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Claude Akins Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (21) | Personal Quotes (6) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Nelson, Georgia, USA
Died in Altadena, California, USA  (cancer)
Birth NameClaude Marion Akins
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Broad-shouldered and beefy Claude Akins had wavy black hair, a deep booming voice and was equally adept at playing sneering cowardly villains as he was at portraying hard-nosed cops. The son of a police officer, Akins never seemed short of work and appeared in nearly 100 films and 180+ TV episodes in a career spanning over 40 years. He originally attended Northwestern University, and went on to serve with the US Army Signal Corps in World War II in Burma and the Phillipines. Upon returning, he reignited his interest in art and drama and first appeared in front of the camera in 1953 in From Here to Eternity (1953). He quickly began notching up roles in such TV shows as Dragnet (1951), My Friend Flicka (1955), Gunsmoke (1955) and Zane Grey Theater (1956). He also turned in several strong cinematic performances, such as gunfighter Joe Burdette in the landmark western Rio Bravo (1959), Mack in the excellent The Defiant Ones (1958), Sgt. Kolwicz in Merrill's Marauders (1962) and Earl Sylvester in the gripping The Killers (1964). In the early 1970s Akins turned up in several supernatural TV films playing "no-nonsense" sheriffs in both The Night Stalker (1972) and The Norliss Tapes (1973), and was unrecognizable underneath his simian make-up as war-mongering Gen. Aldo in Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973). Akins continued starring in films and TV right up until the time of his death from cancer in 1994. By all reports a very gregarious, likable and friendly person off screen, Akins was married for over 40 years to Theresa "Pie" Fairfield, and had three children, Claude Marion Jr., Michele & Wendy.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44

Spouse (1)

Theresa Fairfield (25 August 1952 - 27 January 1994) (his death) (3 children)

Trivia (21)

Graduate of Northwestern University.
A lifelong golfer, he played in a lot of pro-am golf tournaments for various charities right up until his death, including the Vantage Championship Pro-Am at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, North Carolina, in the early 1990s. He was a close friend and golfing partner of another golf fanatic and veteran movie heavy, Robert J. Wilke.
He was always very friendly to everyone and was very gracious in signing every autograph request.
He has an entry in Jean Tulard's "Dictionnaire du cinéma/Les acteurs" published in Paris in 2007 by Robert Laffont/Bouquins, pg. 17 (ISBN: 978-2-221-10895-6).
Those who remember him for the many villains he played, especially early in his career, might be surprised to know that his father was a police officer in Claude's home town of Bedford, Indiana.
Played chess with his friend, William Windom.
Served as a Master Sergeant in the US Army Signal Corps during World War II.
During the 1980's and 90's Claude Akins did many television commercials as the spokesmen for AAMCO transmission, with the slogan "Double A, [honk, honk], M, C, O".
Invested well in later years in a shopping center in the San Fernando Valley and in a 69-house development in Vista, California.
Made his Broadway debut in a small, uncredited role in "The Rose Tattoo" in 1951, and is not listed in ibdb.com for any roles on Broadway.
Majored in speech and theater at Northwestern University.
Trained at the Barter Theater in Abingdon, Virginia in the late 1940s and toured in such shows as "The Hasty Heart" and "The Comedy of Errors".
First performed at the age of 5 in a church play in which he played a bird.
Father Ernest was a former stonecutter who later became a policeman; his mother's name was Maude. He had an older sister named Hazel. The family moved from his native Nelson, Georgia to Bedford, Indiana when Claude was six months old.
Before acting he was a limestone salesman.
Claude Akins lost his bid to be elected President of the Screen Actors Guild in 1975. The winner was Kathy Nolan (The Real McCoys).
Appeared with Sidney Poitier in two films, "Porgy and Bess" and "The Defiant Ones".
Appeared with Andy Griffith in "Onionhead: and "Matlock: The Thoroughbred".
Appeared with From Here to Eternity (1953) co-star George Reeves in Adventures of Superman: Peril by Sea (1956) in 1956.
Appeared with his Movin' On (1972) costar, Frank Converse in Killer on Board (1977).
Although not known as a singer, he co-hosted the 15th Academy of Country Music Awards in the year he was appearing as Sheriff Lobo.

He also sang in an episode of Movin' On.

Personal Quotes (6)

Between the war movies I've been in and the heavies I've played, I have about 1,000 dead behind me. I've been killed a good many times, but I took a lot of guys with me.
I was very fortunate that I get paid for what I love to do. I know a lot of good actors who simply can't find work. Every time I get a job, I say to myself, 'You've beaten the odds.'
[on his role in From Here to Eternity (1953)] My first scene on film was where I walk into the office and report Private Prewitt absent to Sergeant Warden, played by Burt Lancaster -- and I was scared to death. Burt was one of the big stars of that era, but still very nice. Fred Zinnemann, the director, was extremely patient and understanding. And somehow I got through it. My panic has always been the time right up to the end of my first scene. Once that first shot is in the can, I'm home free.
A guy who looks like Robert Redford will most often be cast as a hero. A guy like me or Ernie Borgnine plays a lot of heavies. If you're big, they think you're tough. And if you're tough, they think you're dumb.
Hell, acting is acting, whether it's for the movies, TV or the stage,
I feel like an outsider in a business I have been a part of for 37 years. For some reason, Hollywood's mainstream has eluded me.

Salary (1)

The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (1979) $50,000 per 1 hour episode

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