GREELY, CO--Anthony Dexter, the handsome actor best remembered for his portrayal of Rudolph Valentino in the film "Valentino" (1951) died here March 27, 2001. He was 88. MSTies will remember him as intrepid astronaut Luther Blair in episode 416- FIRE MAIDENS OF OUTER SPACE, intrepid astronaut Dr. Luis Vargas in episode 524- TWELVE TO THE MOON and jealous space boyfriend Herron in episode 902- PHANTOM PLANET.
Born Walter Reinhold Alfred Fleischmann in Talmadge, NE, he earned an M.A. degree from the University of Iowa, where he was also in the choir and on the football team. After college he became a stage actor, then served in U.S. Army in World War II and then returned to acting. He moved to Hollywood in the late 40s, changing his name to Anthony Dexter. Among his first gigs was a nationwide stage tour with actress Mae West.
His casting in the title role of the 1951 film "Valentino," which was greeted with a fanfare of publicity, was the culmination of one of the greatest talent hunts in the history of motion pictures. Producer Edward Small's search covered 11 years of effort and brought forth 75,000 applicants for the job of playing the legendary silent film star, Rudolph Valentino.
Following his success in that film, however, Dexter appeared mostly in lesser films. His other films include The Brigand (1952),Captain John Smith And Pocahontas (1953); Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl (1954); The Black Pirates (1954); He Laughed Last (1956); The Story of Mankind (1957); The Parson and the Outlaw (1957) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). After retiring from the screen, he took the name Walter Craig and became a teacher of English and Drama in Los Angeles. When he retired from teaching, he moved to Greeley.