Dan Duryea & Family: At Home


Dan Duryea may have been a villain on Hollywood's Silver Screen, playing roles so mean and despicable that the public actually believed him to be a heel in real life, but the reality was that he was actually a nice, quiet family man who enjoyed two hobbies: boat building and gardening.

The Duryea's house was a two-storied Mediterranean-style home at 7621 Mulholland Drive, Hollywood, California. Mulholland Drive was a highway bisecting Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. Dan and Helen Duryea planted roses, lilacs, peonies and a host of other flowers. By the late 1950s, Dan estimated that there were 175 rose bushes around their Hollywood Hills home.

Dan tried to keep his home life as simple as possible for the sake of his sons. He was active in the PTA, and he was a leader in the Cub and Boy Scouts (of which his boys were members). The Duryea's seem to have always had a dog. In 1947, it was Cocker Spaniel named "Jerry". In 1955 it was a "pooch" named "Blackie". Dan's boys were never allowed to see their Dad's films while they were growing up, because he didn't want them to get the wrong idea about him.

Press Photos and Candid Shots


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Left to Right: Helen, Dick, Peter and Dan Duryea (1946)    The Duryea Family in Their Living Room (1946)


Presenting the Dan Duryea family, walking down their front drive to meet you. They are Mrs. D. (the former Helen Bryan, a non-professional); Dick, age 3; Peter, age 6 and daddy Dan. The cocker spaniels bring up the rear. Dan's proud of that smooth lawn; keeping it that way helps keep him slim and trim. After dinner the Duryeas lounge in the living room which is spacious and livable. Antiques and extravagance are conspicuous by their absence. The room is the kind that the youngsters can enjoy, and even the dogs feel at home.

Dan Duryea rates with the most fearsome movie merchants of menace (witness his performances in Woman in the Window, Scarlet Street, etc.) but at home his family just doesn't believe it. He's a good husband, father, neighbor and taxpayer --- which might be disillusioning, but surely is true. The Duryeas dwell in a large house on Mulholland Drive, hilltop highway bisecting Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. Two-storied and Mediterranean in style, the house commands views in both directions and was purchased shortly after Dan foresook Broadway for Hollywood. Since Dan personally landscapes and maintains his property and lives much the same life as his young sons, here's a revealing glimpse of a top-bracket movie 'villain' at home, photographed candidly during the brief interim between his latest pictures, Universal's Black Angel and White Tie and Tails.

Dan Duryea Re-Writing a Script at Home (1946)    Dan Duryea Lounging in His Home (1946)

Caption: Dan has his own ideas about script-writing and sometimes sits down at his typewriter to rewrite a scene. Books in the background are mostly home and gardening guides, with a few photography manuals thrown in. He never reads detective stories --- they keep him awake nights. Such is the life of a movie menace at home.


Caption: Dan Duryea, The Hunk of Skunk, demonstrates being tough to his wife and sons, Peter and Dick. (Pete on left, Dick on right.)

Dan Duryea Gardening in His Greenhouse       Dan Duryea Tends African Violets in His Private Greenhouse

Dan Duryea with his dog, Jerry. (1947)    The Duryeas at the Walt Disney Fantasy number in the 1950 Ice Capades

Caption: (Photo 1) Though Dan Duryea, Universal-International star, rose to fame as a tough guy on the screen, he is a softie as far as his cocker dog, Jerry, is concerned. Jerry never fails to show his appreciation for favors done.
(Photo 2) Dan Duryea and his wife, with sons, Peter and Dick, greet Donald Duck after the Walt Disney Fantasy number in the 1950 Ice Capades at the Pan Pacific.

Richard, Peter and Dan Duryea with Their Cameras (1949)       Dan, Richard (kneeling) and Peter Duryea Threading Their Home Projector (c. 1949)

Caption: In front of the cameras Dan Duryea is usually a very wicked man, but behind the camera in this picture he plays a role more natural to him, a proud and pleasant father of two husky sons. On the left is six year old Richard and on the right, ten year old Peter. The boys don't see many of the pictures that have made their father a famous star, but they have enjoyed visiting him at the studio.

Dan Duryea Sprays Some of His Many Roses       Dan Duryea on His Tractor (1947)

Caption: Dan Duryea, Universal-International star, is not exactly a gentleman farmer, but he spends much of his spare time landscaping his hillside home that overlooks San Fernando Valley. Dan has built four large terraces on what used to be a steep hill on the back of his property.

Dan Duryea Relaxes in His Favorite Chair       Dan Duryea Fixes His Tractor (1947)

Caption: Although slippers and pipe are missing, Dan Duryea, Universal-International star has a favorite chair, the only piece of furniture he brought with him from the East. It has been recovered and rebuilt (a compromise to his wife). Nevertheless, Dan says he never feels at home unless he is in it.

Top to Bottom: Dick, Dan and Peter Duryea.       Dan and Helen Duryea with Dog, Blackie. (c. December 1955)

Caption: Dan Duryea watches while his wife, Helen, tempts their pet pooch, "Blackie", with a tidbit at their home in Hollywood. The popular star of films and television is best known for his screen "bad man" roles.

The Duryea Boys Ride the Carousel (1947)    Dan Duryea Buys Balloons and Popsicles for His Sons, Dick and Peter. (1947)

Dan Duryea Buys Amusement Park Tickets for His Sons (1947)    Dan and Peter Duryea Hard at Work

Here are three fun pictures of Dan Duryea and his sons, Peter (8 years old) and Dick (6 years old). These photos were taken in 1947, at a Hollywood "playground," on a Saturday morning when the trio was out having some fun. Dan's sideburns were for his role in the 1948 film, Black Bart (which he was filming at the time).