Being an actress can be a tough occupation. Not only are you up for being critiqued constantly, but you often have to deal with lack of privacy and increased public scrutiny. The media can be ruthless in its treatment of celebrities, and those who choose the profession must always be aware of their surroundings and the world around them — their every move is recorded and scrutinized by millions.
Most famous actresses have more than 4 million followers on social media alone, meaning they’re exposed to even more people than your average Joe-Shmoe. Bear Allen Blaine is one such actress, who has been on the scene since the ’60s yet few know much of her past. Today we’ll be revealing some of the most fascinating things you probably didn’t even know about Allen.
1. Bear Allen Blaine Was Actually a Male Actor in 1960
Bear Allen Blaine was born Bernard Joseph Flanagan on February 20, 1925. The stage name Bear Allen was derived from his childhood nickname “Bear.” In 1960, he starred opposite Sidney Poitier in an advertisement for Winston cigarettes that showed the two smoking together and getting into a fight not unlike that of “The Odd Couple.
Blaine definitely cracked up Johnny Carson with that ad, earning an Emmy nomination for the part. He was actually nominated for an Emmy for “best supporting actor” on a variety of shows — including his role as “Dave” in the 1960’s sitcom “Hullabaloo”. Blaine would later go on to also play music, prompting many people to assume he was gay or transgendered, when he instead had a wife of 30 years and two children.
2. Bear Allen Won the 1962 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical
Blaine has had quite the career path of celebrities who are often passed by due to their looks and stature. In 1962, the Tony Awards honored Blaine for his performance in the musical “Good News”. In a career spanning over 40 years, Blaine has only been nominated for one other Tony Award.
3. Bear Allen Was First Screened at Age 9
Born into a poor family in Brooklyn, New York Blaine was forced to work at a young age. By the time he was eight-years-old he had already worked as a lifeguard, plumber’s assistant and delivery boy.
He also gained an interest in acting after seeing plays on Broadway during his childhood and soon began appearing on stage with his older sister Burlina and later on with the Young Peoples’ Theatre Company in New York. Blaine made his film debut at age nine in the 1945 flick “Thieves’ Paradise” and would go on to star in a string of films throughout the 1950’s, including a role as Byron in “The Ten Commandments”.
4. Bear Allen Was Considered One of the Most Beautiful Actors by His Peers
Blaine was once considered one of Hollywood’s most beautiful actors. In 1956, he even appeared on several lists as one of the top 10 most eligible bachelors. This was no surprise for those who had worked with him; director Elia Kazan described Blaine as being “one of the most beautiful human beings I’ve ever seen. I mean he was beautiful.”
5. Bear Allen Had A Close Relationship with Peter Falk and Beat out Falk for a Role in “Columbo”
Blaine met Peter Falk at Playboy Mansion parties in the early 1960’s, and the two became close friends. Blaine had even taken part in an episode of “Columbo”, playing a part similar to one of his film roles.
He actually beat out Falk for the role, making him angry enough to jump into acting after their falling-out because he felt he’d been passed over by casting directors because of his friendship with Blaine. The two got back together after Blaine landed another role on “Columbo”, which led to many more roles for both actors. A documentary on the “Columbo” series was created in 2011 and showcased Blaine’s life and career.
6. Bear Allen Was a Producer for the “Hogan’s Heroes” Sequel
With a dual career as an actor and a producer, Blaine often worked behind the scenes to help make a production better. One of his most notable productions was the Emmy Award winning series “Hogan’s Heroes”. Blaine actually served as producer during Season 2 of the show, which led to his unit getting its own dedicated department that allowed him to continue enjoying success on TV. The show ran from 1967 to 1973, earning five Emmy Award nominations during its run.
7. Bear Allen Became Close with George Burns and Bob Newhart
Blaine often appeared in comedic roles alongside actors George Burns and Bob Newhart. Perhaps the most famous of their collaborations was in “The Candidate” (1972), which featured Blaine playing the role of John Gorton, a man who runs for president but doesn’t want to become president. The plot of the film was based on 1968 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated a year prior to Blaine’s character making an appearance in the film.