Basehart's last work as an actor was doing the voice-over for the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The day after finishing the recording he suffered the first of a series of fatal strokes.
Best remembered by the public for his starring role as Admiral Nelson in "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1964).
During the filming of Fourteen Hours (1951), Basehart's wife Stephanie was taken ill with what proved to be a brain tumor, and died very suddenly. Devastated, he finished work on the film. He started a new film, The House on Telegraph Hill (1951) in San Francisco where he met Valentina Cortese, who was to become his next wife.
Father of Jackie Basehart.
Father of Make-Up Artist Gayla Basehart.
He and his wife Diana were the founders of the organization, Actors and Others for Animals, in 1971. They had been driving on a freeway and were appalled when someone threw a dog onto the freeway from a vehicle in front of them. It was too late for that animal, but they vowed to make things different in the future for others.
In the televised play Valley Forge (1975) (TV), Basehart played George Washington, and his arch-enemy General Howe was played by actor Harry Andrews. Andrews had previously played Stubb, the first mate, in the film version of Moby Dick (1956), in which Basehart had played Ishmael.
In the television version of The Paradine Case (1962) (TV), Basehart played the same role that Gregory Peck had played in the film version. Peck and Basehart had both appeared in the film Moby Dick (1956).
On asking Federico Fellini as to why Fellini wanted him for the role of the Fool in La Strada (1954), Fellini answered: "Because if you did what you did in Fourteen Hours (1951), you can do anything.".
Was occasionally mentioned during the host segments on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (1988) as the object of Gypsy's obsession.
Was understandably distraught when his second wife (Italian actress Valentina Cortese) left him and moved back to Italy with their young son. Close friend Warren Stevens, concerned for Basehart's well-being, got him an apartment adjoining his own. For months Basehart had a standing phone call in to Italy, but Valentina never answered it. When Basehart finally filed for divorce Stevens was on hand to serve as his witness.
When he heard that that director Bretaigne Windust wanted an authentic Scotsman for the lead role in the Broadway production "The Hasty Heart", Basehart managed to effect a very convincing burr and won the part. For his portrayal of Cpl. MacLachlan, Basehart also went on to win the 1945 New York Critic's Award as the most promising actor of the year.