It was on this day, February 9, 1995, actor David Wayne died in his Santa Monica, California home from complications of lung cancer at the age of 81.
Born Wayne James McMeekan, January 30, 1914 in Traverse City, Michigan, he grew up in Bloomingdale, Michigan. Wayne’s first major Broadway role Og the leprechaun in Finian’s Rainbow earned him a Theatre World Award and the first ever Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.
Wayne became one of those fortunate 50 applicants (out of approximately 700) granted membership in New York’s newly formed Actors Studio. He was awarded a second Tony for Best Actor in a Play for The Teahouse of the August Moon and was nominated as Best Actor in a Musical for The Happy Time. He originated the role of Ensign Pulver in the classic stage comedy Mister Roberts.
In films, Wayne most often was cast as a supporting player, such as the charming cad and singer/songwriter/neighbor opposite Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in Adam’s Rib (1949). He portrayed the child killer, originally played by Peter Lorre, in the remake of M (1951), a chance to see him in a rare leading role, even rarer as an evil character. He costarred in The Tender Trap (1955) with Frank Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, and Celeste Holm.
Wayne also appeared in four films with Marilyn Monroe (more than any other actor): As Young as You Feel (1951), We’re Not Married (1952), O. Henry’s Full House (1952) (although he shared no scenes with Monroe), and How to Marry a Millionaire (1953).
He was survived by his twin daughters, Kearney Wayne and Melinda Wayne and two grandchildren. His remains were cremated and given to his family.