Born Carmen Orrico in Brooklyn on August 5, 1935, actor John Saxon developed a taste for the theater quite young, and he took dramatics classes while in high school. He also modeled briefly during this time. In 1953, Saxon was offered a Universal-International Studios contract, so he left New York for Hollywood. Universal groomed Saxon for stardom by putting him through the rigors of the studio system, taking acting classes for nearly two years. His first acting assignment came in the form of a bit part in the Judy Holliday comedy It Should Happen to You (1954), and he also had a small role in A Star is Born (1954; with Judy Garland). His breakthrough film role was in the teen crime drama Running Wild (1955; with Mamie Van Doren and William Campbell). During this period, he also worked in television, making guest appearances on such television programs as Medic and General Electric Theatre.

John SaxonJohn Saxon

Beefcake shots of John Saxon from the early 1970s

By 1956, Universal had begun to give John Saxon a big build-up, and his dark good looks made him a teen idol. Universal cast Saxon in a number of youth-oriented dramas in the late 1950s, including The Restless Years (1958; with Sandra Dee and Virginia Grey), Summer Love (1958; with Troy Donahue), The Reluctant Debutante (1958; with Rex Harrison and Sandra Dee), and Portrait in Black (1960; with Lana Turner and Sandra Dee). In the late 1950s, Saxon was often cast opposite Universal contract players Sandra Dee and Luana Patten. His contract with Universal ended with the release of Posse From Hell in 1961. Saxon was one of Universal's last contract players brought up through the old studio system. (Sandra Dee was Universal's last contract player; her contract lapsed in 1968 after the release of Rosie!.) Saxon freelanced in a few American films in the early 1960s, and then he went to Europe to star in a few films, including The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) and The Cavern (1964). Saxon then returned to America and signed again with Universal, this time to do a series of TV films.

the films of john saxon

Rock, Pretty Baby (1956)

John SaxonJohn SaxonJohn Saxon and Luana Patten

Stills from Universal-International's Rock, Pretty Baby. The right photo features Luana Patten

The Unguarded Moment (1956)

John Saxon

Saxon stars as a disturbed teen who is obsessed with teacher Esther Williams in Universal-International's thriller The Unguarded Moment

Summer Love (1958)

John Saxon and Edward PlattJohn Saxon, Fay Wray, and Edward Platt

From Universal-International's Summer Love, the sequel to Rock, Pretty Baby. LEFT: With Edward Platt. RIGHT: With Fay Wray and Edward Platt

Portrait in Black (1960)

John Saxon and Sandra Dee

With Sandra Dee in the Universal-International potboiler Portrait in Black

The Cardinal (1963)

John Saxon

Promotional photo from The Cardinal

Evil Eye (1963)

John Saxon and Leticia Roman

With Leticia Roman in the suspense-filled flick Evil Eye, directed by Mario Bava

For Singles Only (1968)

Chris Noel, John Saxon, and Mary Ann Mobley

From the Columbia comedy romp For Singles Only with Chris Noel and Mary Ann Mobley

Joe Kidd (1971)

John Saxon in Joe KiddJohn Saxon and Clint Eastwood

With Clint Eastwood in Joe Kidd

Enter the Dragon (1973)

John Saxon in Enter the DragonJohn Saxon in Enter the DragonJohn Saxon and Jim KellyBruce Lee and John Saxon

Promotional photos from Enter the Dragon. LEFT and CENTER A: Saxon as Roper. CENTER B: With Jim Kelly. RIGHT: With Bruce Lee

The Swiss Conspiracy (1976)

David Janssen, Ray Milland, and John Saxon

With David Janssen and Ray Milland in the low-budget thriller The Swiss Conspiracy

Fast Company (1979)

John Saxon

From the racing adventure Fast Company

Blood Beach (1980)

John Saxon

From the horror flick Blood Beach

later years

John Saxon's career was still strong into his 70s. In addition to guest appearances on such hit TV series as CSI and Masters of Horror, he made to final films: the comedy The Extra (2017; with Tyrone Power Jr.) and the comedy Bring Me the Head of Lance Henriksen (2016 but still unreleased; with Tim Thomerson, Lance Henriksen, Adrienne Barbeau, and Martin Kove). Saxon's first marriage to wife Mary Ann ended in 1979 after one son and twelve years. Following a brief second marriage, in late 2008 Saxon married his third wife, Gloria. Sadly, John Saxon passed away from pneumonia in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he had been living in assisted living facility, on July 25, 2020, at the age of 84. He is survived by his wife and son.

