wife was actress Julie Adams, whom he married in 1959. They had one child together: a daughter, Amy. Payne and Adams divorced in 1966.

Payne’s net worth at the time of his death was $5 million.

General Info

Full NameJohn Payne
DiedDecember 6, 1989, Malibu, California, United States
Height1.93 m
ProfessionActor, Singer, Film producer, Screenwriter, Television producer


SpouseAlexandra Crowell Curtis, Gloria DeHaven, Anne Shirley
ChildrenJulie Payne, Kathleen Hope Payne, Thomas John Payne
ParentsIda Hope Payne, George Washington Payne


NominationsWriters Guild of America Award for Television Best Western
MoviesMiracle on 34th Street, Kansas City Confidential, Sun Valley Serenade, The Razor's Edge, Tin Pan Alley, The Dolly Sisters, Silver Lode, 99 River Street, To the Shores of Tripoli, Springtime in the Rockies, Week-End in Havana, Slightly Scarlet, Hello, Frisco, Hello, Tennessee's Partner, The Crooked W...
TV ShowsSherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, Spider-Man Unlimited, Exosquad, The Restless Gun, Hot Wheels Highway 35

Social profile links


1Back in 1937 while I was under contract to Paramount, I sang on a five-minute radio program with another contract player from Paramount. A girl who's done rather well since -- Betty Grable. Betty and I didn't do so well then, though. We couldn't find a sponsor and finally gave up the program. I sang low tenor -- or, should I say, high baritone.


