Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kerwin Mathews: thoughtful and virile

My latest film-idol discovery is Kerwin Mathews (1926 - 2007). Best remembered for his fairy-tale adventure films such as "7th Voyage of Sinbad," "Jack the Giant Killer," and "3 Worlds of Gulliver," he was also compelling in dramatic roles - for example, in a pair of noirs early in his career, "5 Against the House" and "Garment Jungle," and a British-made thriller later in his career, "Maniac."

Once described by Variety as being "both thoughtful and virile," his boyishly handsome and intellectual countenance perfectly complemented an athletic, hairy-chested physique - which, luckily, was frequently on display in his films.

Kerwin, left, and his roommate, both in boxers, with the cute freshman they are hazing, in "5 Against the House" (1955)
Kerwin shows his chest hair while his roomate chews out the freshman they're hazing in "5 Against the House" (1955)

Kerwin strikes a seductive pose in "Maniac" (1962)

Kerwin in skimpy skivvies, "Maniac" (1962)

I'm happy to report that, along with beautiful contemporaries like Sal Mineo, James Dean, Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, Farley Granger, and George Nader (to name a few) our Kerwin was a man who loved men: he and his partner were together for 46 years until Kerwin's death in 2007. I'm also pleased to discover that Kerwin and I were neighbors of sorts, as he resided in San Francisco from 1978 on. I like to imagine that we were at some local event or performance together, or perhaps passed on the street...

Kerwin's obit in the San Francisco paper paints the portrait of a lovely, humble man.