Known for movies

Short Info

DiedJuly 23, 1971, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States
SpouseFrances E. Neal, Eleanor Scherr
FactHis favorite pastimes were sailing, fishing, and swimming.

Van Heflin was an American actor who appeared in over 100 films. He is best remembered for his roles in the films Shane, Johnny Eager, and The Painted Veil.

Heflin was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on December 13, 1908. His father, Emmett Clay Heflin, was a lawyer and his mother, Fanny Bleecker Heflin, was a homemaker. He had two brothers and two sisters.

Heflin’s family moved to California when he was a child. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied English and drama. Heflin’s first acting role was in a college production of The Taming of the Shrew.

After graduation, Heflin moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. He made his Broadway debut in the play The Last Mile in 1932. Heflin’s first film role was in the film A Man’s Castle in 1933. He also appeared in the films Three on a Match and Gold Diggers of 1933.

Heflin’s most famous role was in the 1953 film Shane. He also appeared in the films Johnny Eager, The Painted Veil, and 3:10 to Yuma.

Heflin was married three times. His first wife was actress Frances Dee. They were married from 1932 to 1935. His second wife was actress Eleanor Parker. They were married from 1948 to 1951. His third wife was actress Vera Miles. They were married from 1964 until his death in 1971.

Heflin died of a heart attack on July 23, 1971, at the age of 62.

General Info

Full NameVan Heflin
DiedJuly 23, 1971, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States
Height1.82 m
ProfessionActor, Soldier
EducationUniversity of Oklahoma


SpouseFrances E. Neal, Eleanor Scherr
ChildrenKate Heflin, Vana O'Brien, Tracy Heflin
ParentsFanny Bleecker Shippey, Emmett Evan Heflin
SiblingsFrances Heflin


AwardsAcademy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
NominationsBAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role
MoviesShane, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, The Prowler, 3:10 to Yuma, Act of Violence, Gunman's Walk, Johnny Eager, Presenting Lily Mars, East Side, West Side, The Ruthless Four, Till the Clouds Roll By, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Battle Cry, The Three Musketeers, Santa Fe Trail, They Came to Cordu...
TV ShowsThe Great Adventure

Social profile links


1My father was a drunk, although he was a fabulous character, and he and my mother always loved each other, even when they were separated.
2Louis B. Mayer once looked at me and said, "You will never get the girl at the end". So I worked on my acting.
3I just didn't have the looks and if I didn't do a good acting job I looked terrible.


1He was the first actor to win an Academy Award for a role in a gangster movie.
2His grandfather Alexander A. Heflin (1849-1940) joined Roddey's Escort, Alabama Cavalry at age 14 or 15 and served in the Confederate army during the American Civil War, along with his brothers James, William C., Hugh, John and Thomas.
3He was director Michael Anderson's choice to play Gen. Dwight Eisenhower in a Columbia Pictures epic, "16th of December: The Battle of the Bulge," which had the blessing of Eisenhower and the Defense Department, but the project was abandoned after Warner Brothers used the title "The Battle of the Bulge" on a generic war film with Henry Fonda.
4Attended UCLA film school after achieving fame as an actor, with the intention of learning filmmaking techniques so as to improve his work as an actor. He wrote about the experience in the October, 1950, issue of "Theatre Arts" magazine.
5His first marriage lasted six months. His wife's identity is unknown, as it happened before he became famous.
6His father was a dentist.
7He had English, Irish, German, Dutch, and French ancestry.
8His favorite pastimes were sailing, fishing, and swimming.
9During WWII, he served as a combat cameraman in the Ninth Air Force in Europe.
10The heart attack that killed him happened while he was swimming. He managed to get to the pool's ladder, where he held on until found hours later, unconscious but still alive. He died 17 days later, never having regained consciousness. At his request no funeral was held and his ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.
11Daughters: actresses Vana O'Brien and Cathleen (Kate Heflin). Son: Tracy Heflin. Grandfather of actor Ben O'Brien and actress Eleanor O'Brien. Brother of actress Frances Heflin.
12Brother-in-law of Sol Kaplan.
13Turned down the role of Elliot Ness on The Untouchables (1959) TV series.
14Uncle of actress Marta Heflin, Mady Kaplan and Jonathan Kaplan.




