Born Sterling Walter (some sources indicate that John Hamilton was his birth name) in Montclair, New Jersey, on March 26, 1916, Sterling Hayden didn't harbor aspirations of being an actor. Rather, he was fascinated by sailing, so much so that at the age of 15, he left school for a life on the sea. After spending his youth on ships, by the early 1940s the 6'5" Hayden had become a print model when he was discovered by Paramount Studios talent scouts and offered a contract.

Sterling HaydenSterling HaydenSterling HaydenSterling HaydenSterling HaydenSterling Hayden

Paramount beefcake photos of Sterling Hayden from the early 1940s

Hayden's first film for the studio was the big-budget 1941 tearjerker Virginia starring British actress Madeleine Carroll. Hayden and Carroll fell in love on the set, and in February 1942 the couple married. Following their marriage, Hayden joined the Marines at the onset of the U.S. involvement in World War II, and the time apart led to the couple's divorce in 1946.
Sterling Hayden and Veronica Lake

With fellow Paramount contract player Veronica Lake in 1942

Hayden had made only two films when the war interrupted his career and wouldn't appear in another film until the 1947 Anne Baxter vehicle Blaze of Noon. Still under contract to Paramount, Hayden's career didn't gain momentum until the 1949 film noir thriller Manhandled. He then spent much of his career in film noir and westerns.

the films of sterling hayden

Bahama Passage (1941)

Sterling Hayden, Madeleine Carroll, and Leo G. CarrollSterling Hayden and  Madeleine Carroll

From the Paramount adventure Bahama Passage. LEFT: With Madeleine Carroll and Leo G. Carroll. RIGHT: With Madeleine Carroll

Blaze of Noon (1947)

Sterling Hayden, Anne Baxter, and Howard Da Silva

With Anne Baxter and Howard Da Silva in the Paramount actioner Blaze of Noon

Manhandled (1949)

Sterling Hayden and Dorothy Lamour

With Dorothy Lamour in Manhandled

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Sterling Hayden and Jean HagenSterling Hayden and Sam JaffeSterling Hayden, Anthony Caruso, and Sam Jaffe

From the exciting MGM film noir thriller The Asphalt Jungle, one of Hayden's best films. LEFT: With Jean Hagen. CENER: With Sam Jaffe. RIGHT: With Anthony Caruso and Sam Jaffe

Flaming Feather (1952)

Barbara Rush, Sterling Hayden, Richard Arlen, Arleen Whelan, and Victor Jory

From the Paramount western Flaming Feather with Barbara Rush, Richard Arlen, Arleen Whelan, and Victor Jory

The Golden Hawk (1952)

Sterling Hayden

As Kit 'The Hawk' Gerardo in the Columbia adventure The Golden Hawk

Hellgate (1952)

Sterling Hayden and Joan Leslie

Hayden with Joan Leslie in Hellgate

The Star (1952)

Sterling Hayden and Bette Davis

With Bette Davis in the 20th Century Fox drama The Star

Take Me to Town (1953)

Ann Sheridan and Sterling HaydenAnn Sheridan and Sterling HaydenPhilip Reed and Sterling HaydenSterling HaydenSterling Hayden

Images from the western comedy Take Me to Town. LEFT and CENTER A: With Ann Sheridan. CENTER B: With Philip Reed. CENTER C and RIGHT: Promotional photos

Johnny Guitar (1954)

Sterling Hayden and Joan CrawfordSterling Hayden and Joan CrawfordBen Cooper, Sterling Hayden, Joan Crawford, and Scott Brady

Hayden as the title character in Nicholas Ray's cult film Johnny Guitar. LEFT and CENTER: With Joan Crawford. RIGHT: With Ben Cooper, Joan Crawford, and Scott Brady

Naked Alibi (1954)

Sterling Hayden and Gloria GrahameStuart Randall, Sterling Hayden, Don Haggerty, and Gene BarrySterling Hayden

From Universal-International's terrific film noir thriller Naked Alibi. LEFT: With Gloria Grahame. CENTER: Hayden pursues suspected murderer Gene Barry. RIGHT: As police chief Joe Conroy

The Eternal Sea (1955)

