John Dall was an American actor born in New York City.
He is best remembered today for the part of the cool-minded intellectual killer in Alfred Hitchcock's Rope, but first came to fame as the young prodigy who comes alive under the tutelage of Bette Davis in The Corn is Green, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. He made a number of other films but worked primarily in theatre.
Rope was inspired by the notorious Leopold and Loeb murder case, Dall and co-star Farley Granger - also gay -were cast as two affluent young men who strangle an acquaintance merely as an intellectual challenge to commit the perfect murder.
Although the two men's sexuality is never made explicit in the film, the relationship between Granger's and Dall's characters has a strong homoerotic subtext, skilfully engineered by Hitchcock and his actors through staging, art direction, and nuance. 'It was just a thing assumed,' Granger said many years later of his character's homosexuality. 'Either you got it or you didn't.'
As the film's screenwriter, Arthur Laurents, who was Farley Granger's lover at the time, explained, 'There wasn't a word of dialogue that said [the two men] were lovers or homosexual, but there wasn't a scene between them where it wasn't clearly implied.'
After a long absence from the screen, Dall returned in 1960 to character roles in the costume dramas Spartacus (1960) and Atlantis, the Lost Continent (1961).
John Dall died in Los Angeles from a heart attack in 1971 aged 52.