A Year: Day to Day Men: 7th of September
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September 7, 1937 was the birthdate of American actor John Phillip Law.
John Phillip Law moved to New York after graduating from the University of Hawaii and studied with Elia Kazan’s Lincoln Center Repertory Theater. While there he had a small role in the 1962 comedy “Come on Strong”. Looking for another way to enter the movie business, Law moved to Italy, where he acted in several films. Director Norman Jewison, seeing one of these films, cast Law in the role of a young Soviet sailor in the 1966 comedy film “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming”.
Law next costarred with Michael Caine and Jane Fonda in the 1967 American drama “Hurry Sundown” produced and directed by Otto Preminger. Law then returned to Europe playing the lead in two films: “Spaghetti Western, Death Rides a Horse” and “Danger: Diebolik”, a crime action film based on the Italian comic book series “Diabolik”. Law’s best known role was his 1968 appearance in Roger Vadim’s comic book-based science fiction movie “Barbarella” , cast in the now famous role of Pygar, the blind angel who had lost the will to fly.
John Phillip Law costarred with Rod Steiger in the 1968 drama film “The Sergeant” directed by John Flynn. Law played Private First Class Swanson, the object of Steiger’s character’s, Sergeant Callan, secret sexual attraction. This film differs from the original book, becoming the Sargeant’s self-discovery instead of Private Swanson as was written. “The Sergeant” ends in defeat and suicide that once were so obligatory in popular, homosexual literature and films like “The Children’s Hour” and “The City and the Pillar”.
In 1971, Law co-starred in Roger Corman’s film “Richthofen and Brown, playing Manfred von Richthofen opposite actor Don Stoud’s Roy Brown. He was trained by Canadian pilot Lynn Garrison in the basics of flying to land and take off, making some of the movie footage more realistic. From the 1970s until the fall of 2003, the mult-lingual Law traveled and worked abroad appearing in films and television series.
John Phillip Law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December of 2007. He died five months later at his home in Los Angeles. Law’s body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea.
Some of John Phillip Law’s movies have become cult classics, including “The Love Machine”, “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad” and the World War ii drama “Attack Force Z”. Mystery Science Theater included in its series two of Law’s films: “Space Mutiny” and “Danger” Diabolik”.