As one of Hollywood's leading men, Bruce Boxleitner has starred in a major motion picture franchise, numerous feature films, several popular television series, produced a major network film and TV series, performed on Broadway, and authored two science fiction novels.
Boxleitner received his formal acting training on stage. A native mid-westerner, he is an alumnus of Chicago's prestigious Goodman Theatre. In 1972, he starred in the Broadway production of Status Quo Vadis with Ted Danson. He then relocated to Los Angeles and quickly landed a guest spot on the legendary TV series The Mary Tyler Moore Show as well as numerous guest roles on series, including Hawaii 5-0, Beretta, Police Woman, and Gunsmoke.
Boxleitner's big break occurred when he was cast opposite James Arness in the pilot for the epic TV series How the West Was Won. He went on to star in the CBS series Bring 'em Back Alive; mini-series East of Eden; and TV movie The Last Convertible.
In 1982, Boxleitner was cast as the title role in Disney's cult film TRON which garnered him science fiction fans worldwide. However, it was in Boxleitner's four-year run for CBS's 'Scarecrow and Mrs. King', starring opposite Kate Jackson, which endeared him to fans everywhere and made him a household name. In 1994, Boxleitner joined the cast of the popular TV series Babylon 5 as John Sheridan, President of the Interstellar Alliance, a war hero-turned-diplomat at the helm of Earth Alliance Space Station in the year 2259. The show aired for five seasons.
Boxleitner most recently starred with Jeff Bridges in TRON: Legacy, the popular motion picture sequel to TRON. The cast includes Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde. In addition, Boxleitner reprised his role in TRON: Uprising on Disney's XD TV network, his first animated TV series. The multi-talented cast includes Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore, Lance Henriksen, and Paul Reubens. The original TRON recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Several motion pictures include Gods and Generals with Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels, Stephen Lang and Mira Sorvino; The Babe with John Goodman and Kelly McGillis; Kuffs with Christian Slater; and The Baltimore Bullet with James Coburn.
Numerous TV movie credits include The Secret with Kirk Douglas; Perfect Family with Jennifer O'Neal and Joanna Cassidy; Double Jeopardy with Rachel Ward, Sally Kirkland and Sela Ward; Passion Flower with Barbara Hershey and Nicol Williamson; and Hallmark Channel movies, 'Love's Resounding Courage' and 'Falling in Love with the Girl Next Door'; among many others. The veteran actor has appeared in numerous recurring roles on TV series including GCB and Heroes, and has guest-starred on NCIS and Chuck, among others.
A skilled horseman, Boxleitner utilized his talents in numerous Western TV series and films including Kenny Rogers television movie series that aired on CBS and NBC, starring opposite Kenny Rogers; 'Gunsmoke V: One Man's Justice' with James Arness (Arness' final film); CBS' remake of Red River with Gregory Harrison, James Arness and Laura Johnson; 'Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone' with Hugh O'Brian; and Down the Long Hills, based on legendary western author Louis L'Amour's novel of the same name.
Boxleitner was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in April 2012 honoring him for his illustrious career in western films. He is a two-time recipient of the Wrangler Award.
In 2013, Boxleitner co-starred with Andie MacDowell and Dylan Neal in Hallmark Channel's first-ever prime-time series, Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove to rave reviews and an average of 2 million viewers. The #1 rated cable program was renewed for a third season and is scheduled to premiere in the summer of 2015.
In 1999, Boxleitner authored "Frontier Earth" and in 2001, its sequel "Frontier Earth: Searcher", published by The Berkley Publishing Group. Bruce Boxleitner resides in Los Angeles with his wife, publicist Verena King, and has three sons: Sam, Lee and Michael.
American leading man famed as the star of one of the longest-running shows in U.S. television history, Gunsmoke. Born of Norwegian heritage (the family name, Aurness, had formerly been Aursness) in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Rolf and Ruth Duesler Aurness. His father was a traveling salesman of medical supplies and his mother later became a newspaper columnist. James attended West High School in Minneapolis. Although he appeared in school plays, he had no interest in performing, and dreamed instead of going to sea. After high school, he attended one semester at Beloit College before receiving his draft notice in 1943. He entered the army and trained at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, before shipping out for North Africa. After landing at Casablanca, Arness joined the 3rd Infantry Division in time for the invasion of Anzio. Ten days after the invasion, Arness was severely wounded in the leg and foot by German machine-gun fire. His wounds, which plagued him the rest of his life, resulted in his medical discharge from the army. While recuperating in a Clinton, Iowa hospital, he was visited by his younger brother Peter (later to gain fame as actor Peter Graves), who suggested he take a radio course at the University of Minnesota. James did so, and a teacher recommended him for a job as an announcer at a Minneapolis radio station. Though seemingly headed for success in radio, he followed a boyhood friend's suggestion and went with the friend to Hollywood in hopes of getting work as film extras. He studied at the Bliss-Hayden Theatre School under actor Harry Hayden, and while appearing in a play there was spotted by agent Leon Lance. Lance got the actor a role as Loretta Young's brother in The Farmer's Daughter. The director of that film, H.C. Potter, recommended that he drop the "u" from his last name and soon thereafter the actor was officially known as James Arness. Little work followed this break, and Arness became something of a beach bum, living on the shore at San Onofre and spending his days surfing. He began taking his acting career more seriously when he began to receive fan mail following the release of the Young picture. He appeared in a production of "Candida" at the Pasadena Community Playhouse, and married his leading lady, Virginia Chapman. She pressed him to study acting and to work harder in pursuit of a career, but Arness has been consistent in ascribing his success to luck. He began to get small roles with frequency, often, due to his size, villainous characters. Most notable among these was that of the space alien in The Thing from Another World. While playing a Greek warrior in a play, Arness was spotted by agent Charles K. Feldman, who represented John Wayne. Feldman introduced Arness to Wayne, who put the self-described 6' 6" actor under personal contract. Arness played several roles over the next few years for and with Wayne, whom he considered a mentor. In 1955, Wayne recommended Arness for the lead role of Matt Dillon in the TV series Gunsmoke. (Contrary to urban legend, Wayne himself was never offered the role.) Arness at first declined, thinking a TV series could derail his growing film career, but Wayne argued for the show, and Arness accepted. His portrayal of stalwart marshal Dillon became an iconic figure in American television and the series, on the air for twenty seasons, is, as of 2008, the longest-running dramatic series in U.S. television history. Arness became world-famous and years later reprised the character in a series of TV movies. After the surprising cancellation of "Gunsmoke" in 1975, Arness jumped immediately into another successful (though much shorter-lived) Western project, a TV-movie-miniseries-series combination known as "How The West Was Won." A brief modern police drama, McClain's Law, followed, and Arness played his mentor John Wayne's role in Red River, a remake of the Wayne classic. Following the aforementioned "Gunsmoke" TV movies (the last in 1994, when Arness was 71), Arness basically retired. His marriage to Virginia Chapman ended in divorce in 1960. They had three children together, one of whom, Jenny Lee, died a suicide in 1975. Arness subsequently married Janet Surtrees in 1978.
Best recalled as the eldest son and first member of the "Bonanza" Cartwright clan to permanently leave the Ponderosa in the hopes of greener acting pastures, dark, deep-voiced and durably handsome Pernell Roberts' native roots lay in Georgia. Born Pernell Elvin Roberts, Jr. on May 18, 1928, in North Carolina and moved to Waycross as an infant, he was singing in local USO shows while still in high school (where he appeared in plays and played the horn). He attended both Georgia Tech and the University of Maryland but flunked out of both colleges, with a two-year stint as a Marine stuck somewhere in between. He eventually decided to give acting a chance and supported himself as a butcher, forest ranger, and railroad riveter during the lean years while pursuing his craft.
On stage from the early 1950s, he gained experience in such productions as "The Adding Machine," "The Firebrand" and "Faith of Our Fathers" before spending a couple of years performing the classics with the renowned Arena Stage Company in Washington, DC. Productions there included "The Taming of the Shrew" (as Petruchio), "The Playboy of the Western Word," "The Glass Menagerie," "The Importance of Being Earnest," and "Twelfth Night." He made his Broadway debut in 1955 with "Tonight in Samarkind" and that same year won the "Best Actor" Drama Desk Award for his off-Broadway performance as "Macbeth," which was immediately followed by "Romeo and Juliet" as Mercutio. Other Broadway plays include "The Lovers" (1956) with Joanne Woodward, "A Clearing in the Woods" (1957) with Kim Stanley, a return to Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" (1957) and "The Duchess of Malfi" (1957). He returned to Broadway fifteen years later as the title role opposite Ingrid Bergman in "Captain Brassbound's Conversion" (1972).
