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John Anderson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (11)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 20 October 1922Clayton, Illinois, USA
Date of Death 7 August 1992Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameJohn Robert Anderson
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

A tall, sinewy, austere-looking character actor with silver hair, rugged features and a distinctive voice, John Robert Anderson left an impressive legacy of literally hundreds of film and TV credits. Immensely versatile, he was at his best submerging himself in the role of historical figures (he impersonated Abraham Lincoln three times and twice baseball commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, men whom he strongly resembled). He was a familiar presence in westerns and science-fiction serials, usually as upstanding, dignified and generally benign citizens (a rare exception was his Ebonite interrogator in The Outer Limits (1963) episode "Nightmare"). He had a high opinion of Rod Serling and was proud to be featured in four episodes of Twilight Zone (1959), most memorably as the tuxedo-clad angel Gabriel in "A Passage for Trumpet" (doing for Jack Klugman what Henry Travers did for James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)).

Known to other youths as 'J.R.', Anderson had a happy childhood, growing up first on a small farm near Clayton, Missouri, and then in the mid-sized town of Quincy where his mother operated a cigar stand. A rangy, outdoorsy type, he excelled at various sports, was a drum major, a member of the track team and the boy scouts. During World War II, he served in the Coast Guard, mainly involved in helping protect convoys from U-boat attacks. In 1946, he commenced studies at the University of Iowa, eventually graduating with a master's degree in drama. His acting career began on the riverboat 'Goldenrod' (now the oldest surviving Mississippi River Basin showboat in America) and proceeded from there to the Cleveland Playhouse for a year, then the New York stage and summer stock with parts in prestigious plays like "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" and "Home of the Brave". He also occasionally doubled up as a singer on Broadway ("Paint Your Wagon" (1951), "The Emperor's Clothes" (1953)).

Anderson began as a regular television actor during that medium's formative years. In the course of the next four decades, his appearance barely changing, he was consistently excellent wherever he popped up, be it as western lawmen (including a recurring role as Virgil Earp in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955)), as cops, governors, judges and army officers; hard-nosed oil executive Herbert Styles in Dallas (1978), or as kindly patriarch of the Hazard clan in North and South (1985). Though less traveled on the big screen, Anderson was particularly impressive as the furtive second-hand car dealer, 'California Charlie', in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), the ruthless leader of the renegades, Addis, in Day of the Evil Gun (1968) and, reprising his role as Lincoln, in The Lincoln Conspiracy (1977). One of the best all-rounders in the business, Anderson died of a heart attack at his home in Sherman Oaks in August 1992, aged 69.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (1)

Patricia Ann Cason (? - 18 February 1989) (her death) (2 children)

Trivia (11)

The first of his appearances on Gunsmoke (1955), in the episode "Buffalo Man", climaxed with a brutal fistfight between his character, Ben Siple, and James Arness' Marshal Matt Dillon. This action scene, from its build-up to its dénouement, would become the common sequence upon which generations of budding editors would cut their teeth in film school. This sequence also features Jack Klugman, who would later co-star with Anderson in the classic "A Passage for Trumpet" episode of Twilight Zone (1959). Shortly before his death, Anderson remarked that it was Klugman who informed him, many years after the filming of their Gunsmoke (1955) episode, that they had become legendary among film editors for their ubiquitous presence in student editing bays.
Bore a strong resemblance to President Abraham Lincoln and portrayed him three times. He also played presidents Andrew Jackson (twice) and Franklin Roosevelt (once).
Anderson had lost his own wife shortly before appearing in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) "The Survivors", and said that the subject matter made the role of Kevin Uxbridge one of the most difficult of his career. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion).
After his death in 1992, he was cremated and his ashes taken out to sea as part of his membership with the Neptune Society.
Served in the United States Coast Guard during World War II.
Spent a year at the Cleveland Playhouse before going to New York and Broadway.
Started his acting career on the Mississippi River showboat Goldenrod.
Received a master's degree in drama from the University of Iowa.
Twice played Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the Commissioner of Baseball from 1920 to 1944 brought in by the team owners to restore public confidence after the 1919 Black Sox scandal in 'Babe Ruth (1991)(TV movie)' and Eight Men Out (1988).
Shares last name with Richard Dean Anderson, and played the grandfather of MacGyver (1985). Despite this, there is no relation.
He guest starred in episodes of 3 different TV westerns as the former commander of a Civil War prison camp who was now trying to hide under an assumed name to escape his past. In Bonanza: The Fence (1969) and The Big Valley: The Guilt of Matt Bentell (1965) he was unaware of some of the deplorable conditions in his camp and was remorseful for what happened. However, on Cheyenne: Retaliation (1961) he was fully aware of the conditions and tried to eliminate anyone who discovered his true identity.

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