According to an article in Flying Magazine, when the government began licensing flight instructors, Bob Cummings received flight instructor certificate number "1", the first instructor to receive a license.
You can accomplish anything you want, if you act as if it were already accomplished. Know what you want, where you are going. But don't tell anyone what you're constructing.
-- Robert Cummings
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Robert Cummings
Charles Clarence Robert Orville Cummings
10 June 1910, Joplin, Missouri
2 December 1990, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
Charles Clarence Robert Orville Cummings (June 9, 1910 – December 2, 1990), mostly known professionally as Robert Cummings but sometimes as Bob Cummings, was an American motion picture and television actor.

Cummings performed mainly in comedies, but was effective in his few dramas, especially two Alfred Hitchcock films, Saboteur (1942) and Dial M for Murder (1954).
Bob Cummings was born in Joplin, Missouri, a son of Dr. Charles Clarence Cummings and his wife Ruth Annabelle Kraft. His father was a surgeon, who was part of the original medical staff of St. John's Hospital in Joplin. He was the founder of the Jasper County Tuberculosis Hospital in Webb City, Missouri. Cummings' mother was an ordained minister of the Science of Mind.

While attending Joplin High School, Cummings was taught to fly by his godfather, Orville Wright. During high school Cummings would give Joplin residents rides in his plane for $5 per person. When the government began licensing flight instructors, Cummings was issued flight instructor certificate number 1, making him the first official flight instructor in the US.

Cummings studied briefly at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, but his love of flying caused him to transfer to the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied aeronautical engineering for a year before being forced to drop out for financial reasons, his family having lost heavily in the 1929 stock market crash. Since the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City paid its male actors $14 a week, Cummings decided to study there.

He studied drama for two years before appearing in Broadway in 1931. As British actors were heavily in demand, Cummings traveled to England and learned to mimic an upper-class English accent. He had a brief career on Broadway under the name Blade Stanhope Conway, posing as an Englishman.

In 1933, he met and married his second wife, Vivian Janis. They were both appearing in the Ziegfeld Follies, with Cummings as the male lead opposite comedian, Fanny Brice. In 1934, he moved to Hollywood, where he acted at first under the name Bruce Hutchens, assuming the persona of a wealthy Texan. He made his film debut the following year in The Virginia Judge.

Cummings then decided to use his own name, acting throughout the 1930s as a contract player in a number of supporting roles.
He achieved stardom in 1939 in Three Smart Girls Grow Up, opposite Deanna Durbin. His many film comedies include: The Devil and Miss Jones (1941) with Jean Arthur, and The Bride Wore Boots (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck. Cummings gave memorable performances in three notable dramas: Kings Row (1942) with friend Ronald Reagan, Saboteur (1942) with Priscilla Lane and Norman Lloyd, and Dial M for Murder (1954), with Grace Kelly and Ray Milland. Cummings also starred in You Came Along (1945), which featured a screenplay by Ayn Rand. The Army Air Forces pilot Cummings played ("Bob Collins") died off camera, but was resurrected ten years later for his television show.

Cummings was chosen by producer John Wayne as his co-star to play airline pilot Captain Sullivan in The High and the Mighty, partly due to Cummings's flying experience. However, director William A. Wellman overruled Wayne and hired Robert Stack for the part.

In 1979 Cummings made his mark in the CBS Radio network's dramatic serial entitled Those We Love, which ran from 1938 to 1945. Cummings played the role of David Adair, opposite Richard Cromwell, Francis X. Bushman, and Nan Grey.

In November 1942, Cummings joined the United States Army Air Corps. During the war he served as a flight instructor. Cummings had worked as a flight instructor for many years prior to the war. He was, in fact, the first certified flight instructor in the United States, having gained certification in 1938. After the war, Cummings served as a pilot in the United States Air Force Reserve.

Cummings began a long career on television in 1952, starring in the comedy My Hero. He received an Emmy award for his portrayal of "Juror Number Eight," in the first televised performance of Twelve Angry Men, a live production which aired in 1954 (Henry Fonda played the same role in the feature film adaptation).

From 1955 through 1959, Cummings starred on a successful NBC sitcom, The Bob Cummings Show (known as Love That Bob in reruns), in which he played Bob Collins, an ex-World War II pilot who became a successful professional photographer, and as a bachelor in 1950's Los Angeles, thought himself to be quite the ladies' man. This sitcom was noted for some very risque humor for its time. His co-stars were Rosemary DeCamp, as his sister, Margaret MacDonald, and Dwayne Hickman, as his nephew, Chuck MacDonald. Cummings also was a guest on the NBC interview program Here's Hollywood. He also made an appearance at Disneyland's grand opening on July 17, 1955.

In 1960, Cummings starred in "King Nine Will Not Return," the opening episode of the second season of The Twilight Zone.

