- Carl E. Rollyson
Webb, Jack (02 April 1920–23 December 1982), actor, director, and producer, was born Jack Randolph Webb in Santa Monica, California, the son of Samuel Webb and Margaret Smith. His parents separated when he was about two years old. Because his father left home when Webb was so young, he had no memories of him, and he was raised by his mother and grandmother. He grew up in an impoverished section of downtown Los Angeles, where at Belmont High School he became interested in art and dramatics and performed in several school productions. Needing to support himself and his mother, he gave up plans to attend college, and following his graduation from high school he worked in a men’s clothing store. On his own time he appeared on several local radio programs. In 1943 he joined the Army Air Forces, and while stationed in Minnesota he worked on a few United Service Organizations (USO) variety shows. Following his discharge in 1945, an affiliate of ABC Radio hired him to report on the San Francisco Conference (Apr.–June 1945) held to draw up the charter of the newly formed United Nations. While he was in San Francisco, Webb hosted a morning show focusing on jazz and also played the part of a tough detective in the radio drama “Pat Novak for Hire,” a series about waterfront crime. In 1947 he married singer-actress Julie London, with whom he would have two children....