April 8, 1931
Los Angeles, California, United States
February 9, 2018
Beverly Hills, California, United States
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A stunningly handsome leading man, John Gavin portrayed Janet Leigh's boyfriend in "Psycho" and Julius Caesar in Stanley Kubrick's "Spartacus," and fell into Reagan-era Republican politics in real life. Gavin was first contracted by Universal Studios, who fancied him their next major leading man. He was soon cast in the lead in Douglas Sirk's melodrama "A Time to Love and a Time to Die" and his masterpiece "Imitation of Life." These were followed up by Gavin's roles in "Psycho" and "Spartacus." Afterwards, his screen career seemed to stall, and he moved to television with the title role on the Western lawman series "Destry" and the part of Commander Dan Talbot on the World War II series "Convoy." After a role in the screen version of the musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and a part as the lead spy in the French James Bond-style spy flick "OSS 117 - Double Agent," Gavin saw his career slowly burn out, with occasional TV work throughout the 1970s. His final big-screen performance came in the Mel Brooks comedy "History of the World, Part 1" (1981). The well-connected Californian, who had been President of the Screen Actors Guild, was appointed United States Ambassador to Mexico in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan. Retired from acting, Gavin served as Ambassador for five years and spent the remainder of his career in the business sector. John Gavin died of complcations from pneumonia on February 9, 2018 at the age of 86.