Corey began his acting career on the stage, doing a number of productions in summer stock. While appearing with a WPA theatre company in the late 1930s, he met his future wife, Alice Wiley.
His Broadway debut was in Comes the Revelation (1942). After appearing in a number of supporting roles, he scored his first hit as a cynical newspaperman in Elmer Rice's comedy Dream Girl (1945). While appearing in the play, Corey was seen by producer Hal Wallis, who persuaded him to sign a contract with Paramount and pursue a motion picture career in Hollywood.
His movie debut was playing a gangster in Desert Fury (1947) starring John Hodiak, Lizabeth Scott, and Mary Astor. Corey appeared in Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster, and a year later as Janet Leigh's fiancee in the Robert Mitchum romantic comedy Holiday Affair. He starred opposite Stanwyck in The File on Thelma Jordon (1950), and opposite Joan Crawford in Harriet Craig, which was released the same year. His other movies include Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, with Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr, The Big Knife (1955) starring Jack Palance and Ida Lupino, and The Rainmaker (1956) starring Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn.
Corey and Wiley had one son and three daughters, Jonathan, Jennifer, Bonnie Alice, and Robin.
He starred in the weekly television programs Harbor Command (1957) and The Eleventh Hour (1961-1963), and made guest star appearances on a number of popular shows, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Untouchables, Burke's Law, Perry Mason and The Wild Wild West.
Corey served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1961 to 1963 and was a member of the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild. A Republican campaigner in national politics since 1956, Corey was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in April 1965. The conservative politician ran for the California seat in Congress in 1966, but lost the primary election. He was still a councilman at the time of his death.
He died at age fifty-four at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, of cirrhosis of the liver as a result of alcoholism. He is interred in Washington Cemetery, Washington, Massachusetts.
Wendell Corey has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in TV at 6328 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.
Wendell Corey Facts
|Wendell Reid Corey
|March 20, 1914
|Dracut, Massachusetts, USA
|Date of death
|November 8, 1968 (age 54)
|The Killer Is Loose
|Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection
|Joan Crawford in the 1950s
|Cloak & Dagger
|Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection
|The Cincinnati Kid
|Sorry, Wrong Number