Movieland Mystery Photo — Tennessee Williams’ Edition

Suddenly Last Summer

A member of the Brain Trust has called my attention to a gent appearing in the film of Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly, Last Summer,” a movie I have never seen. Apparently this fellow, who plays Sebastian Venable, is unidentified and I thought the rest of the Brain Trust might have an idea of who he is. (No, he’s not on imdb.) In the play, (which I have also never seen), something unfortunate has happened to Sebastian and he never appears, but the screenwriters decided to put him in the film. A good mystery for the Brain Trust!

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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20 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo — Tennessee Williams’ Edition

  1. Tim Doherty says:

    Royal Dano?


  2. Mary Mallory says:

    Variety Archives has a story saying that Robert Heltman was traveling to Italy for a role in SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER.


  3. Gary Martin says:

    I just saw this for the first time during my K.Hepburn retrospective via netflix. This was shot in England and Spain. They were very careful not to show his face. Perhaps he was well known. Eddie Fisher, Frank Merlo, and Gore Vidal had bits in the film. On the other hand the actor might have been a local talent, possibly Italian, or perhaps even a friend of screenwriter Gore Vidal’s.


  4. E. Yarber says:

    No answer, but perhaps a little context.

    In the film itself, the character’s face is never seen, just pieces of his body and shots from behind. That’s the sort of thing you’d find in second-unit shots using doubles or stunt men, though location shooting sometimes requires more extensive doubling. Leslie Howard wandering through the desert in The Petrified Forest isn’t Leslie Howard, for example, while conflicts with a stage production meant a double had to be substituted for Roger Livesey for all the external scenes in I Know Where I’m Going!

    Hammer’s film of Nigel Kneale’s The Abominable Snowman is particularly vertigo-inducing because it constantly shifts from location footage of actual mountaineers to the actors on obvious studio sets.

    What makes Sebastian in Suddenly, Last Summer so unusual is that the character is played by a body double for a role that doesn’t have another actor.


  5. John Hamm, Sr. A fine actor in his own right.


  6. B.J. Merholz says:

    Referring to my dim memory of the film or possibly of “insider dope” about it, I think that more than one “mannequin” was used in different scenes to portray Sebastian. The character did not appear at all in the play and Mankiewitz might have wanted to maintain Sebastian’s non-appearance for the film.


  7. Eve says:

    We may have an answer–my actor friend Christopher says the gentleman in question was Uruguayan-born actor Martin LaSalle, and some Google-imaging seems to bear this out.


  8. B.J. Merholz says:

    If you’ve ever seen PCKPOCKET you’ll discount Martin LaSalle.


  9. Steve M. says:

    Laurence Harvey?


  10. Mary Mallory says:

    I’ve actually found it out from reading the SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER press notes at the Margaret Herrick Library. “Sebastian himself is played by a young Spanish actor, Julian Yugarte, almost unseen in the film, appearing only in a flashback sequence towards the end, and then only in silhouette, or partial view. Not since “Rebecca” has an actor, not prominently seen, played so important a role, for Sebastian, brilliant, poetic, fashionable, effect, has had an ineradicable effect on the lives of all the others.” This is on page two of the press notes.


  11. B.J. Merholz says:

    Let it go, Eve. Screen Pickpocket to see LaSalle. End of discussion. As for Landa, he could be ONE of the bodies used to create Sebastian. How many actors are Darth Vader?


  12. Mary Mallory says:

    It’s Landa, why else would the press kit go to that much trouble to identify him if it wasn’t? He’s also identified as Ugarte on one of the photos in the Herrick’s collection.


  13. Eve says:

    I just heard from Christopher, who agrees it’s Ugarte. Longtime mystery solved!


  14. His name is Julian Ugarte
    Julián Ugarte was born on June 6, 1929 in Sestao, Vizcaya, País Vasco, Spain as Julián Ugarte Landa. He was an actor, known for The Pride and the Passion (1957), La barca sin pescador (1964) and Los libros (1974). He was married to Didi Sherman. He died on December 27, 1987 in Bilbao, Vizcaya.

    Liked by 1 person

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