Alexis Smith and Sterling Hayden

With Alexis Smith in the Republic war drama The Eternal Sea

The Last Command (1955)

Anna Maria Alberghetti and Sterling HaydenSterling HaydenSterling Hayden

From Republic's western The Last Command. LEFT: With Anna Maria Alberghetti. CENTER and RIGHT: Hayden as Jim Bowie

Timberjack (1955)

Vera Ralston and Sterling Hayden

With Vera Ralston in the Republic western Timberjack

The Killing (1956)

Sterling Hayden and Marie WindsorElisha Cook Jr., Sterling Hayden, and Jay C. Flippen

LEFT: With Marie Windsor in The Killing. RIGHT: With Elisha Cook Jr. and Jay C. Flippen

The Iron Sheriff (1957)

Kathleen Nolan, Darryl Hickman, Sterling Hayden, and Constance Ford

With Kathleen Nolan, Darryl Hickman, and Constance Ford in the western The Iron Sheriff

The DuPont Show of the Month (1957-1961 CBS TV Series)

Julie Harris and Sterling Hayden

From a 1960 episode of the CBS TV series The DuPont Show of the Month titled Ethan Frome with Julie Harris

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Sterling Hayden and Peter Sellers

Peter Sellers, as Captain Mandrake, comes to realize that General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) is out of his mind in the Columbia Pictures Cold War comedy Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

The Long Goodbye (1973)

Sterling Hayden

From the Robert Altman mystery The Long Goodbye

Venom (1982)

Klaus Kinski, Oliver Reed, and Sterling Hayden

With Klaus Kinski and Oliver Reed in the horror flick Venom. This was Hayden's last theatrically released film

later years

After the release of Terror in a Texas Town in 1958, Sterling Hayden sailed away from Hollywood and his film career. By this time, his marriage to second wife Betty de Noon had ended. In the early 1960s, Hayden shied away from acting and published his autobiography, Wanderer, in 1963. Other than an appearance on CBS-TV's The DuPont Show of the Month in 1960, he would make no other big or small screen appearances until the 1964 Stanley Kubrick black comedy Dr. Strangelove. Following this film was another long period of absence, but Hayden worked regularly from 1969 through 1976, when he published his novel Voyage: A Novel of 1896. Afterward, his film appearances again became sporadic. His last feature film was the horror flick Venom (1982; with Klaus Kinski and Oliver Reed). Sterling Hayden passed away on May 23, 1986, from prostate cancer at the age of 70. He was survived by his third wife and six children from his second and third marriages.