1A science fiction fan, he wanted to produce and star in an adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein's novel The Puppet Masters, but a lawsuit Heinlein brought forth against the makers of The Brain Eaters (1958) killed those ambitions.
2He was cremated and his ashes are scattered into sea.
3In the 1930s, before entering show business, he earned a living at one point as a professional wrestler known various as "Alexei Petroff, the Savage of the Steppes" and "Tiger Jack Payne".
4He made nearly 80 pictures but said in a 1974 interview, in connection with his return to the stage in "Good News," that "I never could quite take it seriously".
5He and actress Lynn Bari both attended a private school, run by a Mrs. Vaughn, in their hometown of Roanoke, VA.
6He was an understudy in the 1935 Broadway musical "At Home Abroad," which co-starred Reginald Gardiner and Beatrice Lillie. When Gardiner became ill, the 22-year-old Payne went on, replacing him until Gardiner's health improved enough to return to the role. In the best Hollywood tradition, the studio talent scout who placed him under contract to Samuel Goldwyn Pictures was Samuel Goldwyn's wife Frances Howard, who often traveled to Broadway from Hollywood looking for new talent for her husband's film projects (on a 1941 trip to Broadway to see Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin-Moss Hart musical "Lady in The Dark" she discovered Danny Kaye).
7He moved to Paramount and made a series of melodramas and musicals, and then signed with Warner Bros. When Dick Powell turned down the Busby Berkeley musical Garden of the Moon (1938), Payne was given the role and thereafter appeared as singer and actor in some "memorable moving pictures".
8Owned Window Glen Productions, the company that produced his series The Restless Gun (1957).
9He appeared with Alice Faye in four films: Tin Pan Alley (1940), The Great American Broadcast (1941), Week-End in Havana (1941) and Hello Frisco, Hello (1943).
10Had appeared with Rhonda Fleming in five films: The Eagle and the Hawk (1950), Crosswinds (1951), Caribbean (1952), Tennessee's Partner (1955) and Slightly Scarlet (1956).
11Had appeared with Betty Grable in five films: College Swing (1938), Tin Pan Alley (1940), Footlight Serenade (1942), Springtime in the Rockies (1942) and The Dolly Sisters (1945).
12He was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6125 Hollywood Boulevard; and for Television at 6687 Hollywood Boulevard.
13Daughter Julie Payne has stated that there is no validity to the story that her father pressured his studio (20th Century-Fox) into filming Miracle on 34th Street (1947) while putting up his own money. She said that the movie was a small black-and-white film with low expectations, and that had John indeed put money into it he would not have received any profit participation because that option did not even exist until 1950, three years after the film was made. Moreover, at the time of filming John did not have the money to put into any film because he was strapped not only paying child support but had a wife with a third child on the way.
14John's daughter Julie Payne (aka Julie Anne Payne) is a legal researcher for book writers of both film and the City of Los Angeles.
15Daughter Julie Payne has stated that John's mother, Ida Hope Schaeffer, was never an opera singer, for the Metropolitan Opera or anywhere else. However, his father was heavily involved with the building of the city of Roanoke, Virginia.
16According to his daughter Julie Payne, John was actually born on May 28, 1912, and not May 23. Somewhere along the line, she said, the "8" in "28" was accidentally transformed into a "3".
17Julie Payne states that while her father John carries the man's name, her family is not related to the Long Island-born, "Home, Sweet Home" songwriter John Howard Payne (1791-1852). That was a studio-generated myth.
18As early as 1953 he planned to produce a film of "The Puppet Masters, finally striking a deal with author Robert A. Heinlein in 1959. However, the story was plagiarized and spoiled by Roger Corman's The Brain Eaters (1958).
19Was a Boy Scout.
20Writer France Ingram, in her article on John for "Classic Images", March 2011, states that his first acting break was while he was working as a radio singer in the mid-1930s. The Shubert Organization discovered him and offered him a part touring with one of their road companies at $40 a week.
21He was a shrewd investor in real estate and owned many parcels in Southern California as well as a ranch near Billings, Montana.
22He was a lifelong Republican and conservative.
23He was one of many actors considered for the role of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind (1939).
24Attended Mercersburg Academy (preparatory school) in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1932.
25Graduated from Roanoke College. Studied singing at the Juilliard School of Music and acting at Columbia University. Supplemented his studies by making money as a professional wrestler, before landing his first acting job as understudy to Beatrice Lillie in the 1935 revue "At Home Abroad".
26Initially signed to a short-term contract to appear in Dodsworth (1936) for United Artists, he later worked under contract for 20th Century0Fox (1940-42; 1945-47) and RKO (1954-56).
27Served as a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II.
28Has stated that his favorite of all the films he has made is Miracle on 34th Street (1947).
29Was romantically involved with Coleen Gray (his co-star in Kansas City Confidential (1952)) in the early 1950s.
30Was very good friends with his co-star Maureen O'Hara, with whom he starred in four films, To the Shores of Tripoli (1942), Sentimental Journey (1946), Tripoli (1950), and their most famous one, the classic Miracle on 34th Street (1947).
31Following the style of the times, and in order to emphasize his boyish, clean-cut image, Payne's chest was shaved to smoothness in his "beefcake" scenes of the 1940s. However, in the 1950s, styles changed, Payne's image darkened, and his "beefcake" scenes now showed a chest with dark hair.
32In 1942, after separating from Anne Shirley, he had an affair with Jane Russell. The affair is detailed in her 1986 autobiography, "My Path and My Detours". The affair ended when she realized that she was still in love with her high school sweetheart, football player Bob Waterfield, whom she married in April 1943 (they divorced in 1967).
33Featured in "Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir" by Karen Burroughs Hannsberry (McFarland, 2003).
34Ex-father-in-law of writer-director Robert Towne.
35Grandfather of Katharine Towne and Holly Payne.
36The gap in his career from 1962-68 was the result of a major automobile wreck in which he suffered extensive, life-threatening injuries. In his later roles facial scars can be detected in close-ups.
37Direct descendant of John Howard Payne (1791-1852), composer of the classic song "Home, Sweet Home" ("Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.").
38Was the first person in Hollywood interested in making the James Bond novels into a film series. In 1955 he paid a $1,000-a-month option for nine months on the Bond novel "Moonraker" (he eventually gave up the option when he learned he could not retain the rights for the entire 007 series).
39Singer, mostly in 20th Century-Fox musicals.




