Sunday, August 21, 2022



One of the tragic stories in Hollywood is the death of Gig Young. This is the original obituary from the Associated Press on October 19, 1978...

Gig Young, the handsome veteran actor who won an Academy Award as the fast-talking promoter of a Depression-era dance marathon, apparentlyshot his wife of three weeks to death and then killed himself
Thursday, police said.

Police said a diary in the blood-soaked bedroom where the couple died was open to Sept. 27, and "We Got Married Today" was written on the page.

Young's gilt Oscar for best supporting actor in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" was in the den of the Manhattan apartment. Police said the 60-year-old actor apparently killed his wife, 31-year-old Kim Schmidt, and himself at about 2:30 p.m. The .38-caliber pistol was in Young's hand, and the case was being treated as a murder-suicide, police said.

The manager of the building on West 57th Street, who did not wish to be identified, said he had heard noises that sounded like gunshots earlier in the day, but did not become suspicious until he noticed
groceries still standing outside the apartment hours after they were delivered.

Police said the pair appeared to have died at about 2:3 p.m. Their bodies were discovered about five hours later.

Young appeared in recent years in "Hindenberg" and "The Killer Elite," as well as in television dramas, and bad toured in "Harvey" and "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever."

Before winning the Academy Award as best supporting actor 1969 for "They Shoot Horses, Don't They," Young had received two nominations, for his work in "Come Fill the Cup," a somewhat true-to-life role as an alcoholic and the 1958 "Teacher's Pet."

Young starred with Charles Boyer in the 1950s television series "The Rogues." Boyer was a suicide earlier this year.

Liam O'Brian, producer of the Young's 1976 TV series "Gibbsville," said the actor was a "tremendous, talented and genial human being.  He was a delight to work with, a careful worker, a precisionist with
great style and humor."

Young's first marriage ended in divorce after his return from World War II, which he spent in the Coast Guard ferrying troops across the Pacific.

His second wife, Warner Brothers drama coach Sophie Rosenstein, died of cancer in 1952 after only a year of marriage. His marriage to actress Elizabeth Montgomery ended in divorce in 1963, and his fourth marriage, to Beverly Hills realtor Elaine Young, also ended in divorce. He had one child in that marriage, Jennifer, now 14.

Young's real-life beginnings didn't suggest his familiar movie roles of glamour and sophistication. He was born Byron Barr in St. Cloud, Minn., in 1917, the son of a reformatory chef.

After graduating from high scholl, he became a used car salesman while attending acting classes at night. Young came to Hollywood when a pal offered to give him a ride if he'd pay for half the gas.

In Hollywood, young lived the fabled life of the struggling young actor, sleeping a $12-a-week hotel and waiting on tables.

He got his big acting break at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he worked a few stock plays and was spotted by a Warner Brothers' talent scout who signed him to a long-term contract.

Young earned his first movie role while reading the Charles Boyer part for an Alexis Smith screen test. Still Byron Barr, he earned rave reviews in his first film, "The Gay Sisters."

Studio head Jack Warner urged his young employe to take the name of the character he played in "The Gay Sisters" - Gig Young.

He quickly earned his first Academy Award nomination, for "Come Fill the Cup," with James Cagney.

Young once said that out of 55 pictures in 30 years, "there are not more than five that were good or any good for me.

But he called the Academy Award "the greatest moment of my life."

Tired of his bad Hollywood roles, Young came to Broadway in the mid-1950s and had considerable success in "Oh Men Oh Women," "Under the Yum Yum Tree," "Teahouse of the August Moon," and "There's a Girl in My Soup."

His post-Oscar films also included "Lovers and Other Strangers," "Neon Ceiling," "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Grrcia," and "A Black Ribbon for Deborah."

Red Buttons, who played with Young in "Horses," once said of his friend:

"Down under that light-hearted sophistication, Gig's a big baby, and needs an arm around him. He needs a lot of loving."

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