George Dolenz: Monkee Mickey’s Dad, Also an Actor

A little known fact: the father of the Monkees’ Mickey Dolenz was a Hollywood actor himself. George Dolenz (Jure Dolenc/Giorgio Dolenz, 1908-63) was a minor figure to be sure, but he appeared in many well-known Hollywood films over a period of two decades. His greatest fame may come from his starring role in the 1956 British tv series The Count of Monte Cristo.

First, an interesting note about his origins. Dolenz was culturally and ethnically Slovenian, from the city of Trieste, which is now in Italy but at the time was part of Austria-Hungary. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1934 at the age of 26, spending 3 years in Key West, Florida before coming to Hollywood.

Dolenz’s first role was a bit part in the film Unexpected Uncle (1941) with Charles Coburn. His classic comedy credits include In Society (1944) with Abbott and Costello, Scared Stiff (1953) with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and The Sad Sack (1957) with Lewis. Other films of note include The Climax (1944), My Cousin Rachel (1952), and The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954). Dolenz’s most important Hollywood moment was his probably brief stint as a leading man at RKO for Howard Hughes. The one film he starred in for Hughes, Vendetta, was filmed in 1946 but not released until 1950, and was the last Hollywood film Preston Sturges worked on as director. Sturges left the film (and his co-producing arrangement with Hearst) over differences, and Mel Ferrer is the final credited director.

George Dolenz’s last credited role was on a 1962 episode of Bonanza. He died of a heart attack in 1963, which was enough time on this earth to see his son Mickey act on Circus Boy, but not on The Monkees, which debuted three years after his passing.

 

m 1943, mickey born 1945

or more on classic comedy please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.