John Agar
John Agar still.jpg
circa 1960
Born John George Agar, Jr.
January 31, 1921 (1921-01-31) (age 96)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died April 7, 2002(2002-04-07) (aged 81)
Burbank, California, U.S.
Resting place Riverside National Cemetery
Occupation Actor
Years active 1948–2001
Spouse Shirley Temple (m. 1945–1950; divorced); 1 daughter
Loretta Combs (m. 1951–2000; her death); 2 sons
Children Linda Susan Agar (Susan Black)
Martin Agar
John G. Agar III

John George Agar, Jr. (January 31, 1921 – April 7, 2002) was an American actor. He is best known for starring alongside John Wayne in the films Sands of Iwo Jima, Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. In his later career he was the star of B movies, such as Tarantula, The Mole People, The Brain from Planet Arous, Revenge of the Creature, Flesh and the Spur, and Hand of Death. He was the first husband of Shirley Temple.

Early LifeEdit

Agar was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Lillian (née Rogers) and John Agar, Sr., a meat packer.[1] He was educated at the Harvard School for Boys in Chicago and Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois and graduated from Trinity-Pawling Preparatory School in Pawling, New York, but did not attend college. He and his family moved from Chicago to Los Angeles in 1942, following his father’s death.

During World War II he served in the Army Air Forces, mostly at the March Field in Riverside, California, serving as a physical fitness instructor. He was a sergeant at the time he left the AAF in 1946.[2]

Shirley TempleEdit

Agar's sister was a schoolmate of Shirley Temple. In 1944 Agar escorted Temple to a party held by her then-boss David O. Selznick. The two fell in love and were married in 1945. Selznick signed Agar to a five year acting contract starting at $150 a week, including acting lessons.[3]

Agar and Temple worked together in Fort Apache and Adventure in Baltimore. The first of these, where they supported John Wayne, was particularly successful. Agar was reunited with Wayne in two more hits, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and The Sands of Iwo Jima.[2]

Agar and Temple had a daughter together, Linda Susan Agar (who was later known as Susan Black, taking the surname of her stepfather Charles Alden Black). However the marriage foundered, in part because of Agar's drinking (he had been arrested for drunk driving) and in part because of pressures of their high profile. Temple sued for divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty in 1949.[3][4]

B Movie StarEdit

Agar's career suffered in the wake of his divorce, however he developed a niche playing the leads in low budget science fiction, Western, and horror movies in the 1950s and 1960s. John Wayne gave him several support parts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During later years he worked extensively in television.

"I don't resent being identified with B science fiction movies at all," said Agar later. "Why should I? Even though they were not considered top of the line, for those people that like sci-fi, I guess they were fun. My whole feeling about working as an actor is, if I give anybody any enjoyment, I'm doing my job, and that's what counts."[2]

Second marriageEdit

Following his divorce from Temple, Agar remarried in 1951 to model Loretta Barnett Combs (1922–2000). They remained married until her death in 2000. The couple had two sons, Martin Agar and John G. Agar, III.[5]


Agar died on April 7, 2002 at Burbank, California of complications from emphysema. He was buried beside his wife at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California. He was survived by his three children.




  1. John Agar profile,; accessed February 18, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 John Agar Biography at Monster Shack accessed January 19, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 John Agar obituary in The Guardian 13 April 2002 accessed 19 January 2014
  4. Kristin McMurran, "Shirley Temple Black Taps Out a Telling Memoir of Child Stardom", People Magazine 28 November 1988 accessed 19 January 2014
  5. Los Angeles Times obituary, April 9, 2002; accessed January 19, 2014

External linksEdit

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