The New Bob Cummings Show followed on CBS for one season, from 1961 to 1962. He also starred one season in My Living Doll which co-stars Julie Newmar as Rhoda the robot (1964), another CBS sitcom. His last significant role was the 1973 TV movie Partners in Crime, co-starring Lee Grant. He also appeared as Gopher's dad Eliott Smith on The Love Boat in 1979.

Cummings married five times and fathered seven children. He was a staunch advocate of natural foods and a healthy diet and authored a book, Stay Young and Vital in 1960, on health foods and exercise.

Cummings' son, Tony Cummings, played Rick Halloway in the daytime serial Another World in the early 1980s.

On December 2, 1990, Cummings died of kidney failure and complications from pneumonia at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. He was interred in the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.
In dramatic films he was billed in the credits as Robert Cummings; in lighter fare, often as Bob Cummings.

Graduated from Joplin High School [1928]

During WWII, as a pilot, Cummings was once stationed at Oxnard, California.

Interred at Forest Lawn (Glendale), Glendale, California, USA, in the Great Mausoleum, Columbarium of Sanctity.

Godson of Orville Wright, an old family friend, who also taught him to fly. He piloted his own plane most of his life.

Not only was he a health food fanatic, but he often carried a small suitcase with him full of vitamin pills.

Chosen by producer John Wayne as his co-star in The High and the Mighty (1954), though director William A. Wellman replaced him with Robert Stack.

Was accused by his estranged wife, Mary Elliott, of using the drug methedrine or "speed" and carrying on an international affair with his former secretary. [29 October 1969].

Just before his death, he was also suffering from Parkinson's disease.

His "The Bob Cummings Show" (1955) co-star, Dwayne Hickman, was said to be a huge fan of Cummings's movies, as a little boy of the 1940s.

His second series "The Bob Cummings Show" (1961) was canceled, because it was too expensive.

His father thought he wanted to name him Robert Orville Cummings, after his godson, when his mother was actually against it. After looking at Robert Jr.'s birth certificate, she wanted to christened him, Charles Clarence Cummings Jr., after his father, before Charles legally changed his name to Robert.

Was best/good friends with: Julie Bishop, Ray Milland, Art Linkletter, Ronald Reagan, Charles Coburn and Raymond Burr.

Before he was a successful actor, he was an Air Force officer, while he was a senior in high school.

His father, Dr. Charles Clarence Cummings, Sr., was a surgeon, who was part of the original medical staff of St. John's Hospital in Joplin. He was the founder of the Jasper County Tuberculosis Hospital in Webb City, Missouri, his mother, Ruth Annabelle Kraft, was an ordained minister of the Science of Mind.

Best remembered by the public for his starring role as photographer Bob Collins on "The Bob Cummings Show" (1955).

Remained good friends with Ann B. Davis and Dwayne Hickman, during and after "The Bob Cummings Show" (1955).

Moved to Los Angeles in 1935, and broke into films by faking a southern drawl and presenting himself as Brice Hutchens, a Texan.

On Broadway, he obtained roles by faking a British accent and introducing himself as Blade Stanhope Conway, an Englishman.

On "The Bob Cummings Show" (1955), he played a studio photographer who photographed, and went out with the world's most beautiful models, in real-life, he wasn't a bachelor.

Had his 80th birthday party, just 6 months before his death.

Just before his death, he joined Art Linkletter and former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, at the 35th Anniversary Celebration of Disneyland, reprising their appearances, when the amusement park was first opened.

He had 7 hobbies: flying, partying, golfing, photography, jogging, swimming and spending time with his family.

Studied briefly at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, but his love of flying caused him to transfer to the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied aeronautical engineering for a year before being forced to drop out for financial reasons, his family having lost heavily in the 1929 stock market crash.

Met his second wife, Vivian Janis, in the Broadway play Ziegfeld Follies.

Had appeared on a successful radio serial, Those We Love, from 1938 to 1945, opposite Richard Cromwell, Francis X. Bushman and Nan Grey.

Was among the first guests at Disneyland's grand opening in 1955.

In 1942, he joined the United States Army Air Forces. He worked as an instructor for many years, prior to that, and was also the first flight instructor in the United States, having gained certification in 1938.

Began his contract career for Paramount in 1935.

His "The Bob Cummings Show" (1955) co-star, Dwayne Hickman went to the parade with him, for a benefit show in Cummings' hometown of Joplin, Missouri.

Beginning in 1946, he served as Executive Producer of United World Productions.

Owned a hobby hardware store in Beverly Hills, California.

Before being a successful actor on television, he also taught other young men how to fly.

Son Tony Cummings is a former soap actor. He was best known for playing Rick Halloway on "Another World" (1964) in 1981.
[on his lifelong devotion to healthy eating]: I'd love to tell all those critics how well I feel today because of my diet. But they're all dead.

