Corey Allen (June 29, 1934 – June 27, 2010) was an American film and television director, writer, producer, and actor. He began his career as an actor but eventually became a television director. He is best known for playing the character Buzz Gunderson in Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Allen is the son of Carl Cohen.
Life and career
Allen was born Alan Cohen in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 29, 1934. He was the son of Carl and Fran Cohen; his father was an illegal bookie and gambling operator for the Mayfield Road Mob in Cleveland, and later became an important gambling executive at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Alan attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received his start in acting and was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1954.
Allen was best known for his role as gang leader Buzz Gunderson in Nicholas Ray’s 1955 film Rebel Without A Cause. James Dean starred as Jim Stark, a disaffected teenager who has moved to Los Angeles to start a new life, only to find more problems in his new home. After a show at the Griffith Observatory, Buzz challenges Jim to a knife fight, which Stark wins by subduing Buzz with his switchblade. During the filming of the knife fight both Allen and Dean, aficionados of method acting, used real knives and Dean was injured when Allen lunged at him with his knife. The gang challenges Jim to a chickie run, in which two stolen cars will be raced towards a cliff and the winner will be the last one to jump out. Before the two embark on their death race, Buzz and Jim stand at the edge of the cliff, looking down at the fall they might face if they remain in their cars to the end. Jim questions why they are going ahead with this race. Buzz responds, “You got to do something, don’t you”. Allen would later recall that his classic line was “the underlying question of each generation. Here we are: What do we do?”. As the cars are heading to the cliff, Buzz attempts to jump out but is unable to escape when his leather jacket gets caught on the car door handle; he is killed in the crash on the beach below.
He appeared in some minor film roles before Rebel and afterward was seen in The Chapman Report, Darby’s Rangers, Juvenile Jungle, Party Girl, Sweet Bird of Youth, in addition to guest appearances on Bonanza, Dr. Kildare, Gunsmoke, Have Gun, Will Travel and Perry Mason. In 1960 Allen played murderer Rennie Foster in “The Case of the Red Riding Boots”, and in 1962 he played murder victim Lester Menke in “The Case of the Borrowed Baby”.
He was actively involved in theatrical productions in the Los Angeles area, creating the touring company Freeway Circuit Inc. in 1959 and the Actors Theater in 1965. He was also involved in teaching theater at The Actors Workshop.
Allen turned to directing starting in the 1960s, where he worked on such television programs as Dallas, Hawaii Five-O, Hill Street Blues, Ironside, Mannix, Murder, She Wrote, Police Woman, The Rockford Files, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Streets of San Francisco. He won an Emmy Award, in 1984, for directing an episode of Hill Street Blues.
In 1967 Corey and his business partner Gary Stromberg met with Charles Manson early in both of their careers, as new director and cult leader respectively. Manson was invited to help them write a film treatment called “Black Jesus” (later produced by an Italian company in 1968) and Manson’s “family” was allowed to live briefly in Corey’s small acting studio on Western Ave. Fortunately, Corey’s girlfriend at the time got a really bad vibe from Charlie and demanded they vacate the space immediately. Nothing came of the partnership.
He died due to complications of Parkinson’s disease on June 27, 2010, in Hollywood, California, just two days before his 76th birthday. He was survived by a daughter, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He is buried in grave 7-51-2 in the Sunset Slope section of Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
episode The Maquis: Part 2
episode The Circle
episode Captive Pursuit
episode “Journey’s End”
episode “The Game”
episode “Final Mission”
episode “Home Soil”
episode “Encounter at Farpoint”
episode “Deadly Lady”
pilot episode “The Murder of Sherlock Holmes” (1984)
episode “Billy Pierce”
episode “Hair Apparent”
episode “Goodbye, Mr. Scripps”
episode “Jungle Madness”
episode “Always Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth”
episode “Programmed for Murder”
episode “Fatal Error”
episode “Deadly Access”
episode “No-Fault Affair”
episode “The Man Who Saw the Alligators”
episode “The Empty Frame”
episode “The Shattered Image”
episode “The Young and the Fair”
episode “Do You Still Beat Your Wife?”
episode “The Lifeline Agency”
episode “Broken Angels”
episode “But When She Was Bad”
episode “Too Many Victims”
episode “A Good Sound Profit”
episode “Time Out of Mind”
episode “The Sound of Darkness”
episode “Child of Rock and Sunlight”
|The Mad Magician||1954||Gus the Stagehand||Uncredited|
|A Time Out of War||1954||Connor||Short|
|The Bridges at Toko-Ri||1954||Enlisted Man||Uncredited|
|The Night of the Hunter||1955||Young Man in Town||Uncredited|
|Rebel Without a Cause||1955||Buzz Gunderson|
|Alfred Hitchcock Presents||1956||Gil Dalliford||Episode: “Jonathan”|
|The Shadow on the Window||1957||Gil Ramsey|
|The Big Caper||1957||Roy|
|Darby’s Rangers||1958||Pvt. Pittsburgh Tony Sutherland|
|Juvenile Jungle||1958||Hal McQueen|
|Party Girl||1958||Cookie La Motte|
|Sea Hunt||1961||Young||Episode: “Quicksand”|
|Sweet Bird of Youth||1962||Scotty|
|The Chapman Report||1962||Wash Dillon|
|Combat!||1964||Pvt. Garrett||Episode: A Rare Vintage|
|Original: Do Not Project||1972||Psychiatrist|
|The Works||2004||Mr. M|
|Quarantined||2009||Mr. Eagle||Voice, (final film role)|