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Ron Hargrave was born in New York in 1930 and was the son of vaudeville performers. At age six, he moved with his family to California, where he eventually aspired to a career in movies. In his early twenties, he began doing stunt work and getting bit roles in movies -- including 20th Century Fox's Vicki, a remake of I Wake Up Screaming -- and television, but his big break didn't come until he was drafted. While serving in uniform, he crossed paths with comic Lou Costello, who decided to take over managing Hargrave's career once he was back in civilian life. After a string of uncredited bit parts, he finally got a featured role, in the final Abbott & Costello film, Dance With Me, Henry (1956), playing Ernie, a ukulele-toting hipster who is always annoying the character played by Costello -- this gave him some very funny scenes with the two comedians and some good musical performance bits as well. Hargrave was later signed to MGM Records and recorded a handful of unsuccessful singles; much more significant was his work while on the MGM lot as a songwriter on the title tune from the movie High School Confidential, which was shot at MGM; Jerry Lee Lewis was seen singing and playing the song from the back of a flatbed truck in one of the most famous opening credit sequences in history, and one of Lewis' most oft-compiled movie scenes. The movie proved the high-point of Hargrave's songwriting career, and his movie career only lasted until 1960, his last big-screen appearance coming in 1960, as a Hawaiian singer in Mervyn LeRoy's comedy Wake Me When It's Over. His music career lasted into the late '60s.
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