Date of Birth : Nov 21st 1920
He made his film debut in 1951 with a small role in MGM’s Teresa, followed by a starring role in the Swiss-made Four in a Jeep, directed by Leopold Lindtberg. For his performance in William Inge’s Picnic, Meeker was awarded the New York Critic’s Circle Award in 1954. Picnic became a classic film in 1956, with William Holden and Kim Novak starring in the roles originated by Meeker and Janice Rule.
Meeker starred as detective Mike Hammer in the 1955 Robert Aldrich film of Mickey Spillane’s Kiss Me Deadly. Many years later, this film acquired cult status and was seen as an influence on French New Wave directors such as Jean-Luc Godard. Meeker’s portrayal of Hammer came to be lauded as one of the definitive “tough guy” performances. At the time, however, Meeker was unable to parlay the role into further starring film roles. He spent most of the rest of his career working in television, with occasional film appearances in supporting roles.
In 1957 he co-starred in Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory, playing one of the condemned soldiers. In 1958, he starred in the episode “A Man Called Horse” of NBC’s Wagon Train, with the Hopi Indian boy Anthony Numkena appearing in the role of Little Hunter. In 1963, he appeared on the episode “The Bull Roarer” on ABC’s medical drama about psychiatry, Breaking Point starring Paul Richards. He guest starred as Frank Martin in the 1964 episode “Swing for the Moon” of ABC’s Channing, set on a fictitious college campus and costarring Jason Evers and Henry Jones.