Pernell then headed for Hollywood and found minor roles in films before landing the pivotal role of Ben Cartwright's oldest and best-educated son Adam in the Bonanza series in 1959. The series made Roberts a bona fide TV star, while the program itself became the second longest-running TV western (after "Gunsmoke") and first to be filmed in color. At the peak of his and the TV show's popularity, Pernell, displeased with the writing and direction of the show, suddenly elected not to renew his contract and left at the end of the 1964-1965 season to the utter dismay of his fans. The show continued successfully without him, but a gap was always felt in the Cartwright family by this abrupt departure. The story line continued to leave open the possibility of a return if desired, but Pernell never did.
With his newfound freedom, Roberts focused on singing and the musical stage. One solo album was filled with folks songs entitled "Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies." Besides such standard roles in "Camelot" and "The King and I," he starred as Rhett Butler to Lesley Ann Warren's Scarlett O'Hara in a musical version of "Gone with the Wind" that did not fare well, and appeared in another misguided musical production based on the life of "Mata Hari." During this period he became an avid civil rights activist and joined other stalwarts such as Dick Gregory, Joan Baez and Harry Belafonte who took part in civil rights demonstrations during the 60s, including the Selma March.
The following years were rocky. He never found a solid footing in films with roles in rugged, foreign films such as The Kashmiri Run [The Kashmiri Run], Four Rode Out, making little impression. He maintained a viable presence in TV, however, with parts in large-scale mini-series and guest shots on TV helping to keep some momentum. In 1979 he finally won another long-running series role (and an Emmy nomination) as Trapper John, M.D. in which he recreated the Wayne Rogers TV M*A*S*H role. Pernell was now heavier, bearded and pretty close to bald at this juncture (he was already wearing a toupee during his early "Bonanza" years), but still quite virile and attractive. The medical drama co-starring Gregory Harrison ran seven seasons.
The natural-born Georgia rebel was a heavily principled man and spent a life-time of work fighting racism, segregation, and sexism, notably on TV. He was constantly at odds with the "Bonanza" series writers of his concerns regarding equality. He also kept his private life private. Married and divorced three times, he had one son, Jonathan Christopher, by first wife Vera. Jonathan was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1989. In the 1990s, Pernell starred in his last series as host of FBI: The Untold Stories. It had a short life-span.
Retiring in the late 1990s, Roberts was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and died about two years later at age 81 on January 24, 2010, survived by fourth wife Eleanor Criswell. As such, the rugged actor, who never regretted leaving the "Bonanza" series, managed to outlive the entire Cartwright clan (Dan Blocker died in 1972; Lorne Greene in 1987); and Michael Landon in 1991).
As a child she studied at Seattle's Cornish School. Still in her early twenties, after several years of stock work in New York, she joined Eva Le Gallienne's Civic Repertory Theater where she won critical praise for her title role in "Alice in Wonderland." She came to Hollywood in 1934 under contract with Warners, debuting in "Happiness Ahead". She co-starred with Paul Muni in "The Story of Louis Pasteur" (1936) and played in many small roles, both in films - e.g., the phoney U.N. ambassador's wife in North by Northwest - and television ("Twilight Zone, " "Gunsmoke", "Perry Mason") in the 'fifties and 'sixties. She died at Manhattan's Florence Nightingale Nursing Home, aged 94.
He also did the series McCloud in the 70's playing as a New Mexico police officer who moved to New York city and joined the police force as a detective.He played as Sam McCloud. A detective in Taos, New Mexico.The series ended in 1977. Much unlike the character Chester that he played in Gunsmoke.
Scrappy, plucky-looking Kentucky-born Tommy Kirk, who was born on December 10, 1941, became synonymous with everything clean and fun that Disney Entertainment prescribed to in the late 1950s and very early 1960s. One of four sons born to a mechanic and legal secretary, the Kirk family, in search of better job prospects, moved from Louisville to Downey, California while Tommy was still an infant. The boy's interest in acting was ignited at the age of 13 years when he (instead of older brother Joe) was cast in a minor role in a production of Will Rogers Jr. and Bobby Driscoll in a production of Eugene O'Neill's "Ah, Wilderness!" at the Pasadena Playhouse. Discovered by a Hollywood agent who saw him and signed him up, Tommy went on to appear in two other Pasadena theatre plays, Portrait in Black" and "Barefoot in Athens" and on TV ("Lux Video Theatre, "Frontier," "Big Town," "Gunsmoke" and "The Loretta Young Show") and film (Down Liberty Road and The Peacemaker). It was an episode of "Matinee Theatre" that brought the freshly-scrubbed All-American kid to the attention of mogul Walt Disney who quickly signed him to a long-term contract.
In 1955, the lad became a member of the The Mickey Mouse Club TV series and won a legion of young fans as the brush-cut haired, irrepressibly inquisitive young sleuth Joe Hardy in two "Hardy Boys" serials ("The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure," "The Mystery of the Ghost Farm") with Tim Considine, another young promising Disney staple, playing older brother Frank. With time Tommy became a prime juvenile Disney hero and ideal mischief maker for many of the studio's full-length comedy and drama classics, earning nationwide teen idol status for his exuberant work in Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog, Swiss Family Robinson, The Absent Minded Professor, Babes in Toyland, Bon Voyage!, Moon Pilot, Son of Flubber and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones.
In 1963 the bubble completely burst when the Disney factory found out 21-year-old Tommy was gay. He was also arrested on Christmas Eve in 1964 when a party he was attending was raided and busted for marijuana use. Although charges were dropped, it was too late. Fired from his role in the John Wayne western The Sons of Katie Elder as a result, the Disney studio, out of protection, was forced to release him from his contract, but not after rehiring him one more time to complete a "Merlin Jones" movie sequel entitled The Monkey's Uncle).
Tommy found very mild restitution aftersigning with AIP (American International Pictures) and appearing in such popular teen-oriented flicks as Pajama Party, co-starring fellow Disney cohort Annette Funicello, and The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini. He also began appearing on the musical stage as Harold Hill in "The Music Man," Riff in "West Side Story" and as the lead in "Tovarich." He also was lent out to do a lead in the mediocre cult sci-fi Embassy Picture Village of the Giants. After leaving AIP, things got progressively worse for Tommy with a lead role in Trans American Film's It's a Bikini World -- by this time, beach party films were no longer trendy. Bargain basement fare such as Unkissed Bride (1966)_ (aka Mother Goose a Go-Go), UA's Track of Thunder, Catalina Caper Mars Needs Women, in which he played a Martian, and Psycho à Go-Go (aka Psycho a Go-Go) pretty much spelled as a leading man. Practically blacklisted by an industry that deemed "outed" gay actors "box office poison," he returned to the musical theatre in his home state of Kentucky with such shows as "Anything Goes" (as Moonface Martin), "Hello, Dolly!" (as Horace Vandergelder), "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (as Marcus Lycus) and "Little Mary Sunshine" (as General Fairfax).
Following roles in the lowbudget 70s films Ride the Hot Wind and the unreleased My Name Is Legend as well as an isolated TV part on a 1972 episode of "The Streets of San Francisco," Tommy disappeared from the limelight. His life went into a seemingly irreversible tailspin. Depressed and angry, he sought solace in drugs and nearly died from an acute overdose at one point. For health reasons he felt the need to completely abandon his career and slowly moved himself forward as a recovering addict. On a very positive note, he was able to build a very successful carpet and upholstery cleaning company for himself ("Tommy Kirk's Carpet and Upholstery) in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. It stayed open for business for well over two decades.
After some time away, Tommy showed up again in Hollywood, glimpsed in a few dismissible low-budgeters here and there, including Streets of Death, Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold, Little Miss Magic, Billy Frankenstein, Club Dead and, his last to date, The Education of a Vampire. A full-time commitment to acting is quite unlikely but he has done several documentary interviews for the DVD releases of some of his best known films and TV shows and occasionally appears at film festivals and nostalgia convention/memorabilia fests. He lives in Las Vegas.
|Wilhelm von Homburg
Wilhelm Von Homburg (A.K.A. Norbert Grupe) was born in Berlin, Germany. He started out his career as a wrestler during the fifties in Germany where he earned his fame. He also toured the States. Homburg's stage name was Prinz Wilhelm Von Homburg. In the early sixties, he shifted from wrestling to boxing. Between 1962 and 1970, he was in the light heavyweight and the heavyweight class.
