An shy, slender actor whose name became virtually synonymous with legendary screen Psycho Norman Bates despite numerous solid performances in films outside the Hitchcock originated series, Anthony Perkins' sensitive and versatile early performances remain unfortunately obscured by his portrayal of the gender-bending sociopath that made filmgoers reluctant to shower alone for decades to come.
Born to actor Osgood Perkins in April 1932 (who would die when Tony was but five years old), the young Perkins decided to follow in his father's footsteps when, at age 15, he became a member of the Actor's Equity. Soon taking the stage in summer stock, the fledgling and humble thespian embraced even the more unglamorous aspects of stage work and worked tirelessly to develop into an actor who could find celluloid success. Subsequent performances in such Rollins College productions as The Importance of Being Ernest helped him to develop the necessary skills, and following a relocation to Hollywood, Perkins was cast alongside Spencer Tracy in the film adaptation of Ruth Gordon's dramatic play The Actress. Reluctant to dive headfirst into what he considered the questionable ethics of Tinsletown, Perkins packed his bags for Columbia University. Landing roles in such Golden Age of Television staples as Studio One and G.E. Theater found the actor continuing to gain positive notice and exposure, with the success carrying over to Broadway, where Perkins would gain the respect of some of New York's harshest critics for his performance as a college student suspected of homosexuality in Robert Anderson's Tea and Sympathy. Nearly becoming a teen idol after crooning "A Little Love Goes a Long, Long Way" in the Goodyear TV Playhouse production Joey, Perkins was signed to Epic Records and later RCA Victor shortly before earning an Oscar nomination for his breakthrough roles in both William Wyler's Friendly Persuasion (1956) and Robert Mulligan's Fear Strikes Out (1957). With his portrayal as a timid pacifist and a disturbed baseball player respectively, Perkins' sensitive performances riveted audiences and resulted in numerous film offers.