The girls have it easy, everything they wear in pictures is suppled by the studio- their dress, stockings, shoes, underwear, jewelry, hair, even their falsies. They could arrive at the studio naked, if they cared to. But the actor has to pay for everything himself. He even has to bring his own toupee, if he wears one.

I had to have a sharp wardrobe and a fancy car and foot the bill at the night clubs. And my date, who was earning 10 times as much as I was, would brag about how she borrowed her dress and furs from the studio.

[on his complaint that none of the actor's wardrobe, theoretically is part of the tools of his job is tax deductible]: Every year, I used to take my clothes and still photos from my pictures to the post office building in Hollywood. I would explain to the income tax people how I used which suit in which picture. This year, they decided clothes weren't deductible, even though I have to dress well in my job.

[In 1949]: I figure producers are paying me a lot of money and I ought to dress well.

[When he was involved in a couple of business enterprises that described him as 'pratically catastrophic']: As an actor, when he's working, ceases to be a part of the world. He's on a sound stage from early morning till night. He loses track of what goes on outside. Elaborate practical matters, like having his car filled with gas, confuse him. Nothing exist but his own tight little corner. That's when he's working, I say. Of course, when he's not working, he's not an actor. He's a bum. So someone has to take care of the other part, and it has to be someone you can trust.

[When asked if he was downhearted by the cancellation of "The Bob Cummings Show" (1961)]: No, we knew, by about the 15th show, that we had too much, that it was too expensive to do a full adventure show in a half-hour, and with airplanes.

[Who said in 1962 about doing a play]: The main thing is to stay active, even if you are very bad. After all, an actor is a commodity. The things that are really important for him are his health he has to be able to deliver the body, a knowledge of the law [there are so many loopholes in contracts] and last, I'm afraid, ability.

[When he said in 1964 about starring in a show with Julie Newmar]: This is probably the most difficult role ever played by an actress. The character, if that's what you call it, she plays has no thoughts, no emotions, no desires, no ethics, no social conscience. It is very difficult because she cannot instigate anything and she cannot feel anything. She must divorce herself completely from her ego, which is the hardest thing in the world to do.

[When he was officially given birth on June 9]: Dad delivered me and mother christened me an hour later, but dad to name me after a cousin of mine, Orville Wright ... who was my godfather, dad has cured him of diverticulitis, ptomaine, barber's itch in 1909, when my mother was carrying me. Must be why I like to fly. I'll have been flying 44 years next March.

[In 1970]: I was born during the first month birth certificates were issued in Missouri and my dad wrote Robert Orville Cummings on the name line because that's what he'd decided to name me. Then mother looked at the birth certificate afterwards and said, 'No, no, we talked about that, but we're going to name him after his father, 'Charles Clarence Cummings, Jr.' So she took a pencil and scratched through the Robert Orville and added Charles Clarence. She didn't leave any room for the surgical nurse so Sister Mary Alfonsas had to sign her name right under it ... she was a food-nut nun my dad got started on health food and is over 100-years-old today.

[on the breakup of his first marriage]: I was accused of being a vitamin addict, of eating 40 or 50 tablets a day. I said, 'That's a dastardly lie, I take 140!

[In 1972]: It was my dad's theory that nature usually knows best. It isn't so much what you eat as what you don't get when you eat.

[on people who do not recognize him everytime he walks by]: I've signed everything anybody ever handed to me, wet paper napkins, beach balls ... When you're the star of a show, you're on the go all day at TV programs, interviews, public appearances. We didn't get in from Orlando until 4 A.M. Thursday. The driver got lost and we spent two hours driving around. Then the storm and rain woke us up at 2 P.M. I haven't had time to eat breakfast yet and the show stars in a few hours.

Unwind! Unwind from that? If the play closed tomorrow, it wouldn't ruin Bob Cummings. These people who claim they have to unwind by going somewhere and having a few drinks and losing a lot of sleep are crazy. It's a job. The curtain closes and you walk off the stage.

[When responded as to why he didn't want to go back to Hollywood]: No, I wouldn't go back to California. I'm too old for that. Besides, the air there would kill me.

[In 1978]: I've been in this business 50 years and I'm a nervous wreck! I'm getting too old for all this excitement. I've already lost 8 lbs. from running around the stage. I'll just have to pray to St. Jude and I'm not even Catholic.

It's a hard life. Much harder than it looks. It can get to be lonely and frustrating. People have this idea of what luxury a star must have. Some towns are terrible.

I always take my family with me. I'd die without them!

[When his eyes lit up when he speaks of his delightful 'Gee-Gee']: I just love my wife! She's brilliant! Half my age and twice as smart.

If I have a problem I get expert counsel, then ask the opinion of a good psychic.



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