In Hollywood, he made his debut on the popular television show "Gunsmoke", as "Otto". The director Andrew V. McLaglen, had writer John Meston write the episode inspired by Wilhelm's life as a boxer. The production flew Wilhelm in from Germany to the U.S. for a special appearance of the "Gunsmoke" episode "The Promoter". Later, Wilhelm had a recurring role on Television show "The Wild Wild West".
Wilhelm is best known for playing "Vigo the Carpathian" in the big hit movie "Ghostbusters ll". His other movies includes, to name a few, "Die Hard", "Diggstown", "The Package", "Eye of The Storm", "In The Mouth of Madness", "The Devil's Brigade", "The Wrecking Crew", and "Stroszek".
Wilhelm made headlines after his controversial appearance on German T.V. at the Z.D.F. Sport Studio, after the reporter Rainer Günzler had made some rude, snide remarks about his boxing career and his private life.
In 2000, German film-maker Gerd Kroske produced a prize-winning documentary on Wilhelm's life called The Boxing Prince.
In his later years, Wilhelm lived in the beautiful Malibu/Santa Monica Mountains, together with his dog 'Kiss'. Wilhelm Von Homburg died of cancer in March, 2004 on the Villa Estate of his close friend in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Royal Dano was undoubtedly one of the best, most quirky and striking character actors to ever grace the big and small screen alike in a lengthy and impressive career which spanned 42 years.
Royal Edward Dano was born on November 16, 1922 in New York City, to Mary Josephine (O'Connor) and Caleb Edward Dano, a newspaper printer. He was of mostly Irish descent (his mother was an immigrant). Royal ran away from home at age twelve and lived in such states as Texas, Florida and California. He struck a deal with his father to continue his education, but still be able to travel around the country. Dano eventually attended New York University. His performing career began as part of the 44th Special Service Provisional Company during World War II. Dano soon branched out to the New York stage and made his Broadway debut with a small role in the hit musical "Finian's Rainbow." He was nominated by the New York Critic's Circle as one of the Promising Actors of 1949. Tall and lean, with a gaunt face, dark hair, a rangy build, and a very distinctive deep croaky voice, Dano was usually cast in both movies and TV shows as gloomy and/or sinister characters. He appeared most often in westerns and worked several times with James Stewart and director Anthony Mann. He made his film debut in "Undercover Girl." Dano's more memorable roles include the Tattered Soldier in "The Red Badge of Courage," a sickly bookworm bad guy in "Johnny Guitar," Elijah in "Moby Dick," Peter in "King of Kings," a cattle rustler in "The Culpepper Cattle Company," a coroner in "Electra Glide in Blue," a profanity-spewing preacher in "Big Bad Mama," Ten Spot in "The Outlaw Josey Wales," a weary factory line worker in "Take This Job and Shove It," a lightening rod salesman in "Something Wicked This Way Comes," a minister in "The Right Stuff," a stuffy high school teacher in "Teachers," rascally zombified old-timer Gramps in "House II: The Second Story," a cantankerous farmer in "Killer Klowns from Outer Space," and, in his last part, a cemetery caretaker in George Romero's "The Dark Half." Among the numerous TV shows Dano did guest spots on are "Twin Peaks," "Amazing Stories," "CHiPs," "Quincy M.E.," "Fantasy Island," "Little House on the Prairie," "Kung Fu," "Ben Casey," "Planet of the Apes," "Cannon," "Playhouse 90," "Lost in Space," "Gunsmoke," "Bonanza," "Wagon Train," "The Virginian," "Hawaii Five-O," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Wanted; Dead or Alive," "Night Gallery," "Route 66," "The Rifleman," and "Rawhide." Moreover, Dano did the voice of the audioanimatronic Abraham Lincoln for Walt Disney's Hall of Presidents for both Disneyland and Disney World. Dano also portrayed Lincoln on the "Omnibus" television series. He's the father of actor Richard Dano. Royal Dano died at age 71 of a heart attack on May 15th, 1994.
Perhaps not so surprisingly, John Payne maintained that his favorite movie of all time was one of his own -- Miracle on 34th Street -- simply because it reflected his own strong and spiritual belief system. Today, of course, the film, which co-stars beautiful Maureen O'Hara, Oscar-winning Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle and little non-believing scene-stealer Natalie Wood, is a perennial holiday favorite and his best-remembered film role despite the mighty fine product he turned out over the years.
Born John Howard Payne on May 28, 1912 (not May 23, according to his daughter, actress Julie Payne), he was the middle son of three boys (Peter and Robert were the others). His parents, businessman George Washington Payne and Ida Hope (ne Schaeffer) Payne were quite well-to-do and came from a rich heritage. John was named after an ancestor who wrote the song, "Home, Sweet, Home." The boys grew up privileged on a Roanoke, Virginia estate complete with equestrian stables and swimming pools. At his mother's request, John took singing lessons in order to curb an extreme shyness problem. During his teens, the boy was shipped off to Mercersburg Academy, a prep school in Pennsylvania, and later was studying at Roanoke College at the time his father died. John was forced to give up his studies in an effort to help support his family, finding work as a male nurse and, better yet, a radio singer at a local station. Eventually, he was able to return to his studies, enrolling at the Pulitzer School of Journalism at Columbia University. John continued to find work as a singer and even earned some extra cash as a boxer and wrestler.
The tall (6'4"), dark and handsome Payne, in his mid-20s, eventually turned to the stage and, while understudying Reginald Gardiner in the musical "At Home Abroad," was spotted by Samuel Goldwyn during a performance signed for film work. Billed initially as John Howard Payne, he made his debut with a minor role in Dodsworth, but nothing else came of it and he was released. Freelancing in minor musicals and comedies, he appeared in a starring role (billed now as John Payne) opposite soon-to-be acting guru Stella Adler in Love on Toast, and also teamed up vocally with Betty Grable on a radio show. Payne met actress Anne Shirley during this time and the couple married in August of 1937. Three years later they had a daughter, Julie Payne, who would become an actress in her own right. The happiness for John and Anne wouldn't last, however, and the couple divorced in 1943.
In 1937, Paramount took over the actor's interest with a featured part in Bob Hope's College Swing. Warner Bros. then signed him up briefly, allowing him a third-billed role in the Busby Berkeley musical Garden of the Moon starring Pat O'Brien and Margaret Lindsay in which he sang the title song as well as the tune "Love Is Where You Find It," among others. Again, John didn't have the right studio fit until 20th Century-Fox came along in 1940. Then it all began to happen for him. Co-starring roles opposite Alice Faye in the musicals Tin Pan Alley and Week-End in Havana, and with popular skating star Sonja Henie in Sun Valley Serenade and Iceland started the ball rolling. But it was a starring role in the war tearjerker Remember the Day, in which he was romantically paired with Claudette Colbert, that secured his place as a dramatic actor and gave him one of his best career showcases.
After co-starring with former radio partner Betty Grable in Springtime in the Rockies, John served a two-year hitch (1942-1944) with the Army. Upon his discharge he went right back to courting Betty Grable in the musical film The Dolly Sisters and met 18-year-old singer/actress Gloria DeHaven during its shoot. The twosome wed in 1945 and a daughter and son were born within three years. Problems arose when Gloria insisted on continuing her career and the couple, after on and off separations, finally divorced in 1950. John's early post-WWII work offered some of his finest roles with significant non-singing parts coming in the form of Sentimental Journey with Maureen O'Hara which was a project he bought for himself, the glossy epic The Razor's Edge co-starring Gene Tierney, Miracle on 34th Street, again paired up magically with O'Hara, and Larceny with Joan Caulfield.
When John left 20th Century-Fox, his film vehicles grew more routine. Crimers, war drama, and westerns became the norm but a smart and lucrative business arrangement (that included a seven-picture deal) with action producers William H. Pine and William C. Thomas (Pine-Thommas Productions) compensated greatly. As such John appeared in El Paso, Tripoli, Passage West, Kansas City Confidential. 99 River Street, Silver Lode and ended the deal with Slightly Scarlet. A shrewd businessman, Payne also obtained rights to these films in the aftermath. In 1953, he entered into his third and final marriage to Alexandra ("Sandy") Crowell Curtis, the former wife of actor Alan Curtis. In addition to returning to his singing roots with Las Vegas showroom engagements, John went on to star in his own western TV series The Restless Gun which lasted two seasons. Daughter Julie appeared in one episode.
