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.


  1. I've seen Kerwin in all the fantasy ones---I'd like to try to find the others. Glad to know he was gay....I've wondered.

    You know you asked me on more than one occasion if I didn't want to write a blog...did you see it's happening--as of last week?

  2. Huh. As often as I have know the person/movies you post here, I have to admit to being totally in the dark about this man. I shall have to go find some of his films and watch them now. This is why this blog is so awesome.


  3. Hi FelchingPisser and Ace, The films of Kerwin's that I wrote about are available on DVD, so definitely try to track them down.

    FP - Thanks for the heads-up about your new blog! No, I didn't realize you had taken the leap to start one - excellent!

    Ace - It is not easy to come up with a film actor you aren't aware of! I'm glad I could introduce you Kerwin.

  4. I'm glad you introduced us too. And I'm glad you introduced me to his bulge as well. *looks at that last picture* Man, what I wouldn't give to have been around back then. Sure, I'd have had to be more secretive about my sexuality, but I imagine I'd have found my way into some famous guy's bed. Alas.


  5. I just rented Maniac. Thank you for mentioning it....He'd matured as an actor quite nicely....(and certainly did look good in his late night underwear prowl...)

  6. Hi FelchingPisser, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!