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Hayden Rorke

Hayden Rorke

William Henry Rorke was an American actor best known for playing the psychiatrist Col. Dr. Alfred E. Bellows on the hit 60's sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.

Biography

Born William Henry Rorke in Brooklyn, New York, he was the son of screen and stage actress, Margaret Hayden Rorke, and took his stage name from his mother’s maiden name. He attended Brooklyn Prep School where he was president of the Dramatics Society and the Student Government and a member of the Omega Gamma Delta Fraternity. He continued his education at the American Academy of the Dramatic Arts and began his stage career in the 1930s with the Hampden Theatrical Company. During World War II, he enlisted into the Army, where he made his film debut in the musical This is the Army (1943) starring Ronald Reagan, where he was uncredited as the stage manager and as a soldier in the background.

Following the war, he left the Army and worked in small parts on Broadway, finally returning to Hollywood for the 1949 film, Lust for Gold, again uncredited. However, it was an opening, and in later films, beginning with Rope of Sand (1949), he is listed in the credits, although he again shows up uncredited in the 1950 films Kim and The Magnificent Yankee, as well as a couple of later films such as the Academy Award-winning An American in Paris (in those days, small bit parts were often uncredited). He continued to make movies, taking on supporting roles, in such films as Father’s Little Dividend (1951), Francis Goes to the Races (1951), When Worlds Collide (1951), Wild Stallion (1952), Project Moon Base (1953), and Pillow Talk (1959). He played several guest roles on television, winning the role of Colonel Farnsworth in the short lived 1964 television sitcom No Time for Sergeants (based upon the movie of the same name). He also guest-starred on Perry Mason.

He is most remembered for his role as Dr. Alfred E. Bellows, the NASA medical officer in the television sitcom, I Dream of Jeannie. Dr. Bellows tries to learn why astronaut Anthony Nelson (played by Larry Hagman) often behaves strangely, but never figures out that Nelson is the master of a genie (portrayed by Barbara Eden). His last film was reprising his role in the television reunion movie I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later (1985).

Hayden Rorke died in Toluca Lake, California on August 19, 1987 from multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow) at the age of 76.

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