Friday, June 12, 2009

Guest Blogger Nicole ~ Jeffrey Lynn

Nicole over at Classic Hollywood Nerd gives us the latest entry in the Guest Blogger series, a wonderful post on the life and career of Jeffrey Lynn. Nicole shows an incredible dedication to old Hollywood for someone so young (she's only 19). I'm already impressed. Enjoy!
Jeffrey Lynn’s career spanned from 1938 to 1990 in films, television, plays, and radio, yet not much is known on the actor today.

Jeffrey Lynn was born Ragnar Godfrey Lind on February 16th 1909 in Auburn, Massachusetts. Though information is difficult to find on his family, he did grow up with a rather large family: three sisters and two brothers. After graduating from Bates College with B.A. Degree, Jeffrey started off a career in teaching high school speech, English, and drama. Somehow though, he always managed to put some acting into classes and that’s when the young man decided he wanted to go to Hollywood. Jeffrey began with summer stock companies but eventually he caught the eye of Warner Brothers. He began his film career with rather small and unimportant characters but as time went by, Jeffrey’s roles got better and better.

Warner Bros was planning on making the Fannie Hurst story “Sister Act” into a movie, and there hopes was to get an all-star cast but things didn’t turn quite the way they had planned. Michael Curtiz, director of the film wanted Errol Flynn and Bette Davis to star in the film but because of other film obligations, they were unable to play the roles. Going from an A-list cast of actors, Warner Bros made the film into a B-list cast of actors that would star Priscilla Lane and her sisters Rosemary and Lola, Claude Rains, May Robson, Dick Foran, newcomer John Garfield, and Jeffrey Lynn. Curtiz felt unhappy with the casting but went along with directing the film. The film’s title was no longer going to be “Sister Act” but it was to be “Four Daughters”. The film would center around Four Women who are growing up and really beginning to fall in love. Jeffrey Lynn would play the character of Felix Dietz, a man who all the girls fall head over heels for. Jeffrey’s Felix and Priscilla’s Ann were destined to be together but someone came between them- John Garfield’s Mickey. The film was much more than just a B-List Cast, the film had an amazing storyline that fit perfectly with the actors’ portrayal of their characters.
After the huge success of “Four Daughters”, Jeffrey had made into Hollywood and was now on the top of his game until something suddenly got into the way. World War II was right around the corner and many Americans would join in and sacrifice their lives for other Americans. Deciding it was time for him to help, Jeffrey Lynn joined the Army Air Force, where he had earned a bronze star. Jeffrey spent about 4 years in the Air Force and when he did come back from the War, he had hoped he could revitalize his career but life had different plans for him.

Shortly after coming back from fighting, Jeffrey married magazine editor, Robin Chandler with whom he would have two children with Jeffrey Jr (born in 1948) and Letitia (born in 1949). As his roles in movies became less important to him, Jeffrey did some television but eventually went into real estate. Aside from doing real estate and television, Jeffrey also did some plays such as “The Philadelphia Story" (in which he played C.K. Dexter Haven) and “Mister Roberts” (where he played the title character).

Though it seemed that Jeffrey had disappeared from Hollywood, Jeffrey was about to get a role that would bring him back into the spotlight for some time. The creators of the television show, “Murder She Wrote”, wanted Jeffrey to reprise his role from his 1949 film “Strange Bargain in which starred alongside Martha Scott. Jeffrey agreed and the episode was a hit. Years after making the episode, Jeffrey passed away on November 24th 1995 with his third wife, Helen by his side. Though he didn’t establish the same career as Humphrey Bogart or Clark Gable, Jeffrey did have a successful career.

From teaching, to acting, to fighting in the army, Jeffrey always was working. The particular reason I like him is because he often portrayed the everyday man, the guy next door, the one who could be your best friend and at the same time, be there for you. Even when the films weren’t that good, Jeffrey always did his best. One of his favorite films of his was 1941, Vincent Sherman film “Underground”, in which he had played a Nazi soldier who finally understands the wrong, that is being done in Germany and then retaliates. He wasn’t a one dimensional character either, he could play poet Joyce Kilmer or he could play gate swinging Felix Dietz. He had more talent than people gave him credit for.


  1. Wow interesting! I don't know much about Ragnar Lind but I can tell he definitley was of Swedish origins. Ragnar is a very old typical Swedish name not used in many other countries. The last name Lind is equally typically Swedish. Cool!

  2. Thanks for this excellent contribution Nicole. Now I can't wait to see Four Daughters!

  3. I wish they had recorded stage plays back then, wouldn't it been neat to see him as C.K. Dexter Haven?!?!

    Great post, Nicole!!

  4. Four Daughters is defintely well-worth seeing just for Garfield's performance alone but the entire cast is excellent and the whole thing is very well done. btw, that's a nice pic of Jeffery Lynn and Olivia dehavilland from "My Love Came Back". I have the one-sheet for that film hanging in my living room :)

  5. I think I remember him best from his part in The Roaring Twenties.

  6. Thanks for an interesting post -- Mr. Lynn is someone I've come to appreciate in the last couple years thanks to the FOUR DAUGHTERS films.

    Best wishes,

  7. My father served with Jeff Lynn during WWII toward the war's end. I believe they both were stationed in Italy.


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