Steve Cochran was an American film, television, and stage actor, the son of a California lumberman. He graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1939. After a stint working as a cowpuncher, Cochran developed his acting skills in local theatre and gradually progressed onto Broadway, film, and television.
From 1949 to 1952, he worked for Warner Brothers and appeared in many films including The Chase, The Best Years of Our Lives, Copacabana, A Song Is Born, Highway 301, The Damned Don’t Cry!, and Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison, which inspired Johnny Cash to write his song “Folsom Prison Blues”.
One of his most memorable roles was as psychotic mobster James Cagney?s deceitful, power-hungry henchman, Big Ed Somers, in the gangster classic White Heat. 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 was a disgraced, alcoholic itinerant farmer struggling to regain the love of his family in Come Next Spring, and was a troubled drifter in Michelangelo Antonioni?s Il Grido, produced in Italy. Cochran’s company attempted to produce some television series and other films such as The Tom Mix Story, but they were never produced with the exception of a television pilot where he played John C. Fremont in Fremont the Trailblazer.
Cochran starred in a string of B-movies throughout the 1950s, including Carnival Story. He also frequently appeared in episodes of the most popular television series of the era, including guest spots on Bonanza, The Untouchables, Route 66, Bus Stop, and The Twilight Zone.