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Bob Steele

Bob Steele

Robert Adrian Bradbury (1907 - 1988) American Actor, Performer and Writer. Started working with his father on stage when he was two. Later he toured in a comedy act for Fanchon and Marco. His first screen experience was at age 14, in a Pathe production of "Adventures of Bill and Bob". American Western star and character actor whose career spanned six decades. The son of director Robert N. Bradbury, he appeared in vaudeville with his parents and with his twin brother Bill Bradbury appeared as a child in a series of 16 semi- documentary short films directed by their father, The Adventures of Bob and Bill. As Bob Bradbury Jr., he played juvenile roles in silent films, then took the stage name Bob Steele in 1927. He appeared in scores of films during the Thirties, rising to B-Western stardom and an apparently solid position as one of Republic Studios' top draws. Occasionally he made an appearance in more prominent films, as in his role as Curly in Of Mice and Men (1939). But he remained primarily a figure in Westerns. His stardom diminished by the mid-40s, and he spent the next quarter-century in character roles, some highly visible, such as his part in The Big Sleep (1946). But he also eventually turned up as a virtual extra in pictures like Shenandoah (1965). He appeared often on television and regained some fame in his role as Trooper Duffy in F Troop (1965). He died at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank, California, following a long illness. The son of director Robert N. Bradbury, Bob Steele began his show-business career early: he was part of his family's vaudeville act at age two, and toured with them all over the West Coast. At age 14 he and his twin brother Bill Bradbury made their film debuts in a series of comedy shorts directed by their father, with Steele using his given name of Robert Bradbury Jr. As he grew older he continued making films, many of them westerns directed by his father, and it was in the 1927 western The Mojave Kid (1927) that he first used the name "Bob Steele." Steele easily made the transition from silents to talkies, and was soon starring in a series of low-budget westerns for such independent studios such as Republic, Supreme, Monogram and PRC. His short stature and scrappy nature were things that many young western fans could identify with (and the fact that most of the villains he beat up were much bigger than he was didn't hurt, either), and his films were quite popular. Unlike many of his western colleagues, however, Steele often ventured into other genres, and gave acclaimed performances over the years, often playing against his "good-guy" cowboy image in such classic films as Of Mice and Men (1939) - in which he received some of the best reviews of his career as the sadistic Curley - and The Big Sleep (1946), and he was especially memorable as a cold-blooded mob triggerman in The Enforcer (1951). As Steele got older he became a familiar face to TV fans as a guest star in many, if not most, of the western series at the time, and at age 59 he landed the part he is best known for: the aging but cantankerous Trooper Duffy, who at the drop of a hat would began reminiscing about his fighting "shoulder to shoulder with Davy Crockett at the Alamo" in the western comedy series F Troop (1965). After a few more film appearances (including an impressive one as a remorseful member of a lynching party in Hang 'Em High (1968)), Steele retired from the screen in 1973. Bob Steele's long career, spanning more than 50 years and including appearances in more than 150 films, came to an end in 1988, when he died after a lengthy illness. He rode a horse named "Brownie". Alternate Names: Bob Bradbury Jr. | Robert Bradbury Jr. | Robert Bradbury | Bob Steel | Robert Steele

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