A very serious 1961 accident, however, in which John was hit by a car in New York City, slowed him down considerably. It took well over two years for him to recover enough from his leg fractures and facial/scalp wounds to return to acting. In 1964, he co-starred on Broadway with Lisa Kirk in the Broadway musical "Here's Love". A decade later he returned to the arms of Alice Faye when they reunited on stage with a Broadway revival of "Good News". Unfortunately he had to leave the show prematurely as the dancing required was re-aggravating his leg pain. His 70s career ended with TV roles on such shows as "Gunsmoke," "Cade's Country" and "Columbo".
Retiring in 1975, John focused quietly on reading, writing short stories, flying and cooking. In addition to daughter Julie, two of his grandchildren went on to become actresses as well -- Katharine Towne and Holly Payne. The 77-year-old Payne died on December 6, 1989 at his Malibu home of congestive heart failure. A reliable and steady leading man who may not have been a great mover or shaker on screen, he nonetheless brought tremendous entertainment to the industry and his fans both musically and dramatically in a career that lasted four decades.
In the late 1960s Henry Darrow was THE ultimate Latin heartthrob on television. With a smooth, ingratiating style and a killer smile that brightened up the small screen, he also hit a cultural acting landmark as the first Hispanic actor to portray Zorro on TV.
He was born Enrique Tomás Delgado in New York City, on September 15, 1933, the first son of émigrés Enrique St. and Gloria Delgado. He made his debut at age 8 in a school play, which piqued his interest. The father moved his family (which included younger brother Dennis) back to his homeland of Puerto Rico out of prospective business concerns. While there Henry was elected president of his class at high school and attended the University of Rio Piedras as a political science and theater major. His fluency in two languages helped earn him supplementary income as an interpreter.
Henry returned to the States on scholarships received from The Little Theater of Puerto Rico and the University of Puerto Rico, and eventually received his Bachelor's degree. He initially trained at the Pasadena Playhouse (1954), in the Los Angeles area, where he met and later married first wife, Lucy, an aspiring actress. They went on to have two children, Denise (Dee-Dee) and Tom. He began seeking employment on film and TV, making his big screen debut unbilled in the light comedy Holiday for Lovers. He found steadier work, however, on TV and appeared in a number rugged series, primarily westerns, including "Wagon Train," "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," "Gunsmoke," "Bonanza" and "Daniel Boone". On stage he continued to hone his craft in such plays as "The Alchemist" (1963) and "Dark of the Moon" (1966). While appearing in the 1965 stage production of "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit" at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles, the by-now TV veteran was spotted by producer David Dortort. Dortort later remembered Henry (who was then going by the name Henry Delgado) and thought him perfect for his upcoming western series The High Chaparral.
Billed now as Henry Darrow, the actor stole women's hearts and much of the proceedings as the roguish ladies' man Manolito Montoya, who'd rather make love than war. He reached his TV peak in the western program, which also starred Leif Erickson, Cameron Mitchell and Linda Cristal, who played his sister. The show ran for four seasons.
Following this peak, Henry went on to earn a daytime Emmy for his role on Santa Barbara after joining the cast in 1989. Although he never found a strong footing in films, his better supporting work has been seen in Badge 373 and Walk Proud. TV movies have included Night Games, Aloha Means Goodbye, Centennial and Attica. As for his enduring relationship with the famed Zorro character, Darrow is not only the first Latino Zorro on TV, but also provided the title voice for two 1980s animated series. In the early 1990s, Henry replaced Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Zorro's father in yet another cable reincarnation of the series. This show was shot in Spain.
Henry continued to perform on the stage with opportunities ranging from the role Iago in "Othello" to a (still-running) one-man show entitled "That Certain Cervantes", which made its premiere in 2001. A founder of "Nosotros", an organization that gears Hispanic actors toward non-stereotyped parts, Darrow was the inaugural winner of the Ricardo Montalban/Nosotros Award for his contributions to improving the image of Latinos. He lives in North Carolina with his second wife of many years, Lauren Levian, an actress/screenwriter/producer. The couple have been working on putting together a two person show.
William Conrad became a television star relatively late in his career. In fact, the former Army Air Corps World War II fighter pilot began his screen career playing heavies. He was Max, one of The Killers hired to finish off Burt Lancaster in his dingy lodgings. He was the corrupt state inspector Turck working for the syndicate in The Racket. He was a mobster in Sorry, Wrong Number, the murderous gunslinger Tallman in Johnny Concho and sleazy nightclub owner Louie Castro who claimed to be 60% legitimate in Cry Danger.
When not essaying outright villainy Bill played characters like the tough fight promoter Quinn in Body and Soul or the doom-laden province commissioner in The Naked Jungle. The portly, balding, crumple-faced, self-confessed gourmand had an ever-present weight problem (at one time 118 kg) which proved to be a natural obstacle to progressing to more substantial leading film roles. That, however, didn't hinder a very successful career in radio. In fact, Bill himself estimated that he had played in excess of 7,000 radio parts. Even if that was an exaggeration, his gravelly, resonant voice was certainly heard on countless broadcasts from "Buck Rogers" to "The Bullwinkle Show", from impersonating Marshall Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke" (before James Arness got the part on screen) to narrating the adventures of Richard Kimball in the television program The Fugitive. In one episode of the anthology series Suspense in 1956, he voiced each and every part.
Since his corpulence effectively precluded playing strapping characters like Matt Dillon, Bill began to concentrate on directing and producing by the early 1960's. This, ironically, included episodes of "Gunsmoke". In 1963 he contributed to saving 77 Sunset Strip for yet another season. Later in the decade he produced and directed several films for Warner Brothers, including the thriller Brainstorm with Jeffrey Hunter and Anne Francis. In 1971 he returned to acting and became the unlikely star of the Quinn Martin production Cannon, for which he is chiefly remembered. Bill imbued the tough-talking, no-nonsense character of Frank Cannon with enough humanity and wit to make the series compelling but, despite the show's popularity, he made his views clear in a 1976 Times interview that he found himself poorly served by the scripts he had been given. A planned sequel, The Return of Frank Cannon failed to get beyond the movie-length pilot, but the actor's popularity resulted in another starring role in Jake and the Fatman as District Attorney McCabe, co-starring with Joe Penny) and a brief run as eccentric detective Nero Wolfe. A self-effacing man with a good sense of humor and never afraid to speak his mind, Bill Conrad died of heart failure in February 1994. He was elected to the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and (posthumously) to the Radio Hall of Fame in 1997.
A reliable featured player and occasional co-star, actress Jeff Donnell was born Jean Marie Donnell in a boy's reformatory in South Windham, Maine in 1921. The younger of two daughters, her father (Howard) was a penologist and mother (Mildred) a schoolteacher. Raised in Maryland, she took piano and dance lessons while growing up. It was during her upbringing that she fixated on the popular "Mutt and Jeff" cartoon strip and gave herself the nickname "Jeff".
Studying at one time at the Yale School of Drama and performing briefly in summer stock, Jeff met her first husband, Bill Anderson, a drama teacher from her old Boston alma mater Leland Powers Drama School, and quickly married him at the young age of 19. Together they started the Farragut Playhouse in Rye, New Hampshire. Almost immediately she was noticed in a play there by a Columbia Studios talent scout and was signed.
Whisked to Los Angeles, Jeff made her first appearance in the war-era movie My Sister Eileen while husband Bill was hired on as a dialogue director. Hardly the chic, glamour girl type, Jeff possessed a perky, unpretentious, tomboyish quality that worked comfortably in unchallenging "B" escapism -- usually the breezy girlfriend or spirited bobbysoxer. Typical of her movie load at the time were the fun but innocuous Doughboys in Ireland, What's Buzzin', Cousin?, Nine Girls, A Thousand and One Nights, Carolina Blues and Eadie Was a Lady. She also enlivened a number of musical westerns that prominently featured Ken Curtis (Festus of "Gunsmoke").
On a rare occasion, Jeff found herself in "A" pictures, most notably the Bogart film noir classic In a Lonely Place, but more often than not she played the obliging or supportive friend of the leading lady. Unable to break away from her established "B" ranking, she later tried a move to RKO Studios (1949) but fared no better or worse. She did make a successful move to TV in the early 50s and was seen in a number of comedy and dramatic parts.
