Robert Lowery (Robert Larkin Hanks)

Robert Lowery

Born Robert Larkin Hanks in Kansas City, Missouri, Robert Lowery grew up on Wayne Avenue near the long-demolished Electric Park. Lowery’s father was a local attorney and oil investor who worked several years for the Pullman Corporation as a railroad agent; his mother, Leah Thompson Hanks, was a concert pianist. He graduated from Paseo High School in Kansas City, and soon was invited to sing with the Slats Randall Orchestra in the early 1930s. Lowery played on the Kansas City Blues minor league baseball team and was overall considered a versatile athlete; his physique and strength were gained from a stint working in a paper factory as a teenager. After the death of his father in 1935, he traveled to Hollywood with his mother and their housekeeper, and enrolled in the Lila Bliss acting school before being signed by Twentieth Century Fox in 1937. During his career, Lowery was primarily known for roles in action movies such as The Mark of Zorro (1940), The Mummy’s Ghost (1944), and Dangerous Passage (1944). He became the second actor to play DC Comics’ Batman (succeeding Lewis Wilson), starring in a 1949’s Batman and Robin serial. Lowery also had roles in a number of Western films including The Homesteaders (1953), The Parson and the Outlaw (1957), Young Guns of Texas (1962), and Johnny Reno (1966). He was also an accomplished stage actor and appeared in Born Yesterday, The Caine Mutiny, and in several other productions.

On television, Robert Lowery was best known for the role of Big Tim Champion on the series Circus Boy (1956–1957). In 1956, he guest starred in “The Deadly Rock,” an episode of The Adventures of Superman (which was the first time a Batman actor shared screen time with a Superman actor, although Lowery and Reeves had appeared together in their pre-superhero days in the 1942 WWII anti-VD propaganda film, Sex Hygiene.) Lowery also had guest roles on Perry Mason, featured as murder victim Amos Bryant in “The Case of the Roving River,” Playhouse 90 (“The Helen Morgan Story”), Cowboy G-Men, Maverick, Tales of Wells Fargo, Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, and Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats. He made his last onscreen appearance in the 1967 comedy/Western film The Ballad of Josie, opposite Doris Day and Peter Graves. He was married three times, to three different actresses: Jean Parker, Vivan Wilcox, and Rusty Farrell. He had one child, Robert, who lives in Redondo Beach, California; and two grandchildren. Lowery died of heart failure at the age of 58 in his Los Angeles, California apartment on December 26, 1971.

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Born

  • October, 17, 1913
  • USA
  • Kansas City, Missouri

Died

  • December, 26, 1971
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • heart failure

Cemetery

  • Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park
  • North Hollywood, California
  • USA

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