- Birth name:
- Alfred Salmi
- Date of Birth:
- 22 April 1928 Brooklyn, New York, USA
- 6' 2" (1.88 m)
"Finland's Favorite Son" was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1928 to Finnish immigrants Svante and Ida. They lived in a Finnish community, and Albert's parents only spoke Finnish around the home. Whereas some kids might enjoy playing hooky, when Albert reported for his first day of school, his teacher told him to come back when he could speak English. Well, he finally got into school and did all right for himself; he graduated from high school and, like many young men after WW II, he signed up with the Army. After a three-year hitch with Uncle Sam, he took acting classes and started his acting career on the stage. In 1953 he made his Broadway debut in "End As a Man" with R.G. Armstrong and Pat Hingle, and the three became friends. His biggest success was in the Broadway production of "Bus Stop" in 1955. He played Beauregard (which is French for "good looking") Decker, and continued to develop his craft; he later wrote: "The actor learns from the audience, if the actor is aware." In 1956 he married Peggy Ann Garner and they had a beautiful daughter, Catherine Ann Salmi, and everyone called her "Cas" (her initials turned into a nickname). He would be cast in over three dozen movies and was offered an Academy award nomination for The Brothers Karamazov (1958) playing opposite screen legend Yul Brynner. He also started making guest appearances on dozens of TV series, including many prestigious ones. He portrayed Steve "Country Boy" Parrish in "The Untouchables" (1959), in the episode "Power Play"; he was trapped by Mary Fickett, who had the bad habit of trying to keep wild things in a cage-- Albert and her raccoon came to a bad end. Albert was in three episodes of the ground-breaking science fiction anthology series "The Twilight Zone" (1959); the best-loved of these is the hour-long episode: "Of Late, I Think of Cliffordville" in which Mr. Feathersmith, business tycoon who was sad because he had no more worlds to conquer, made a deal with the devil (portrayed devilishly alluringly by Julie Newmar) to go back in time, from 1963 to 1910, to start all over again. In 1963 he and Peggy divorced, and in 1964 he married Roberta Pollock; they would have two wonderful kids, Lizanne and Jennifer Salmi. Albert played a wide variety of roles with gusto. He was a desperate criminal in "T.H.E. Cat" (1966), in the episode "Brotherhood." He appeared in the Matt Helm movie The Ambushers (1967) with Dean Martin, and showed a real flair for comedy when they teamed again in the Western spoof Something Big (1971); Salmi was the wanted outlaw who was going to trade a Gatling gun for a woman, and seeing he and Dino hilariously discussing the deal was enough to make people wish they would do more comedy together. The TV series "Petrocelli" (1974), where he played Pete Ritter, gave his fans a weekly showcase of his talents. He kept appearing in movies, too, such as _Steel (1980)_ with R.G. Armstrong, and a pair of movies which had occult themes, Burned at the Stake (1981) and Superstition (1982). In semi-retirement, he moved his family to Washington State. Although he was disappointed with youth-oriented Hollywood, where veteran actors such as he weren't appreciated, he seemed to be overcoming a bout with depression, and had started writing his memoirs. Everyone was shocked by what happened next. On Monday, April 23, 1990, police found the bodies of Albert and Roberta, both dead of gunshot wounds. Albert had been shot in the heart, with a Colt .45, and Roberta with a different gun, a .25 caliber. We may never learn what really happened, what brought about this tragic end. But Albert Salmi is fondly remembered by family and friends as a great actor and a great man.