Long separated from and finally divorcing her first husband in 1953 (they had one son, Michael, and an adopted daughter, Sarah Jane), she married actor Aldo Ray, who was an up-and-rising film star at the time, in 1954 but the marriage crumbled within two years, beset by drinking problems. She also suffered a miscarriage during that marriage. Jeff went on to marry and divorce two more times. As the 1950s rolled on she earned steady work on TV bringing to life comedian George Gobel's often-mentioned wife Alice on the sitcom The George Gobel Show for four seasons. She also had the opportunity to play Gidget's mom in a couple of the popular lightweight movies of the early 1960s -- Gidget Goes Hawaiian and Gidget Goes to Rome.
Most daytime fans will remember Jeff's long-running stint on the soap drama General Hospital as Stella Fields, the Quartermain housekeeper, which started in 1979 and lasted until her death in 1988. Dogged by ill health in later years (including a serious bout with Addison's disease), Jeff died peacefully of a heart attack in her sleep at age 66.
Actress Tantoo Cardinal, a Member of the Order of Canada, one of the country's highest civilian honors. The Order of Canada recognizes Cardinal for her contributions to the growth and development of Aboriginal performing arts in Canada.
Arguably the most widely recognized Native Actress of her generation; Tantoo has appeared in numerous plays, television programs, and films, including Legends of the Fall, Dances With Wolves, Black Robe, Loyalties, Luna, Spirit of the Whale, Unnatural & Accidental, Marie-Anne, Sioux City, Silent Tongue, Mother's & Daughter's and Smoke Signals. Recent work includes the films Eden, Maina, Shouting Secrets and From Above.
Her stirring performance in Loyalties earned her a Genie nomination, American Indian Film Festival Best Actress Award, the People's choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, plus Best Actress Awards at International Film Festivals in Zimbabwe and Portugal.
Cardinal was just honored with the 2015 ACTRA Award of Excellence, other honors include Best Actress - Elizabeth Sterling Award in Theatre for All My Relations, First Americans in the Arts Totem Award for her portrayal of the character Katrina in Widows at the Forum Stage in Los Angeles. She won the American Indian Film Festival's Best Actress Award as well as the first Rudy Martin Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Native American in Film for Where the Rivers Flow North, a Gemini Award for North of 60 and a Leo Award for Blackstone.
Her television credits include recurring roles on the series: Blackstone, The Killing, Arctic Air, Strange Empire,The Guard, North of 60, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, The Lightening Field, Street Legal, The Campbell's, Gunsmoke, Tom Stone, Myth Quest, Lonesome Dove and Renegade Press.com. MOW's include Full Flood, The Englishman's Boy, Dreamkeeper and the PBS documentary Nobody's Girls.
For her contributions to the Native Artistic community, Cardinal won the Eagle Spirit Award. She has also been honored with the MacLeans' magazine Honor Roll as Actress of the Year, the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Toronto Women in Film and Television, an International Women in Film Award for her lasting contribution to the arts, and induction to the CBC/Playback Hall of Fame.
Don has made over 200 credited movie and television appearances. He has performed with John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Anthony Quinn, Dean Martin, Tom Selleck, James Arness, and even Elvis Presley. His first role was as an extra in 1948 in the western Massacre River. This was followed by two more westerns -- Davy Crockett, Indian Scout and Fort Apache with John Wayne. Don later appeared in three more John Wayne movies.
In 1959, Don won the leading role of U.S. Deputy Marshal Will Foreman in the NBC series, Outlaws. Starring with Don was Barton MacLane and Jock Gaynor. The second season of Outlaws found Will Foreman as a full-fledged Marshal. New characters were played by Bruce Yarnell, Slim Pickens, and Judy Lewis.
Don kept busy appearing on all the other western TV shows, such as Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Branded, and Death Valley Days. In 1968, he was cast as the foreman of the ranch The High Chaparral in David Dortort's latest western series of the same name. Working alongside a extremely talented and experienced cast, Don's portrayal of Sam Butler was fundamental to the success of the highly acclaimed show, which ran until 1971.
But he wasn't yet done with the old west. Even his commercials took advantage of his cowboy persona, when he became a 1980s icon as The Gum Fighter for Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum. More movies and TV kept him busy. Then he went further back in time when he was called on play the recurring role of William Tompkins in The Young Riders (1989-1992).
Don continued to guest star on TV in and out of the west in Little House on the Prairie, two made-for-TV Gunsmoke movies (Gunsmoke: To the Last Man and Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice), a made-for-TV Bonanza movie (Bonanza: Under Attack), Banacek, The Waltons, Highway to Heaven and such big-screen movies as Tombstone.
He worked on a western radio drama series titled West of the Story and was sidekick to Fred Imus on Sirius Radio's weekly show, Fred's Trailer Park Bash until Imus' death in 2011.
As of 2016, Don remains active with public appearances at Western and nostalgia shows like Western Legends Roundup in Kanab, Utah; Territorial Days in Tombstone, Ariz.; and the 50th Anniversary of The High Chaparral event being hosted in Sept. 2017 in Hollywood.
Although Los Angeles native Howard McNear had a long career on radio and in films, he will forever be remembered for his memorable - and scene-stealing - portrayal of Floyd the Barber in the long-running The Andy Griffith Show (actor Don Knotts once said that playing Floyd wasn't much of a stretch for McNear, as his real personality was pretty much like Floyd to begin with). McNear started his career in radio, where he played Doc Adams in "Gunsmoke" for many years. In films he often played congressmen, hotel managers or other such figures, although he did on occasion play villains. While working on the "Andy Griffith Show" he suffered a massive stroke. After he recuperated he had trouble using his arms and legs, and when he returned to work on the show he was always seen either in a close-up or sitting down (often in a chair outside the barber shop while chatting with Barney and Andy). He died in 1969 in Hollywood.
As the brash and bruising tough guy with wide, flaring nostrils, compact features and boorish, bullying personality, you could have placed bets that anyone who had the guts to go nose-to-nose against crew cut-wearing badger Frank Sutton had better be one tough order. Nope. Far from it. Sutton's most feared, ulcer-inducing on-camera nemesis would be none other than one of TV's gentlest souls ever--Mayberry's own lovable gas station attendant Gomer Pyle.
As the antagonistic, in-your-face Sgt. Vince Carter, whose outer bluster occasionally revealed a softer inner core, the 41-year-old Sutton finally found himself front and center co-starring in one of sitcomdom's most successful spin-offs--Gomer Pyle: USMC, the offspring of The Andy Griffith Show. Fans really took to Sutton's volatile character whose hilarious slow burn meshed perfectly with Jim Nabors' awkward guile. The gimmick of watching Carter's devious but ultimately failed plans to transfer Pyle out of his unit each week worked for five seasons. Off-stage Nabors and Sutton shared a mutual respect for each other. After the show's demise, in fact, Sutton went on to become a part of Jim's roster of regulars on The Jim Nabors Hour, a variety show that had a very short run.
Frank Spencer Sutton was born in Clarksville, Tennessee. Although some sources list the year of his birth as 1922, his grave marker indicates 1923. An only child, both his parents had jobs working for the local newspaper. When he was eight, the family moved to Nashville, his father dying some time later of an intestinal ailment. Belonging to the drama club and appearing in high school plays sparked his early interest in acting, and he majored in Dramatic Arts at Columbia University, graduating cum laude. Gaining experience on the local stages, he eventually found a job as a radio announcer. Following WWII military service, he returned to acting and in the 1950s segued into TV, appearing on a couple of the more popular children's adventure series -- Captain Video and His Video Rangers and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet. Based in New York, Sutton also found work on the soaps The Edge of Night and The Secret Storm.
Sutton's imposing mug and hothead countenance proved quite suitable for playing both good guys and bad guys and he became a steady, reliable fixture in rugged surroundings. With work on such series as "Gunsmoke", "Maverick", "The Fugitive", "Combat!", and "The Untouchables" he could be counted on to play everything from a crass, outspoken blue-collar buddy to a menacing henchman. Film appearances were sporadic, with only a few secondary roles offered. His best chances were in Four Boys and a Gun, Town Without Pity (a very good performance as one of a trio of American GIs accused of raping a young German girl) and The Satan Bug.
