Vic from 1984After making 72 movies, matinee idol Victor Mature packed up his golf clubs and his bank books and moved to the peaceful little town of Rancho Santa Fe. Now he's been coaxed back in front of the cameras by producer Franklin R. Levy for the two hour ABC-TV remake of Samson and Delilah, which will air April 1.

As all but filmic Philistines will recall, Mature starred opposite Hedy Lamarr in the 1949 Cecil B. DeMille epic, Samson and Delilah, but this time around, two relative unknowns (Antony Hamilton and Belinda Bauer) would be playing the title roles. Levy wanted Mature to play Samson's father (Maria Schell plays his mother).

"I said, 'If the price is right, I'll play his mother,'" says the actor. "Actually, I should have played his mother, because I sound like a Yiddishe mama. All I say is, Samson, Samson, don't marry that Philistine girl. You should get yourself a nice Jewish girl.' Well, I don't exactly say that, but I'm always raising hell about what a plague Samson is going to bring on us if he goes with that woman."

"It was just a ridiculous part," he says, laughing. "I could have phoned it in. I didn't want to work more than four days, and I didn't have to."

When he'd finished his last scene on location in Durango, Mexico, Mature returned home to Lorey, his wife, and their daughter, Victoria. "It really is a thrill, particularly since I was able to be here for all of it," Mature says. "I did a little of everything--late-night feedings. Few dads are allowed the pleasure of being with their children from early in the morning till late at night."

Did his brief return to filmmaking make him want to ditch domestic life and get back into acting?

On the contrary. "It just reminded me I haven't missed too damn much by being out of it."


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