Robert Shayne (Robert Shaen Dawe)

Robert Shayne

Robert Shayne

Shayne originally worked as a journalist before becoming an actor, and his first stage appearances were with repertory companies in Alabama. By 1931, he had established the first of many Broadway credits in The Rap.  His other Broadway shows include Yellow Jack (1934), The Cat and the Canary (1935), Whiteoaks (1938), with Ethel Barrymore, and Without Love (1942), with Katharine Hepburn. Shayne played many character roles in movies and television, such as a 1943 movie entitled Wagon Wheels West, but he is best remembered for his portrayal of the recurring character Police Inspector William “Bill” Henderson on the 1950s TV series Adventures of Superman. He appeared sporadically in the early episodes of the series, in part because he came under HUAC scrutiny and was briefly blacklisted on unproven and unspecific charges of association with Communism.  As the program evolved, especially in the color episodes, he was brought into more and more of them, to the point where he was a regular on the series. He appears briefly in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, seated at a booth in a hotel bar, where his character meets Cary Grant’s character, just as the latter is about to be kidnapped. He also had a small but pivotal role in the 1953 sci-fi classic Invaders From Mars as a scientist. He also enjoyed a brief rebirth in his career when he was cast as the blind newspaper vendor in The Flash television show. He was by this time actually blind and learned his lines by having his wife read them to him and then rehearse until he memorized them. Shayne died of lung cancer at the Motion Picture Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.

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  • October, 04, 1900
  • Yonkers, New York


  • November, 29, 1992
  • Woodland Hills, California

Cause of Death

  • lung cancer


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
  • Los Angeles, California

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