Joseph Calleia

Joseph Calleia (/kəˈlə/ kə-LAY; born Joseph Alexander Caesar Herstall Vincent Calleja, August 4, 1897 – October 31, 1975) was a Maltese-born American actor and singer on the stage and in films, radio and television.

Joseph Calleia
Joseph Calleia in 1942
Joseph Alexander Caesar Herstall Vincent Calleja

(1897-08-04)August 4, 1897
DiedOctober 31, 1975(1975-10-31) (aged 78)
Other names
  • Joseph Spurin
  • Joseph Spurin-Calleia
  • Joseph Spurin Calleja
  • Actor
  • singer
Years active1918–1963
SpouseEleanor Vassallo (married 1929–1967)

After serving in the British Transport Service during World War I, he travelled to the United States and began his career on the stage, initially in musical comedy, but later in original Broadway productions such as Broadway (1926), The Front Page (1928), The Last Mile (1930), and Grand Hotel (1930). Calleia became a star with the play Small Miracle (1934), his first real role as a villain, and he was put under contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Calleia excelled as the villain in Hollywood films, but he fought against typecasting and created a succession of darkly mysterious characters edged with humor in films such as Algiers (1938), Five Came Back (1939), Golden Boy (1939), The Glass Key (1942) and Gilda (1946). During World War II, Calleia led the Malta War Relief organization in the United States, and toured for the USO and the Hollywood Victory Committee. After the war, he continued to work steadily in motion pictures and television, and he starred in the 1948 London stage premiere of Arthur Miller's Tony Award-winning play All My Sons. Calleia's performance in Orson Welles's 1958 film Touch of Evil is regarded as one of the best in his career.

Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Joseph Calleia, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.