Thursday, March 14, 2013

RIP Art Hansl

Author and actor Art Hansl was educated in Europe as well as in the States at Taft School in Connecticut and Washington and Lee University in Virginia. His mother was a successful playwright in her early twenties, his father an executive at JP Morgan & Co. Born to privilege, his family's wealth had dissipated over the years and, after a single semester, he left law school at U.S.C. and veered away from the conventional life planned for him.

Until his death by cancer (March 6, 2013) at the age of 82, he set his own path, first joining the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Hostilities ended before he was ready to ship out and he completed his service in the military police at Camp Pendleton, California. After his brief experiment with law school, he headed to Mexico for a few weeks, and ended up staying for four years. With a background in languages, he picked up Spanish quickly and soon found his place among expatriates and locals, playboys and playgirls, in what he liked to call 'a sunny land for shady people'.

Plans to open a night club with questionable partners went awry as did other schemes and he left reluctantly to return to California. From there he traveled to Spain and, with the last of his funds, went to Rome. There he met and eventually married model and actress, Mary Arden, who introduced him to an agent who thought he had a future in motion pictures.

He appeared in films with Kirk Douglas and Ursula Andress, but soon he was making mostly B action films, James Bond rip-offs popular in the 60's that took him around Europe, behind the Iron Curtain and to North Africa. By the end of the decade the dolce vita was largely over for expatriate American actors and Hansl went back to Mexico to pursue his career there, playing heroes and heavies, making westerns, horror films, whatever came along. In the 1970's a change in  the Mexican government and tax laws sent him back to California where he finished his acting career with a stint in the daytime TV series, General Hospital.

Now divorced and re-married to a French beauty, Nicole Richardeau, his mother's genes kicked in and he switched to writing. Drawing from a life of considerable adventure, he produced five published novels and an autobiography. He passed away at his home in Montecito, California. Plans for services are pending.

HINTL, Arthur (aka Arthur Hansel)
Born: 1931, U.S.A.
Died: 3/6/2013, Montecito, California, U.S.A.

Arthur Hintl’s western – actor:
Eye for an Eye – 1971 (Sam Pittman)

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