Bobby Darin

Actor Spurns Two Film Contracts

Reading Eagle – December 8, 1963 (Pennsylvania)


Hollywood – Few young actors can point to the amazing record of having turned down two studio contracts in as many years. But a very determined young Bobby Darin has a remarkable ledger showing a loss of two highly-paying pacts – and by his choosing. Yup, he asked to get out of the contracts, and all because he wasn’t happy with the films he was to make for the two, different studios. Ironically, he made the decision after appearing in films which indicated a possible Academy Award nomination!

Bobby Darin may, this year, again be among those considered for an Oscar nomination. This time for his supporting role in “Captain Newman, M.D.” The talk in Hollywood has started for him. It did once before for his dramatic performance in “Point Blank,” but he drew a blank when Oscar time rolled by.

Shortly thereafter, when his studio came up with pictures not to his liking, Darin departed the lot rather than do them. Now he again spurned a film given him by his present studio, the alma mater of “Captain Newman,” and it again costs him a film contract—but Darin isn’t crying. He’s looking for other films to make—on other film lots.


Sandra Dee is Mrs. Bobby Darin, and she toils at Universal where husband Bobby battled with the same bosses. Ironically, it was some of these same men who were responsible for the marriage: they cast both of them in “Come September” and immediately after the film, the youngsters married—much to everyone’s surprise. Sandra had hardly even dated a boy before meeting Bobby.

When Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin separated earlier this year, she was consoled by her studio, where they considered her their little girl. The studio sent a publicist with Sandra to Hawaii to help her recuperate from the shock of the separation.

Then, to everyone’s surprise, the youngsters reconciled! But apparently not Bobby with studio. However, they are enthusiastic about his performance in the film.

Darin has the drive of at least four youngsters. In addition to his ambition to be a great dramatic actor, he is an accomplished performer on a night club floor, having also taught himself to play the piano, vibraphone, drums and guitar.


Bobby spends most of his time developing a music publishing company and discovering young talent in both the performing and writing fields of music.

When he collapsed from overwork on his many ventures, doctors reminded him of his rheumatic heart history. Darin conceded he would play no more night clubs after this year’s finale at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. ‘But if doctors tell me I can’t work anymore,” he confided to us, “I’ll put a .22 in my head.”

Darin’s current music company earnings, plus record sales from his earliest records, “Splish Splash” (which he wrote in 12 minutes), “Mack the Knife,” two current hits, could keep him and wife Sandra Dee comfortable for the rest of their lives—even if neither worked. But there’s little chance either will retire for even a minute.


Bobby, now 27, portrays a neurotic World War II soldier whom Gregory Peck, as ‘Captain Newman,” cures. One scene calls for Darin to deliver the acting capabilities of a veteran performer.

Peck, an Oscar winner himself (last year’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”) complimented Darin on the set after the great scene. This important sequence was filmed in less than a week—the period was held open for Darin to play the role between night club dates!

Unlike many actors senior to Darin, he has the ability to project himself into a highly-dramatic mood from an absolute cold start.

Although Darin loves to play the clown, kid around between takes, he always knows his dialogue down to each syllable of every word. He’s unlike anything Hollywood has seen in these parts in a long time.

It has been a long time since actors spurned regular-paying contracts.

(Thanks to Shiying for this article.)

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