Columbo1975TV SeriesNed Diamond
Cade's County1971TV SeriesClement Stark
Gunsmoke1970TV SeriesAmos Gentry
The Name of the Game1968TV SeriesRuss (FBI Agent)
They Ran for Their Lives1968Bob Martin
The Dick Powell Theatre1962TV SeriesJames J. Fitts
General Electric Theater1955-1962TV SeriesFather Gerringer / Jingles
O'Conner's Ocean1960TV MovieTom O'Conner
The Restless Gun1957-1959TV SeriesVint Bonner / Gene Baroda / Jebediah Bonner / ...
Hidden Fear1957Mike Brent
Bailout at 43,0001957Major Paul Peterson
Schlitz Playhouse1951-1957TV SeriesBritt Ponset / Robert Holmi
Zane Grey Theater1957TV SeriesClint Belmet
The Boss1956Matt Brady
Rebel in Town1956John Willoughby
Hold Back the Night1956Capt. Sam McKenzie
Studio 571956TV SeriesMike Conner
Slightly Scarlet1956Ben Grace
Tennessee's Partner1955Tennessee
The Road to Denver1955Bill Mayhew
Santa Fe Passage1955Kirby Randolph
Hell's Island1955Mike Cormack
The Best of Broadway1954TV SeriesC.K. Dexter Haven
Silver Lode1954Dan Ballard
Rails Into Laramie1954Jefferson Harder
Robert Montgomery Presents1953TV SeriesLt. Alec Austen
99 River Street1953Ernie Driscoll
The Vanquished1953Rockwell Grayson
Raiders of the Seven Seas1953Barbarossa
The Blazing Forest1952Kelly Hansen
Kansas City Confidential1952Joe Rolfe
Caribbean1952Dick Lindsay / Robert MacAllister
All Star Revue1952TV SeriesGuest Actor
Crosswinds1951Steve Singleton
Passage West1951Pete Black
Tripoli1950Lt. O'Bannion
Nash Airflyte Theatre1950TV SeriesThacker
The Eagle and the Hawk1950Capt. Todd Croyden
Captain China1950Charles S. Chinnough aka Captain China
The Silver Theatre1949TV Series
The Crooked Way1949Eddie Rice Eddie Riccardi
El Paso1949Clay Fletcher
The Saxon Charm1948Eric Busch
Larceny1948Rick Mason
Miracle on 34th Street1947Fred Gailey
Wake Up and Dream1946Jeff Cairn
The Razor's Edge1946Gray Maturin
Sentimental Journey1946William O. Weatherly
The Dolly Sisters1945Harry Fox
Hello Frisco, Hello1943Johnny Cornell
Springtime in the Rockies1942Dan Christy
Iceland1942/ICapt. James Murfin
Footlight Serenade1942William J. 'Bill' Smith
To the Shores of Tripoli1942Chris Winters
Remember the Day1941Dan Hopkins
Week-End in Havana1941Jay Williams
Sun Valley Serenade1941Ted Scott
The Great American Broadcast1941Rix Martin
Tin Pan Alley1940Skeets Harrigan
The Great Profile1940Richard Lansing
Maryland1940Lee Danfield
Tear Gas Squad1940Bill Morrissey
King of the Lumberjacks1940James 'Jim' 'Slim' Abbott
Star Dust1940Ambrose Fillmore / Bud Borden
The Royal Rodeo1939ShortBill Stevens
Kid Nightingale1939Steve Nelson
Indianapolis Speedway1939Eddie Greer
Wings of the Navy1939Jerry Harrington
Garden of the Moon1938Don Vincente
College Swing1938Martin Bates
Love on Toast1937Bill Adams
Fair Warning1937Jim Preston (as John Howard Payne)
Hats Off1936Jimmy Maxwell
Dodsworth1936Harry McKee (as John Howard Payne)


O'Conner's Ocean1960TV Movie producer
The Restless Gun1957-1959TV Series executive producer - 77 episodes
The Boss1956producer - uncredited