In the early 1970s, after the success of the "Gomer Pyle" series, Sutton was seen in TV guest spots while performing in small-scale stock plays all over the US. His stage work would include comedic roles in "The Odd Couple," "Anything Goes" and "No Hard Feelings." In fact, he died suddenly of a heart attack on June 28, 1974, while in rehearsals for a show at a Louisiana dinner theater. The 50-year-old actor was survived by his wife of 25 years, daytime soap writer Toby Igler, and children Joseph and Amanda. He was buried in his home town.
The name may have you scratchin' your head a bit while searchin' for your nearby trivia book, but oh...that intimidating face is so familiar. Peter Whitney's over-powering frame, swarthy looks, bushy brows and maniacal look in his eye made him one of the most fearsome character actors to lump around in 40s, 50s and 60s film and TV. Born May 24, 1916 in New Jersey, Peter was of German ancestry and educated at Exeter Academy. He eventually moved to the Los Angeles area and trained with the Pasadena Community Playhouse, gaining valuable experience in summer stock as well. He made a play for films in the early 40s, deciding also to use his wife Adrienne's middle name for his own stage moniker. His real name he felt sounded too German and might be detrimental to his WWII-era career. He and Adrienne went on to have three children. His mammoth features and pudding-like puss reminded one easily of a Charles Laughton without table manners.
He started his supporting career off promisingly at Warner Bros. at the outbreak of America's involvement in WWII showing fine potential in such films as Underground, his debut, Nine Lives Are Not Enough and Blues in the Night as assorted henchmen, cronies and just downright mean guys. Taking part in "A" quality casts such as in Action in the North Atlantic and Mr. Skeffington, Peter played two of his most notorious roles at war's end, that of murderous hillbilly twins Mert and Bert Fleagle in the riotous Fred MacMurray comedy Murder, He Says and as Peter Lorre's seedy partner in the film noir Three Strangers. Peter broke off from Warners in the post-war years but still yielded some fine entertainment with roles in such "B" fare as The Notorious Lone Wolf, Blonde Alibi, and an odd, romantic turn as Lt. Gates in the creepy Rondo Hatton crimer The Brute Man.
In the mid-50s, TV took over a larger portion of Peter's career. His imposing mug was featured in about every popular western and crime drama there was including "Gunsmoke," "Wagon Train," "The Rifleman," "Bonanza," "Perry Mason" and "Peter Gunn." He finally cut loose a bit and spoofed his own grubby rube image with guest turns on such bucolic series as "Petticoat Junction" and "The Beverly Hillbillies," the latter playing a greedy ne'er-do-well fellow rustic. His obesity may have triggered an early fatal heart attack at age 55 in 1972, which robbed Hollywood of a wonderfully unappetizing and scurrilous character actor. In addition to his wife and children, Peter was survived by four grandchildren
During the 1950s and 1960s, she made dozens of guest appearances on such television programs as The Twilight Zone, Dr. Kildare, Felony Squad, Gunsmoke, Daniel Boone, and Mannix. She had a short role as Doris Schuster on Peyton Place. She also appeared on daytime's Bright Promise as Ann Boyd Jones (1970-1972). Kobe began to work behind the camera as supervising producer and associate producer on such daytime programs as The Edge of Night and Return to Peyton Place. In 1982 she became executive producer of Texas during its final few months. She then became executive producer of Guiding Light where she stayed from 1982 to 1987.
Ideal for playing swarthy villains, James Griffith's tall, dark and gaunt features and shady countenance invaded hundreds of film and TV dramas (and a few comedies) throughout his career on-camera. Highlighted by his arched brows, hooded eyes and prominent proboscis, heavy character work would be his largest source of income for nearly four decades.
He was born James J. Griffith, of Welsh ancestry, on February 13, 1916, in Los Angeles. He and sister Dorothy were raised in the Santa Monica area. An early interest in music led to his learning to play several instruments, including the clarinet and saxophone. He got his first taste of entertaining audiences by performing in local bands while arranging music for them as well. An interest in acting came about participating in school plays and continued when he found parts to play in small theatre houses in such productions as "They Can't Get You Down" in 1939.
Unable to consistently pay the bills, however, Griffith found steadier work at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica. Enlisting in the Marine Corps. in 1941, he served his country until 1947. Eventually married with a newborn, a chance meeting with bandleader Spike Jones while working as a gas station attendant led to a six month traveling gig with Jones' City Slicker Band playing tenor saxophone.
Griffith finally broke into "B" films with a smarmy but showy role as an insurance agent in the murder drama Blonde Ice. He continued to sniff out work in both drama and occasional comedy usually as unsympathetic or shady characters, sometimes billed and sometimes not. Some of his bigger, noteworthy parts in the early years came with the pictures Alaska Patrol, Indian Territory and Double Deal. He also took on some famous and infamous figures of history as in Fighting Man of the Plains (as William Quantrill), Day of Triumph (as Judas Iscariot), Jesse James vs. the Daltons (as outlaw Bob Dalton), The Law vs. Billy the Kid (as Pat Garrett), and Masterson of Kansas as Doc Holliday. He provided the voice of Abraham Lincoln in the Rod Cameron western Stage to Tucson.
TV took much of the mustachioed actor's time from the 1950s on, notably in westerns such as "The Lone Ranger," "Annie Oakley," "Gunsmoke," "The Big Valley," "Bonanza," "Death Valley Days," "The Gene Autry Show," "Wagon Train," "Rawhide," "Maverick," "Little House on the Prairie," "B.J. and the Bear" and "Dallas." Elsewhere on the small screen he played cold-hearted villains twice on "Batman" in support of the nefarious Ma Parker and Catwoman. Not to be pegged in just oaters, he also appeared in less dusty TV fare such as "The Streets of San Francisco," "Fantasy Island" and Emergency!" Griffith made his final acting appearance on a 1984 "Trapper John" episode.
A gifted raconteur, his later years were spent writing theatre plays and movie scripts, and attending film festivals. Two of his earlier movie scripts that found releases were Russ Meyer's Lorna (in which he also appeared), Shalako and Catlow. Griffith died of cancer on September 17, 1993, at age 77.
Although Frank Cady's most famous role would be that of general-store owner Sam Drucker, one of the less nutty residents of Hooterville in both Green Acres and Petticoat Junction, he had a history as a film, stage and television actor long before those shows. Cady also appeared on some radio programs including Gunsmoke. In the 1950s, Cady played Doc Williams in The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, along with numerous supporting parts in movies and also appeared in television commercials for (among other products) Shasta Grape Soda. Cady has been most prolific in television and was the only actor to play a recurring character on three TV sitcoms at the same time, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Petticoat Junction. Usually cast as a gregarious small-town businessman, druggist, store clerk or other type of all-around Midwestern-type good guy, Cady was actually a California native, born in Susanville in 1915. The acting bug bit him when he sang in an elementary school play, and after graduating from Stanford University he headed to London, England, to train in the theater. When World War II broke out he was already in Europe, so he enlisted in the Army Air Force and spent the next several years in postings all over the continent. After his discharge he returned to the US and headed for Hollywood. An agent saw him in a local play, signed him, and he was on his way. One of his earlier--and more atypical--roles was as a seedy underworld character pulled in for questioning in a cop's murder in the noir classic He Walked by Night, and he played a succession of hotel clerks, bureaucrats, henpecked husbands and the like for the next 40+ years. He did much television work from the mid-'50s onward. Cady resided in Wilsonville, Oregon and at the time of his death had two children; daughter, Catherine Turk; son, Steven; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Character actor John Quade was born John William Saunders on April 1, 1938 in Kansas City, Kansas. Quade transferred from Perry Rural High School in Perry, Kansas to Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kansas in 1954. John was a football tackle and participated in both track and basketball at Highland Park High School. Moreover, he was a member of the Stamp, Radio, and Chess/Checkers clubs. Quade graduated from high school in 1956 and attended Washburn University. John worked for the Santa Fe Railway repair shop in Topeka, Kansas. Quade moved to California in 1964 and was an aerospace engineer prior to making his television acting debut in 1968 on an episode of "Bonanza." He acted in his first movie in 1972. With his strong, stocky build, distinctive rough face, drawling accent, squinty eyes, and often aggressive and intimidating screen presence, John was frequently cast as either mean, nasty heavies or hostile redneck law enforcers. Quade was probably best known as Cholla, the bumbling leader of the inept biker gang the Black Widows in the Clint Eastwood comedy vehicles "Every Which Way But Loose"" and "Any Which Way You Can." He had previously acted alongside Eastwood as despicable villains in the Westerns "High Plains Drifter" and "The Outlaw Josey Wales." John was likewise memorable as Sheriff Biggs in the epic TV mini-series "Roots." Quade had regular roles on the short-lived TV shows "Flatbush" and "Lucky Luke." Among the many television programs John made guest appearances on are "Gunsmoke," "Ironside," "Kung Fu," "Kojak," "Starsky and Hutch," "The Bionic Woman," "Charlie's Angels," "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," "Vega$," "The Dukes of Hazzard," "CHiPs," "Hill Street Blues," "The A-Team," "Hunter," "Werewolf," and "Baywatch." After he stopped acting in the 1990s, Quade became a devout Christian activist and outspoken opponent of the American government and its New World Order. John was opposed to the 14th Ammendment, Social Security numbers, and drivers' licenses. He supported the Alledial Title belief in common law. Quade was married to his wife Gwen for thirty-eight years and was the father of six children. John Quade died of natural causes at age 71 at his home in Rosamond, California on August 9, 2009.
