Although he was the only one of the four principal players not nominated for an Oscar for the 1963 film Hud (1963), Brandon got to share Oscar night glory nevertheless when he went on stage to accept the Best Supporting Actor trophy for co-star Melvyn Douglas, who was in Israel at the time. Patricia Neal won for "best actress," but Paul Newman lost "best actor" to Sidney Poitier for Lilies of the Field (1963).
Close friend (and sometimes singing partner) country-western legend Gram Parsons immortalized De Wilde's tragic death in Parsons' and Emmylou Harris's song "In My Hour of Darkness"; Once I knew a young man went driving through the night. Miles and miles without a word, with just his high-beam lights. Who'd have ever thought they'd build such a deadly Denver bend. To be so strong, to take as long as it would till the end.
De Wilde had hoped to embark on a music career. He watched as Paul McCartney wrote the song Wait during the filming of the Beatles movie Help! (1965).
De Wilde is pronounced duh-WIL-duh.
He was killed as the result of a traffic accident that occurred in the Denver suburb of Lakewood on the evening of July 6, 1972 at about 3:25 PM. He had been en route to visit his wife at a Denver hospital. He was driving a camper van, lost control and crashed into a parked construction truck on the side of the road, causing his camper to roll onto its side, pinning him in the wreckage of his vehicle for a while before being taken to St. Anthony Hospital where he died at 7:20 PM of multiple injuries including a broken back, neck, and leg. He was not wearing a seat belt. De Wilde had been in the Denver area to co-star in the Elitch Theatre production of Butterflies Are Free, which ended July 1.
His son's name is Jesse.
Originally buried in Hollywood, California, but his parents later moved his remains to Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale, New York in Suffolk County, to be closer to their home in Long Island. Father, Frederick De Wilde died in 1980 and mother, Eugenia De Wilde died in 1987.
The son of a stage-manager father and actress mother. Made his stage debut at age seven in 492 performances of the Broadway hit, "The Member of the Wedding." He also became the first juvenile to win the Donaldson Award.
When he died he left behind one small son.