sterling hayden dvds available from

sterling hayden books available


Venom (1982) with Klaus Kinski, Oliver Reed, and Susan George
Gas (1981) with Susan Anspach and Howie Mandel
Nine to Five (1980) with Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton
The Outsider (1979) with Craig Wasson and Patricia Quinn
Winter Kills (1979) with Jeff Bridges, Ralph Meeker, and Anthony Perkins
King of the Gypsies (1978) with Shelley Winters
1900 (1976) with Robert De Niro
Spaghetti Western (1975) with Franco Nero, Martin Balsam, and Dick Butkus
Deadly Strangers (1974) with Hayley Mills
The Final Programme (1973) with Patrick Magee
The Long Goodbye (1973) with Elliott Gould and Warren Berlinger
The Big Departure (1972)
The Godfather (1972) with Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Richard Conte
Cobra (1971) with Senta Berger and Gordon Mitchell
Loving (1970) with George Segal and Eva Marie Saint
Jailbird (1969) with Susan Strasberg and Stuart Whitman
Hard Contract (1969) with James Coburn and Lee Remick
Carol for Another Christmas (1964) with Eva Marie Saint
Dr. Strangelove (1964) with Peter Sellers
Ten Days to Tulara (1958)
Terror in a Texas Town (1958) with Sebastian Cabot
Gun Battle at Monterey (1957) with Mary Beth Hughes and Lee Van Cleef
Zero Hour! (1957) with Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, and John Ashley
The Iron Sheriff (1957) with Constance Ford and Kent Taylor
Valerie (1957) with Anita Ekberg
5 Steps to Danger (1957) with Ruth Roman, Werner Klemperer, and Jeanne Cooper
Crime of Passion (1957) with Barbara Stanwyck, Raymond Burr, Fay Wray, Virginia Grey, and Stuart Whitman
The Come-On (1956) with Anne Baxter, John Hoyt, and Jesse White
The Killing (1956) with Coleen Gray, Marie Windsor, Vince Edwards, Elisha Cook Jr., and Jay C. Flippen
The Eternal Sea (1955) with Alexis Smith, James Best, Virginia Grey, Ben Cooper, Morris Ankrum, and Willis Bouchey
The Last Command (1955) with Richard Carlson, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Ernest Borgnine, J. Carrol Naish, Ben Cooper, John Russell, Virginia Grey, and Jim Davis
Shotgun (1955) with Yvonne De Carlo and Zachary Scott
Timberjack (1955) with Vera Ralston and David Brian
Top Gun (1955) with Karin Booth and Rod Taylor
Battle Taxi (1955) with Marshall Thompson and Arthur Franz
Arrow In the Dust (1954) with Coleen Gray, Keith Larsen, and Lee Van Cleef
Naked Alibi (1954) with Gloria Grahame, Chuck Connors, Marcia Henderson, Gene Barry, and Max Showalter
Suddenly (1954) with Frank Sinatra and James Gleason
Prince Valiant (1954) with James Mason, Janet Leigh, Debra Paget, Robert Wagner, Brian Aherne, Tom Conway, and Neville Brand
Johnny Guitar (1954) with Joan Crawford, Scott Brady, and Mercedes McCambridge
Crime Wave (1954) with Phyllis Kirk, Gene Nelson, and Charles Bronson
Fighter Attack (1953) with J. Carrol Naish
So Big (1953) with Jane Wyman, Nancy Olsen, and Martha Hyer
Take Me to Town (1953) with Ann Sheridan
Kansas Pacific (1953) with Reed Hadley and Myron Healey
Denver and Rio Grande (1952) with Edmond O'Brien
Flat Top (1952) with Richard Carlson and John Bromfield
The Golden Hawk (1952) with Rhonda Fleming
Hellgate (1952) with James Arness
The Star (1952) with Bette Davis
Flaming Feather (1951) with Forrest Tucker, Richard Arlen, and Barbara Rush
Journey Into Light (1951) with Viveca Lindfors
The Asphalt Jungle (1950) with Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, and Marilyn Monroe
El Paso (1949) with John Payne and Gail Russell
Manhandled (1949) with Dorothy Lamour
Variety Girl (1947)
Blaze of Noon (1947) with Anne Baxter, William Holden, and Sonny Tufts
Virginia (1941) with Madeleine Carroll and Fred MacMurray
Bahama Passage (1941) with Madeleine Carroll
Banacek, episode Fly Me- If You Can Find Me, originally aired February 19, 1974
The Starlost, episode Voyage of Discovery, originally aired September 22, 1973
The DuPont Show of the Month, episode Ethan Frome, originally aired February 18, 1960
Goodyear Theatre, episode Points Beyond, originally aired December 8, 1958
Playhouse 90, episode Old Man, originally aired November 20, 1958
Playhouse 90, episode The Long March, originally aired October 16, 1958
Schlitz Playhouse, episode East of the Moon, originally aired February 14, 1958
Playhouse 90, episode The Last Man, originally aired January 9, 1958
G.E. True Theater, episode The Iron Horse, originally aired November 24, 1957
Wagon Train, episode The Les Rand Story, originally aired October 16, 1957
Playhouse 90, episode A Sound of Different Drummers, originally aired October 3, 1957
Zane Grey Theater, episode The Necessary Breed, originally aired February 15, 1957
Celebrity Playhouse, episode Girl at Large, originally aired June 19, 1956
Schlitz Playhouse, episode Delay at Fort Bess, originally aired September 3, 1954

sterling hayden film now showing

Watch Sterling Hayden's 1954 film noir thriller Suddenly
Back to Brian's Drive-In Theater
Click on the logo to go back to Brian's Drive-In Theater
This page premiered June 13, 2001.
Copyright and Disclaimer Information