This country singing-and-playing perennial earned the nickname of "Shug" early in life from his mother, who used to call him "sugar" as an infant. The native Oklahoman was born George Clinton Fisher in 1907, the son of a Scots-Irish father and part Choctaw mother. He learned how to play the mandolin, fiddle and guitar by the time he went on the road and later added comedy schtick to his traveling act. He finally took the plunge and headed west to California toiling in a series of side jobs (oil field cabler, tool dresser) before getting some work on radio. He joined various country groups, including the "Hollywood Hillbillies," in which he played bass fiddle, and the "Beverly Hill Billies." He finally found "gold up in them thar hills" saddling up with Roy Rogers in his western films and singing with the renown group "Sons of the Pioneers."
On various radio broadcasts with the group, Shug's talents soon included songwriting. Some of his songs included "Out on the Open Range" and "Ridin' Down to Santa Fe," tunes later recorded by such established stars as Merle Travis. Shug first joined the Sons of the Pioneers in 1943 as a bass player and comedian and appearing on their Lucky U Ranch radio program. He also performed with Stuart Hamblen's "Lucky Stars" and partnered on and off with singer/actor/comedian Pat Brady. Following his break with the Pioneers, he worked with pre-Festus actor Ken Curtis (of "Gunsmoke" fame) in movies and on TV and radio. He returned once more with the Sons of the Pioneers (1955-1959), then went on to appear with Red Foley's and his Ozark Jubilee TV show for a couple of years.
Shug continued on as various character types on TV and enjoyed a regular role with friend Curtis on the Ripcord adventure series. He also is remembered for his recurring role as Shorty Kellums on The Beverly Hillbillies, and appeared in several films and TV episodes for Walt Disney in later years. He died in March 1984 after a lingering illness, with old friend Ken Curtis by his side.
An American character actor described to some as a 'rugged outdoor western/war type', proved to be Walter Barnes status in motion pictures for nearly thirty years. A pro football player, Barnes made a mark into playing roles in pictures with his performance in the 1957 film "Westbound". Although, Barnes found work in countless foreign films of the 1960s, he usually played roles ranging from crusty law officals to occasional villians, in notable roles in "Captain Sinbad", John Wayne's "Cahill US Marshal", Clint Eastwood's "High Plains Drifter", "Pete's Dragon" and "Day of the Animals". Also as a veteran of television, Barnes has had guest starring roles in such series including "Gunsmoke", "Rawhide" and "Cheyenne". He also played Bo Svenson's father on the early 80s TV series "Walking Tall" and appeared in the 1985-86 mini series "North and South". A diabetic, Barnes retired from acting in the late 1980s and eventually moved into the Motion Picture and Television Retirement Home in Woodland Hills, California, where he passed away in January of 1998.
Pretty, appealing and energetic blonde actress Jennifer Billingsley was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Jennifer was an army brat who grew up all over the world. She graduated with honors from Fort Smith Senior High School in Arkansas. Billingsley's initial claim to fame was her striking resemblance to Brigitte Bardot. Jennifer garnered plenty of favorable critical notices for her lively performance in the hit Broadway musical "Carnival." She made an excellent and impressive film debut as James Caan's wild teenage moll girlfriend in the harrowing thriller "Lady in a Cage." Billingsley had a recurring part on the popular daytime soap opera "General Hospital." Jennifer appeared in a handful of hugely entertaining low-budget drive-in features throughout the 70s: she's a scruffy motorcycle mama in the biker romp "C.C. and Company," a sexy hippie hitchhiker in the sleazy "Brute Corps," a brash young lass in the terrific psycho Vietnam vets exploitation winner "Welcome Home, Soldier Boys," a sassy Southern gal in the immensely enjoyable Burt Reynolds vehicle "White Lightning," an American tourist who runs afoul of an evil cult in the cruddy Filipino horror dud "The Thirsty Dead," and another more bitter motorcycle mama in the fine "Hollywood Man." Among the TV shows Jennifer Billingsley had guest spots on are "Naked City," "Gunsmoke," "Route 66," "Dr. Kildare," "Wagon Train," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "Mannix," "Hawaii Five-O," "Police Story," "Alice," "Baretta," and "The Amazing Spider Man."
Internationally known actor Brett Halsey, one of Hollywood's busiest and handsomest actors of the mid-to-late 50s and early 60s, was born Charles Oliver Hand to a builder/contractor in Santa Ana, California on June 20, 1933. Interested in performing from childhood (he appeared in local community and church plays), the young man found a modest "in" when he was hired as a teenage page at CBS Television studios. A chance meeting with the legendary Jack Benny and wife Mary Livingstone who taped "The Jack Benny Show" at CBS led to his being accepted to study at Universal-International's training school that also included at the time future Universal stars Clint Eastwood and David Janssen. These intense studies eventually led to a contract offered by the studio.
Before deciding to pursue acting full time, the young teenager joined the Navy and enjoyed a brief stint as a deejay. Once signed with Universal, the studio decided to take advantage of Brett's esteemed ancestry (as the nephew of famed WWII Admiral William "Bull" Halsey) and changed the young nascent actor's stage name to the more marquee-friendly "Brett Halsey." He gained extensive experience apprenticing in a string of Universal bit parts, glimpsed in such standard filming as Walking My Baby Back Home, The Man from the Alamo, The Black Shield of Falworth, Ma and Pa Kettle at Home (as one of the young Kettle brood), Revenge of the Creature (as a victim) and _The Girl He Left Behind (1956). Eventually Brett's camera-worthy dark-haired good looks, penetrating blue eyes and earnest 'matinee idol' demeanor found their way front-and-center on TV drama ("Brave Eagle," "Mackenzie's Raiders," "Gunsmoke," "Perry Mason," "Highway Patrol," Harbor Command" and "Sea Hunt").
In the late 1950s, Brett increased his cinematic visibility with the growing interest of lowbudget "juvenile delinquent" films. Several of Brett's features, such as _Hot Rod Rumble (1957) with 'Leigh Snowden', Roger Corman's cult classic The Cry Baby Killer with Jack Nicholson, High School Hellcats and _Speed Crazy (1959), the last two co-starring Yvonne Lime, have since attained camp and/or cult status. He ended that series of filming with The Girl in Lovers Lane with Joyce Meadows.
Keeping in step with the then-popular trend of showcasing cool, hunky "beefcake" talent in TV adventure series with interesting or exotic locales, such as when Edd Byrnes combed his way to teen idol status on "77 Sunset Strip," Van Williams and Troy Donahue checked into "Surfside Six" and Robert Conrad spruced up "Hawaiian Eye," Brett fell into a co-starring role with Barry Coe, Gary Lockwood and former child star Gigi Perreau in the one-season adventure series Follow the Sun, as a free-lance magazine writer looking for action in Honolulu. For his work, he earned a Golden Globe Award for "New Star of the Year".
