John Payne

John Howard Payne (May 23, 1912 – December 6, 1989) was an American film actor who is mainly remembered as a singer in 20th Century Fox musical films, and for his leading roles in Miracle on 34th Street and the NBC Western television series The Restless Gun. Payne was born in Roanoke, Virginia. His mother, Ida Hope (née Schaeffer), a singer, graduated from the Virginia Seminary in Roanoke and married George Washington Payne, a developer in Roanoke. They lived at Fort Lewis, an antebellum mansion that became a state historic property but was destroyed by fire in the late 1950s. Payne went to Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City in the fall of 1930. He studied drama at Columbia and voice at Juilliard School. To support himself, he took on a variety of odd jobs, including wrestling and singing in vaudeville. In 1934, a talent scout for the Shubert theaters spotted Payne and gave him a job as a stock player. Payne toured with several Shubert Brothers shows, and frequently sang on New York-based radio programs. In 1936, he landed a contract at Samuel Goldwyn, and he left New York for Hollywood.

Actor

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