Handsome leading men were hardly in short supply in Hollywood during the 1940s, but Cornel Wilde was a unique specimen. Fluent in several languages and good with accents, he was also highly athletic and often emphasized physicality in his performances. As a former member of the U.S. fencing team, he was able to utilize skills that made him a desirable lead for period swashbucklers, a la Errol Flynn. It also did not hurt that he was an effective dramatic performer and proved it when he earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for "A Song to Remember" (1945) early on in his career. He also did laudable work in successful productions like "Leave Her to Heaven" (1945), "Forever Amber" (1947), and "Road House" (1948) during his tenure at 20th Century Fox. Unlike a lot of his peers, Wilde was ambitious and carved out a successful second career behind the camera as a producer, director and sometime screenwriter. His later credits in this vein included such graphic, groundbreaking films as the jungle adventure "The Naked Prey" (1966), the Vietnam drama "Beach Red" (1967), and the post-apocalyptic thriller "No Blade of Grass" (1970). An intelligent and able performer, Wilde was a solid actor and also an unfairly overlooked directorial talent of that era.