john saxon dvds available from


The Extra (2016) with Tyrone Power Jr.
Genghis Khan: The Story of a Lifetime (2010) with Daniel Greene
Old Dogs (2009) with Larry Gelman
War Wolves (2008) with Tim Thomerson, Michael Worth, Adrienne Barbeau, and Martin Kove
God's Ears (2007) with Michael Worth
Trapped Ashes (2006) with Jayce Bartok, Scott Lowell, Henry Gibson, Lara Harris, and Dick Miller
The Craving Heart (2006) with Rick Peters, Adrian Zmed, and Stan Harrington
Pitcher And The Pin-Up (2003) with Bo Hopkins and Wilford Brimley
Outta Time (2002) with Mario Lopez
Night Class (2001) with Sean Young, Ron Perlman, and Edward Albert
Living in Fear (2001) with Billy Moses and Katherine Helmond
Final Payback (1999) with Richard Grieco, Martin Kove, Corbin Bernsen, and Priscilla Barnes
The Party Crashers (1998)
Joseph's Gift (1998)
Lancelot: Guardian of Time (1997)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) with Harvey Keitel, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Fred Williamson, and Michael Parks
The Killers Within (1995) with Robert Carradine, Mike Farrell, Meg Foster, and Ben Reed
Nonstop Pyramid Action (1995)
Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story (1995) with Sherilyn Fenn, Katherine Helmond, and Kevin McCarthy
Killing Obsession (1994)
Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) with Eddie Murphy and Joey Travolta
The Baby Doll Murders (1993)
Deadly Conspiracy (1993)
Jonathan of the Bears (1993)
No Escape, No Return (1993) with Maxwell Caulfield and Joey Travolta
Animal Instincts (1992) with Jan-Michael Vincent, Maxwell Caulfield, and Mitch Gaylord
Hellmaster (1992)
Maximum Force (1992) with Andrew Stevens, Sam J. Jones, Richard Lynch, and Mickey Rooney
Aftershock (1990) with Russ Tamblyn and Richard Lynch
The Arrival (1990)
Blood Salvage (1990) with Ray Walston
The Final Alliance (1990) with David Hasselhoff and Bo Hopkins
The Last Samurai (1990) with Lisa Eilbacher, Lance Henriksen, and Duncan Regehr
Criminal Act (1989) with Catherine Bach
Crossing the Line (1989) with Cameron Mitchell
My Mom's a Werewolf (1989) with Susan Blakely and Ruth Buzzi
Welcome to Spring Break (1988) with Paul Gleason
Death House (1987) with Anthony Franciosa and Dennis Cole
House Made of Dawn (1987)
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) with Heather Langenkamp, Craig Wasson, Patricia Arquette, Robert Englund, Laurence Fishburne, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Priscilla Pointer
Hands of Steel (1986) with Daniel Greene
Fever Pitch (1985) with Ryan O'Neal and William Smith
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) with Robert Englund, Ronee Blakley, Johnny Depp, and Heather Langenkamp
Desire (1983)
Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1983) with Richard Hatch and Kay Lenz
The Big Score (1983) with Fred Williamson and Richard Roundtree
Murder In an Etruscan Cemetery (1982)
Tenebre (1982)
Wrong Is Right (1982) with Robert Conrad and Sean Connery
Blood Beach (1980) with Marianna Hill and Burt Young
Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)
Beyond Evil (1980) with Lynda Day George
Running Scared (1980) with Bradford Dillman, Ken Wahl, and Judge Reinhold
Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) with Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, Sybil Danning, and Marta Kristen
The Electric Horseman (1979) with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda
Fast Company (1979) with William Smith
The Bees (1978) with John Carradine
The Glove (1978) with Aldo Ray and Rosey Grier
The Deadly Thief (1978) with Rex Harrison and Sylvia Miles
The Cynic, the Rat and the Fist (1977)
Moonshine County Express (1977) with Susan Howard, William Conrad, Maureen McCormick, and Candice Rialson
Raid on Entebbe (1977) with Peter Finch, Martin Balsam, and Yaphet Kotto