The Last Child1971TV MovieSenator Quincy George
Neither Are We Enemies1970TV MovieJoseph of Arimathea
Airport1970D.O. Guerrero
The Big Bounce1969Sam Mirakian
Certain Honorable Men1968TV MovieChamp Donohue
The Danny Thomas Hour1968TV SeriesKreutzer
A Case of Libel1968TV MovieRobert Sloane
The Ruthless Four1968Sam Cooper
The Man Outside1967Bill MacLean
Stagecoach1966Marshal Curly Wilcox
The Teenage Revolution1965TV Movie documentaryNarrator
Once a Thief1965Inspector Mike Vido SFPD
The Greatest Story Ever Told1965Bar Amand
Cry of Battle1963Joe Trent
The Dick Powell Theatre1961TV SeriesSergeant Paul Maxon
The Wastrel1961Duncan Bell
Under Ten Flags1960Captain Bernhard Rogge
5 Branded Women1960Velko
Playhouse 901957-1960TV SeriesCaptain / Bill Kilcoyne / Col. Sten
They Came to Cordura1959Sgt.John Chawk
Tempest1958Emelyan Pugachov
Gunman's Walk1958Lee Hackett
3:10 to Yuma1957Dan Evans
Patterns1956Fred Staples
Count Three and Pray1955Luke Fargo
Battle Cry1955Maj. Sam Huxley - CO, 2nd Bn., 6th Marine Regt.
Black Widow1954Peter Denver
Woman's World1954Jerry Talbot
The Raid1954Maj. Neal Benton
Tanganyika1954John Gale
Wings of the Hawk1953Irish Gallager
Shane1953Joe Starrett
The Golden Mask1953Nicholas Chapman
My Son John1952Stedman
Week-End with Father1951Brad Stubbs
The Prowler1951Webb Garwood
Robert Montgomery Presents1950TV SeriesDr. Martin Arrowsmith
Nash Airflyte Theatre1950TV SeriesLlano Kid
East Side, West Side1949Mark Dwyer
Madame Bovary1949Charles Bovary
Act of Violence1948Frank R. Enley
The Three Musketeers1948Athos
Tap Roots1948Keith Alexander
B.F.'s Daughter1948Thomas W. Brett
Green Dolphin Street1947Timothy Haslam
Possessed1947David Sutton
Till the Clouds Roll By1946James I. Hessler
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers1946Sam Masterson
Land and Live in the Desert1945ShortNarrator (uncredited)
Land and Live in the Jungle19441st Lieutenant Lynn Harrison (uncredited)
Presenting Lily Mars1943John Thornway
Tennessee Johnson1942Andrew Johnson
Seven Sweethearts1942Henry Taggart
Grand Central Murder1942'Rocky' Custer
Kid Glove Killer1942Gordon McKay
Johnny Eager1941Jeff Hartnett
H.M. Pulham, Esq.1941Bill King
The Feminine Touch1941Elliott Morgan
Santa Fe Trail1940Rader
Back Door to Heaven1939John Shelley
Saturday's Heroes1937Val Webster
Annapolis Salute1937Clay V. Parker
Flight from Glory1937George Wilson
The Outcasts of Poker Flat1937Reverend Sam Woods
A Woman Rebels1936Lord Gerald Waring Gaythorne


Possessed1947performer: "Carnaval, Opus 9"
H.M. Pulham, Esq.1941performer: "Where Do We Go From Here" 1917 - uncredited


In Melbourne Tonight1970TV SeriesHimself
The American Spectacle1966TV Short documentaryHimself / Host
The Thin Blue Line1966TV Movie documentaryNarrator
Revolution in the 3 R'S1966TV Movie documentaryNarrator
In Search of Man1965TV Movie documentaryNarrator
Pro Football: Mayhem on a Sunday Afternoon1965TV Movie documentaryNarrator
The General1965TV Movie
The 22th Annual Golden Globes Awards1965TV SpecialHimself - Presenter: Best Foreign Film
The Bold Men1965TV Movie documentaryNarrator
The Way Out Men1965TV Movie documentaryNarrator
The Bell Telephone Hour1964TV SeriesHimself - Host
The Ed Sullivan Show1953-1964TV SeriesHimself / Robert Sloane - scene from 'A Case of Libel'
What's My Line?1955-1964TV SeriesHimself - Mystery Guest / Himself - Guest Panelist / Himself - Mystery Guest #2
The Great Adventure1963-1964TV SeriesHimself - Narrator / Himself - Announcer
The 17th Annual Tony Awards1963TV SpecialHimself - Presenter
The 35th Annual Academy Awards1963TV SpecialHimself - Presenter: Short Subjects Awards
Here's Hollywood1962TV SeriesHimself
U.S. #1: American Profile1962TV MovieHimself - Narrator
The 31st Annual Academy Awards1959TV SpecialHimself - Presenter: Writing Awards
Playhouse 901957TV SeriesHimself - Announcing Next Week's Show
This Is Your Life1955TV SeriesHimself - Guest of Honor
Lux Video Theatre1954TV SeriesHimself - Guest Host
A Star Is Born World Premiere1954TV ShortHimself
The Ken Murray Show1950TV SeriesHimself
The Secret Land1948DocumentaryNarrator (voice, as Lt. Van Heflin A.A.F. Ret.)
Screen Snapshots Series 23, No. 1: Hollywood in Uniform1943Documentary shortHimself

Archive Footage

Mahana2016Dan Evans (uncredited)
The First Motion Picture Unit: When Hollywood Went to War2014Documentary
Pioneers of Television2011TV Mini-Series documentaryFred Staples in Patterns
A Star Is Born: Special Features2010Video
Empire State Building Murders2008TV MovieBobby
Crawford at Warners2008Video documentary shortDavid Sutton
Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That2005TV Movie documentaryIrish Gallager
Go West, Young Man!2003DocumentaryHimself (uncredited)
Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire1991TV Movie documentaryHimself
George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey1984DocumentaryHimself (uncredited)
America at the Movies1976DocumentaryJoe Starret
That's Entertainment!1974Himself - at Banquet (uncredited)
The World of Sport Fishing1972Documentary
The Dick Cavett Show1971TV SeriesHimself
Hollywood My Home Town1965DocumentaryHimself
The Judy Garland Show1964TV SeriesHimself
Hollywood Without Make-Up1963DocumentaryHimself
Screen Snapshots: Memories in Uniform1954Documentary shortHimself
Some of the Best: Twenty-Five Years of Motion Picture Leadership1949Documentary shortHimself (uncredited)


Won Awards

1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 6311 Hollywood Blvd.
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameTelevisionOn 8 February 1960. At 6125 Hollywood Blvd.
1943OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actor in a Supporting RoleJohnny Eager (1941)

Nominated Awards

1968Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a DramaA Case of Libel (1968)
1958Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Male Action Star3:10 to Yuma (1957)
1954BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest Foreign ActorShane (1953)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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