Hidden Hollywood: Treasures from the 20th Century Fox Film Vaults1997TV Movie documentary performer: "I Can't Begin to Tell You" - uncredited
Columbo1975TV Series performer - 1 episode
The 28th Annual Tony Awards1974TV Special performer: "You're the Cream in My Coffee"
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall1959TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Restless Gun1957-1958TV Series performer - 2 episodes
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show1957TV Series performer - 1 episode
Wake Up and Dream1946performer: "Give Me the Simple Life"
Movieland Magic1946Short performer: "The Good Old American Way" - uncredited
The Dolly Sisters1945performer: "I Can't Begin to Tell You" uncredited, "Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl" uncredited, "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows", "Arrah Go on, I'm Gonna Go Back to Oregon" uncredited
Hello Frisco, Hello1943performer: "Hello, Frisco!", "By the Watermelon Vine Lindy Lou" - uncredited
Springtime in the Rockies1942performer: "Run, Little Raindrop, Run", "Pan American Jubilee"
Iceland1942/Iperformer: "There Will Never Be Another You" - uncredited
Footlight Serenade1942performer: "I'm Still Crazy for You", "I'll Be Marching to a Love Song" - uncredited
Remember the Day1941performer: "Pretty Baby" - uncredited
Week-End in Havana1941"Tropical Magic", uncredited / performer: "The Ñango Nyango" - uncredited
Sun Valley Serenade1941performer: "I Know Why and So Do You" 1941 - uncredited
The Great American Broadcast1941performer: "I Take to You", "Where You Are"
Tin Pan Alley1940"You Say The Sweetest Things Baby" 1940 / performer: "You Say The Sweetest Things Baby" 1940, "America, I Love You" 1915
Star Dust1940performer: "Secrets in the Moonlight"
The Royal Rodeo1939Short performer: "Sons of the Plains Are We", "That's the Way to Be a Buckaroo", "The Good Old American Way" - uncredited
Kid Nightingale1939performer: "Dancing with Tears in My Eyes" 1930, "Hark, Hark, the Meadowlark" 1939, "Who Told You I Cared?" 1939, "Mother Machree" 1910, "Listen to the Mockingbird" 1855 - uncredited
Garden of the Moon1938performer: "Garden of the Moon" 1938, "Love Is Where You Find It" 1938, "The Lady on the Two Cent Stamp" 1938, "Confidentially" 1938, "The Girl Friend of the Whirling Dervish" 1938 - uncredited
College Swing1938performer: "I Fall In Love With You Every Day", "What Did Romeo Say To Juliet?"
Love on Toast1937performer: "I'd Love to Play a Love Scene" - uncredited
Hats Off1936performer: "Where Have You Been All My Life", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"


The Restless GunTV Series teleplay - 2 episodes, 1957 - 1958 story - 2 episodes, 1957 - 1958
Hell's Island1955uncredited
99 River Street1953uncredited
Kansas City Confidential1952uncredited


They Ran for Their Lives1968


All-Star Party for 'Dutch' Reagan1985TV SpecialHimself
The 28th Annual Tony Awards1974TV SpecialHimself - Performer
The Match Game1964TV SeriesHimself - Team Captain
The Mike Douglas Show1963TV SeriesHimself - Co-Host
What's My Line?1951-1961TV SeriesHimself - Panelist / Himself - Mystery Guest
I've Got a Secret1960TV SeriesHimself - Guest
The Garry Moore Show1960TV SeriesHimself
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall1959TV SeriesHimself
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show1957TV SeriesHimself - Actor / Singer
The Steve Allen Plymouth Show1957TV SeriesHimself - Guest
The Steve Allen Show1957TV SeriesHimself
Texaco Star Theatre1953TV SeriesHimself - Actor
Death Valley Days1952TV SeriesHimself / Host (1972; 'Call of the West' version)
TV Club1951TV Series documentaryHimself
The Saturday Night Revue with Jack Carter1951TV SeriesHimself
Screen Snapshots Series 23, No. 1: Hollywood in Uniform1943Documentary shortHimself
Screen Snapshots Series 18, No. 11938Documentary shortHimself

Archive Footage

Hidden Hollywood: Treasures from the 20th Century Fox Film Vaults1997TV Movie documentaryHimself
Biography1997TV Series documentaryHimself
20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years1997TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies1995TV Movie documentaryDan Ballard, 'Silver Lode' (uncredited)
Fred Astaire Salutes the Fox Musicals1974TV MovieHimself
Frontier Justice1959-1961TV SeriesClint Belmet
Screen Snapshots: Memories in Uniform1954Documentary shortHimself
Movieland Magic1946Short
Take It or Leave It1944Himself: Clip from 'Tin Pan Alley' (uncredited)


Won Awards

1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 6125 Hollywood Blvd.
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameTelevisionOn 8 February 1960. At 6687 Hollywood Blvd.

Nominated Awards

1958WGA Award (TV)Writers Guild of America, USAWesternThe Restless Gun (1957)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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