Howard Draft

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Howard Draft (b. 1901, d. 1983) was a movie star in the NAL who who was renowned for playing "tough guy" roles. He was also famous as one of the husbands of actress Rosalie Garland.

Draft was born "Eric Wilmont" in the province of Kent, one of three children of a devoutly Catholic plumber. One of the many changes in his life was that he eventually converted to Mormonism in the late 1960s. Another of course was his name. Looking for work as a driver, he moved to Breuckelen in the early 1930s and was discovered by a talent agent who thought his rugged good looks could go far.

The slender but tough young man proved to be a natural, as demonstrated in his first film, The Petrified Jungle (1935), in which he played one of three escaped convicts who hold several people hostage in a diner. Critis unanimously praised Draft's performance as a psychopath. Apex Productions immediately responded by casting him as the lead in Crime Czar, one of his most famous roles. The title character is a gangster in Chicago who inspired terror in nearly everyone who meets him, but is curiously enough a devoted son to his saintly mother. Her death sends him on a violent rampage that results in his death. According to records kept by the CBI, this film was actually a favorite among real gangsters of the time.

For the next several years, Draft was largely typecast as an intense heavy, although he enjoyed it when he got to play other parts. During this period his own favorite film was The Sea Fox (1939), in which he played a turn-of-the-century pirate. Draft liked it because the background was so different and in this one he got to play a man genuinely in love.

It was soon after completing that film that he married for the second time. His first marriage with a high school sweetheart back in Kent had been troubled, and her death in childbirth led him to leave for Castreleon New in the first place. Now that he was successful, his daughter Millicent came to live with him. Draft had now begun dating an upcoming ingenue named Rosalie Garland. They fell in love and in early 1939 were married to great fanfare. The marriage was a stormy one, as Garland's mood-swings and insecurities clashed with Draft's stoicism. Yet they were there for each other, and Millicent always claimed they were very deeply in love.

During the Second Great War Draft enlisted in the Continental Army and rose to the rank of Major. He was part of the Commonweath Expeditionary Force that helped accomplish the final liberation of France from Prussia. Contrary to his rough image, Draft learned to speak French fluently. He was cast in several films and television programs in Louisianne and New Francy during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Following the war, his career was no longer as meteoric, but he worked steadily in a variety of projects. He always claimed not to mind being "less" of a movie star than his increasingly glamourous wife. Certainly, he was almost never out of work and only rarely appeared in low-budget films (usually because he liked the script or director).

During the 1960s he played a hard-bitten investigator in the NAL television program C.B.I. - The Series. He thought it very amusing, given how his career began.

As age caught up with him, he worked less and less. He more-or-less retired by 1975, making a few guest appearances as his increasingly frail health allowed. He died of lung cancer in his home in 1983.

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