Early in Hollywood’s Golden Age, Darryl Hickman began his decades-long career in show business. His “big break” came at eight-years-old when he was chosen by choreographer LeRoy Prinz to be Bing Crosby’s diminutive sidekick in the musical film The Star Maker (1939) at Paramount. From there, he went to Twentieth Century-Fox where John Ford cast him as Henry Fonda’s kid brother (Winfield Joad) in The Grapes of Wrath (1940). After appearing with Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy in Men of Boys Town (1941) at MGM, the studio signed him to a seven-year contract where he acted in dozens of movies with some of the greatest directors and iconic movie stars in film history. By the time he was twenty-one, there were more than fifty movies on his résumé.
In 1956, after two years in the army, he was cast in MGM’s TEA AND SYMPATHY. This marked the beginning of the second stage of his prolific career, not only in movies but also in live and filmed television, and in musical theater: in 1962, he starred on Broadway in the Pulitzer Prize-winning How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The multi-talented actor, song-and-dance man, writer, director, producer and network executive even found time to teach his own dramatic workshop in New York and Los Angeles. His book, The Unconscious Actor: Out of Control, In Full Command (2007), is both a memoir and a description of his ground-breaking teaching methodology, which he calls “The Process.” Developed over thirty years of interacting with thousands of his students on both coasts, it finally brings Stanislavsky into the 21st century.