Steve Cochran (Robert Alexander Cochran)

Steve Cochran

From 1949–52 Steve Cochran worked for Warner Brothers in mostly supporting roles (often playing boxers and gangsters), and before that he was under contract to Samuel Goldwyn. He appeared in many films, including The Chase (1946), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Copacabana (1947), A Song Is Born (1948), Highway 301 (1950), The Damned Don’t Cry! (1950), Of Love and Desire (1963), and Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison (1951), which inspired Johnny Cash to write his song “Folsom Prison Blues”. One of his most memorable roles was as psychotic mobster James Cagney’s power-hungry henchman, Big Ed Somers, in the gangster classic White Heat (1949). In 1953 Cochran formed his own production company, Robert Alexander Productions, where he won critical acclaim for two of his performances in his company’s films. Cochran played a disgraced, alcoholic itinerant farmer struggling to regain the love of his family in Come Next Spring (1956), a troubled drifter in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Il Grido (1957), produced in Italy. Cochran played Billy in The Deadly Companions (1961). His production company attempted to make some television series[3] and other films such as The Tom Mix Story (with Cochran as Mix), but they were never produced with the exception of a television pilot where he played John C. Fremont in Fremont the Trailblazer. Cochran’s final film was Mozambique (1965).

Steve Cochran starred in a string of B movies throughout the 1950s, including Carnival Story (1954). He frequently appeared in episodes of the most popular television series of the era, such as Bonanza, The Untouchables, Route 66, Bus Stop, Stoney Burke, and the 1959 episode “What You Need” of CBS’s The Twilight Zone. On June 15, 1965, at the age of 48, Steve Cochran died on his yacht off the coast of Guatemala, reportedly due to an acute lung infection. His body, along with three female assistants, remained aboard for ten days since the three women did not know how to operate the boat. It drifted to shore in Port Champerico, Guatemala, and was found by authorities. There were various rumors of foul play and poisoning, but reportedly no new evidence was found.

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  • May, 25, 1917
  • USA
  • Eureka, California


  • June, 15, 1965
  • Off the coast of Guatemala

Cause of Death

  • acute lung infection


  • Monterey City Cemetery
  • Monterey, California
  • USA

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