A Special Cop in Action (1976)
Cross Shot (1976) with Lee J. Cobb
Death Dealers (1976) with Barry Sullivan
Mark Strikes Again (1976) with John Steiner
Blazing Magnums (1976) with Stuart Whitman and Martin Landau
The Swiss Conspiracy (1975) with John Ireland, David Janssen, Elke Sommer, and Ray Milland
Mitchell (1975) with Joe Don Baker, Linda Evans, and Martin Balsam; once aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000
Strange New World (1975) with Reb Brown, Martine Beswick, Catherine Bach, and Bill McKinney
Crossfire (1975) with James Farentino
Blind Vendetta (1975)
Black Christmas (1974) with Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Andrea Martin, Margot Kidder, and Lynne Griffin
Planet Earth (1974) with Janet Margolin, Ted Cassidy, Diana Muldaur, Claire Brennen, and Aron Kincaid
Linda (1973) with Stella Stevens, Ed Nelson, John McIntire, and Ford Rainey
Snatched (1973) with Leslie Nielsen, Sheree North, Barbara Parkins, Robert Reed, Howard Duff, Tisha Sterling, Anthony Zerbe, and Richard Davalos
Enter the Dragon (1973) with Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly
Joe Kidd (1972) with Clint Eastwood and Don Stroud
Mister Kingstreet's War (1971) with Tippi Hedren
Company of Killers (1970) with Van Johnson, Ray Milland, and Brian Kelly
Death of a Gunfighter (1969) with Richard Widmark and Lena Horne
For Singles Only (1968) with Chris Noel, Mary Ann Mobley, Lana Wood, and Peter Mark Richman
I Came, I Saw, I Shot (1968) with Antonio Sabato
Winchester '73 (1967) with Tom Tryon, Barbara Luna, and John Drew Barrymore
Planet of Blood (1966) with Basil Rathbone, Dennis Hopper, and Florence Marly
The Doomsday Flight (1966) with Richard Carlson, Ed Asner, and Van Johnson; written by Rod Serling
The Appaloosa (1966) with Marlon Brando
Night Caller from Outer Space (1965)
The Ravagers (1965) with Vic Diaz
The Cavern (1964) with Larry Hagman and Peter Marshall
Evil Eye (1963) with Leticia Roman
The Cardinal (1963) with Tom Tryon and Carol Lynley
Agostino (1962)
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962) with James Stewart, Maureen O'Hara, and Fabian
War Hunt (1962) with Gavin MacLeod and Tom Skerrit
Posse from Hell (1961) with Audie Murphy and Lee Van Cleef
Portrait in Black (1960) with Lana Turner, Anthony Quinn, Sandra Dee, Anna May Wong, Richard Basehart, Ray Walston, and Virginia Grey
The Plunderers (1960) with Jeff Chandler and Dolores Hart
The Unforgiven (1960) with Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, Audie Murphy, and Doug McClure
The Big Fisherman (1959) with Howard Keel, Susan Kohner, and Martha Hyer
Cry Tough (1959) with Linda Cristal and Barbara Luna
The Reluctant Debutante (1958) with Rex Harrison, Kay Kendall, and Sandra Dee
The Restless Years (1958) with Sandra Dee, Virginia Grey, Jody McCrea, and Luana Patten
Summer Love (1958) with Troy Donahue, Fay Wray, Jill St. John, and Edward Platt
This Happy Feeling (1958) with Troy Donahue and Debbie Reynolds
Rock, Pretty Baby (1956) with Sal Mineo, Luana Patten, Fay Wray, and Edward Platt
The Unguarded Moment (1956) with George Nader, Esther Williams, and Edward Platt
Running Wild (1955) with Mamie Van Doren, William Campbell, and Keenan Wynn

Falcon Crest, 1981-1990 TV series. Saxon portrayed Tony Cumson from 1981-1982 and again from 1986-1988
Another World, 1964-1999 daytime drama. Saxon portrayed Edward Gerard from 1985-1986
Dynasty, 1981-1989 TV series. Saxon portrayed Rashid Ahmed from 1982-1984
The Bold Ones: The New Doctors, 1969-1973 TV series. Saxon portrayed Dr. Ted Stuart from 1969-1972

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Watch John Saxon's 1966 horror/sci-fi film Queen of Blood
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This page premiered March 5, 2002.
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