Standing 6'3" with a head of curly black hair and famously broad shoulders, Victor Mature seemed born to fill the expanding motion picture screen of the postwar era. The coarse Kentuckian with a disdain for discipline received 20,000 fan letters from his film debut in the Hal Roach comedy "The Housekeeper's Daughter" (1939), which led to his promotion to leading man for the dinosaur romp "One Million Years, B.C." (1940). After the war, Mature came into his own as an actor at 20th Century Fox, partnering with Henry Fonda for John Ford's mythic oater "My Darling Clementine" (1946) and going head to head with Richard Widmark in Henry Hathaway's steely noir "Kiss of Death" (1947). The advent of CinemaScope and the standardization of Technicolor thrust Mature into a clutch of chromatic biblical epics and he soldiered shirtless through "Samson and Delilah" (1949), "The Robe" (1950), "Demetrius and the Gladiators" (1954) and "The Egyptian" (1954) with professional aplomb, never taking himself, or critical condescension, seriously. With no need for shoulder pads, shoe lifts, a hairpiece, or studio-mandated secrecy regarding his private life, Mature proved his worth to the film industry as a low risk, reliable, scandal-free leading man. Savvy investments in real estate and the booming television market allowed the actor to retire at age 44, though he returned for roles in a handful of films before his death in 1999 denied moviegoers the company of a Hollywood star who stood every inch a king.