Darryl Hickman, child star of “Leave Her to Heaven ”and “The Grapes of Wrath”, dies at 92

Hickman was a young actor in the Golden Age of Hollywood, before transitioning to a career in television as an adult.

Darryl Hickman, best known for his role in technicolor noir Leave Her to Heaven, has died.

Hickman died on Wednesday, May 22, according to an announcement from his family.

As a child actor, Hickman appeared in over 40 films, having been a contract player at both Paramount and MGM. His most notable roles include portraying the youngest member of the Joad family, Winfield, in John Ford's 1940 adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, as well as a role as the younger version of Van Heflin's character in the 1946 noir The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.

<p>20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection</p> Darryl Hickman in 'Leave Her to Heaven'

20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Darryl Hickman in 'Leave Her to Heaven'

His most famous role came in 1945's Leave Her to Heaven, in which he plays Danny, younger brother to Cornel Wilde's Richard. Danny is disabled as a result of polio and when he comes to live with Richard and his wife, Ellen (Gene Tierney), he meets a watery end. Ellen rows both she and Danny to the middle of a lake and calmly ignores Danny's pleas for help as he drowns, jealous of Richard's affection for the boy. Hickman later remembered Tierney as cold and aloof, even once telling TCM's Robert Osborne that he much preferred interacting with her in character.

In 1951, he briefly retired from acting to enter a monastery but returned to Hollywood a little over a month later.

<p>Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty</p> Darryl Hickman

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Darryl Hickman

Darryl Gerrad Hickman was born July 28, 1931, in Hollywood, Calif. He was signed to a contract at Paramount after being discovered by a dance school director and made his film debut in 1937's The Prisoner of Zenda as Ronald Colman's son.

His breakout came as a singing and tap-dancing youth in 1939's The Star Maker. He featured in numerous films of the era, including Untamed, Men of Boys Town, Mob Town, Joe Smith, American, The Human Comedy, Rhapsody in Blue, Two Years Before the Mast, Boys' Ranch, Alias Nick Beal, and The Set-Up.

After his brief retirement, he returned to Hollywood but found fewer roles as an adult. Most notably, he played a supporting role as Al in 1956's Tea and Sympathy. He found more success on television during this era, guest starring on The Life and Legend of Wyatt EarpThe Untouchables, Perry MasonGunsmoke, Climax!Alfred Hitchcock PresentsGeneral Electric Theater, and more.

<p>20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection</p> Darryl Hickman, Henry Fonda, and Shirley Mills in 'The Grapes of Wrath'

20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Darryl Hickman, Henry Fonda, and Shirley Mills in 'The Grapes of Wrath'

His younger brother, Dwayne Hickman, was the star of CBS comedy The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis from 1959 to 1963. Hickman appeared in three episodes of the first season alongside his younger brother, portraying Dobie's older brother Davey.

Related: Dwayne Hickman, star of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, dies at 87

Hickman also found success on Broadway, taking over for Robert Morse as J. Pierrepont Finch in the original production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

As his acting career dried up, Hickman also became a screenwriter and television executive. In 1961, he wrote for NBC's The Loretta Young Show. Hickman relocated to New York and worked as a producer of CBS soap Love of My Life throughout the 1970s. He also served as the head of CBS daytime programming for nearly five years.

After a lengthy hiatus from movies, he returned to film to play a West Coast television executive in 1976's Network.

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In his later years, Hickman published a book on acting techniques, 2007's The Unconscious Actor: Out of Control, in Full Command. Hickman also made the rounds reminiscing about his time as a child actor, speaking out against the damaging effect of a young acting career and the impact of not having a real childhood.

Hickman was married to actress Pamela Lincoln, whom he met on the set of The Tingler, from 1960 to 1982. They had two sons; their younger son, Justin, died by suicide at the age of 19 in 1985.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.