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Phil Karlson (Phil N. Karlson)

Phil Karlson

Phil Karlson (born Philip N. Karlstein; July 2, 1908 – December 12, 1985) was an American film director. Karlson directed 99 River Street, Kansas City Confidential and Hell’s Island all with actor John Payne in the early 1950s. Other films include Rocky (1948), The Texas Rangers (1951), The Phenix City Story (1955), 5 Against the House (1955), The Young Doctors (1961) and Walking Tall (1973). Karlson was the son of the Irish actress Lillian O’Brien. He studied painting at Chicago’s Art Institute, and law, at his father’s request, at Loyola Marymount University in California. Phil Karlson got into the film industry working as a prop man while a law student. After working a variety of jobs in the business, including assistant director on a number of Abbott and Costello films, he made his directorial debut in 1944.[citation needed] He directed Marilyn Monroe’s first film, 1948’s Ladies of the Chorus, and worked on a number of low-budget projects for Monogram Pictures and Eagle-Lion Films before finally hitting his stride in the early 1950s, when he turned out a string of tough, gritty, realistic and violent crime thrillers. In the 1960s he directed Kid Galahad (1962) with Elvis Presley and two Matt Helm spy films starring Dean Martin, the original The Silencers followed by The Wrecking Crew (1969) co-starring Sharon Tate and Elke Sommer. Phil Karlson hit it big in 1973 with Walking Tall, the fact-based story of a crusading sheriff in the most corrupt county in Tennessee. It was a major domestic and international hit. It also made him a fortune, thanks to the fact that he owned a large percentage of it. The Academy Film Archive has preserved “Tight Spot” and “Scandal Sheet” by Phil Karlson.

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  • 83019460_132583566718 -


  • July, 02, 1908
  • USA
  • Chicago, Illinois


  • December, 12, 1985
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California


  • Westwood Memorial Park
  • Los Angeles, California
  • USA

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