Following co-star/featured work in the war films To Hell and Back, The Last Blitzkrieg (1958)_ and Jet Over the Atlantic, the sci-fi thrillers Return of the Fly (with Vincent Price) and The Atomic Submarine, the large-scale ensemble sudsers The Best of Everything and Return to Peyton Place (1961)_, the crime drama Desire in the Dust and the horror opus Twice-Told Tales, the 28-year-old Brett decided to follow a number of other young vital and promising American actors who wished to take advantage of career opportunities opening up overseas in Italy. What was originally a one-time acting job in Italy led to a decade-long stay in films. Often billed as "Montgomery Ford," Brett starred as several sword-and-sandal type heroes in including the spectacles Le sette spade del vendicatore [The Seventh Sword], Il magnifico avventuriero [The Magnificent Adventurer] and The Avenger of Venice [The Avenger of Venice]. He also settled comfortably into the fashionable international spy, "spaghetti" western and giallo genres with a slew of work including Spy in Your Eye [Spy in Your Eye], Misión Lisboa [Espionage in Lisbon], L'heure de la vérité [The Hour of Truth], Uccidete Johnny Ringo [Johnny Ringo], Congress of Love [Congress of Love], Web of Violence [Web of Violence], Bang Bang, Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die! [Today We Kill...Tomorrow We Die], Tutto sul rosso [All on the Red], Wrath of God [Wrath of God], Twenty Thousand Dollars for Seven [Twenty Thousand Dollars for Seven], Roy Colt and Winchester Jack and Four Times that Night [Four Times That Night].
In the early 1970s, Brett returned to the United States and planted himself squarely into TV work again, particularly in daytime drama. He appeared with regularity on General Hospital, Search for Tomorrow, Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, and, his last, a two-year stint (1980-82) on The Young and the Restless. Halsey continued sporadically in films as well, such as the comedy Where Does It Hurt? starring Peter Sellers, Ratboy, The Godfather: Part III and Beyond Justice, while also finding steady work on the small screen - "Alias Smith and Jones," "Toma," "The Love Boat," "The Bionic Woman," "Charlie's Angels," "Fantasy Island," "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," "Columbo," "Matt Houston" and "Cagney & Lacey".
At age 80+, the stalwart character actor continues to be seen from time to time with recent roles in the films Hierarchy, The Scarlet Worm, Club Utopia (in which he held a leading role), and Risk Factor. Also known at one time as a film acting teacher, Halsey also writes novels ("The Magnificent Strangers") and screenplays while making occasional guest appearances at film festivals. One biography: "Brett Halsey: Art or Instinct in the Movies," which chronicles the actor's prolific career, was published in 2008. At various times, he has lived out of the country in Costa Rica, Canada and Italy.
Brett is the father of five children. In 1954, he married imported Universal starlet Renate Hoy, an actress who won the "Miss Germany" beauty contest that same year. Together they had two children, the late Charles Oliver Hand, Jr. (a.k.a. punk rock performer "Rock Halsey" and/or "Rock Bottom") and Tracy Leigh. The couple divorced five years later. His second marriage (1960-1962) to exotic James Bond ("Thunderball") vixen Luciana Paluzzi, an Italian beauty, produced son Christian, who is a producer ("American Psycho"). Halsey and Paluzzi co-starred in Return to Peyton Place during their brief union. A third union (1964-1976) to German actress Heidi Brühl, best known here for her US role in the 1975 Clint Eastwood film "The Eiger Sanction," produced two more children: Clayton, a TV video editor ("Big Brother"), and Nicole. Halsey is presently wed to Victoria Korda, granddaughter of British filmmaker Alexander Korda.
Ralph Moody was born on November 5, 1886 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Ralph Roy Moody, the oldest son of Franklin Jerome Moody and Ida M. Hicklin. His introduction to show business was first as an actor on the stage in pre-radio days and then as a radio personality. His first acting role was in 1900 as the boy, Heinrich, in Rip Van Winkle. At the 1904 World's Fair he sang tenor in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. He had a wide following as Uncle Abner on WIBW, CBS Radio, in the 1930's in Topeka, Kansas, USA. As Uncle Abner he was the town's barber, constable, postmaster, and chief source of information. Beginning in the mid-1940's he was a frequent radio cast member on The Roy Rogers Show. When Gunsmoke began its radio show run in 1952, Ralph Moody was one of the regular cast members. He began making film and television appearances at the age of 62. His first television roles were on three 1949-50 Lone Ranger episodes, each time as an Indian chief with a different name. Frequently on TV westerns he had roles as an Indian, but was not type cast. His range of characters included a variety of roles with Jack Webb on Dragnet. Many of his dozen appearances on The Rifleman were as Doc Burrage. He had six appearances on Bonanza, most as an Indian, at the end of his 23 year acting career. He was married to Hazel B. McOwen. He died on September 16, 1971 in Burbank, California, USA.
Born on January 9, 1931, in Los Angeles, California, Patrick (Pat) Douglas Conway was the son of Hollywood "royalty"-film actor/director/producer Hugh ("Jack") Ryan Conway and his second wife, Virginia C. Bushman Conway, daughter of famous silent screen star Francis X. Bushman. Pat was a real cowboy, growing up on his father's 125-acre Pacific Palisades ranch where he learned to ride and rope before he was 10, and helping with his father's cattle herd. After graduating from Menlo Junior College at San Francisco, he studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse, then traveled to London to study Shakespearean theater for six months at the famous Old Vic. He served a hitch in the U. S. Marine Corps before returning to Hollywood and a contract with MGM.
Pat played a number of roles in several movies and television shows in the early 1950s. Then at the age of 26, the handsome 6'3", blue-eyed, dark-haired, 175-pound actor landed the role for which he is best known, that of Sheriff Clay Hollister, the young, tough but fair sheriff of Tombstone in pre-statehood Arizona in the weekly TV series "Tombstone Territory." He was originally cast to play the deputy in the series but was promoted to the starring role when the director saw his potential; they had to reshoot the first episode as a result. The series ran from Oct. 16, 1957, through July 1960; Conway starred in all 92 episodes. Published interviews from the era describe the young actor as "nice", "shy", and "serious" about his acting. His hobbies included reading, cooking, music, sailing and skin diving; he admitted to being a solitary individual. When "Tombstone Territory" ended, he was busy making guest appearances in many of the western series then populating the airwaves, including "Gunsmoke", "Rawhide" and "Bonanza." He also appeared in two movies ("Geronimo" in 1962 and "Brighty of the Grand Canyon" in 1967). His final appearances were in 1975 in "The Streets of San Francisco" and the television movie "The Abduction of Saint Anne." He died on April 24, 1981, in Santa Barbara County, California, at the age of 50.
Born and raised on a farm in Michigan in 1890, Irish-American character actor Harry Shannon had the credentials for becoming a staple player in westerns. He started off his career traveling around with repertory and stock companies and developed his musical abilities in tent shows, burlesque houses and such tuneful Broadway shows as "Oh, Kay!" (1926), "Hold Everything" (1928), "Simple Simon" (1931), and "Pardon My English" (1933). A company member of Joseph Schildkraut's Hollywood Theater Guild, Shannon broke into films at the advent of sound and started things off in comedy film shorts opposite such celebrated players as Bert Lahr, Shemp Howard, and Leon Errol. In the 1940s Shannon established himself in feature-length movies and although he remained a minor, second-string player, he proved himself a durable presence in westerns usually remaining on the good side of the law as sheriffs and bucolic dads. In light-hearted entertainment he could be found as a friendly Irish cop or bartender. He made a slight but memorable impression as Kane's alcoholic father in the classic Citizen Kane (1941) while his last role would be as the grandfather in the musical Gypsy (1962). In between were small parts in such notable films as The Sullivans (1944), The Jolson Story (1946), High Noon (1952), Touch of Evil (1958) and The Buccaneer (1959). 1950s TV westerns such as "Cheyenne," "Have Gun, Will Travel," Rawhide" and "Gunsmoke" made consistent use of his rustic demeanor. Shannon died in 1964 at age 74.
John Kevin Barry Coughlin was born in Inwood, Manhattan, New York. His older sister Joan Marie Colette was a nun with the Sacred Heart of Mary. Their parents were John Joseph Coughlin (1909 - 1966) and Marguerite O'Brien (b. 1915). They lived at 45 Sickles Street in Manhattan until about 1960 when the family moved to Rye, New York. Kevin had been a Conover model since age 2. His television debut was on his seventh birthday, on December 12, 1952, on the memorable show "Mama", where he would stay as a regular for four years. You can see 19 episodes with Kevin (including his debut) and several more without him at the Museum of Television and Radio in Los Angeles and New York. "Mama" is definitely one of the best family shows ever made. The acting is of theater caliber. In her autobiography Peggy Wood writes that in the eight years she worked on the show, only on three occasions did someone forget a line. In 1956 Kevin starred in his first film, the highly controversial drama "Storm Center" (filmed in Santa Rosa, CA). Unfortunately, it is not available on video. Bette Davis thought it a failure, but it is quite good and relevant. Kevin appeared in many TV dramas, of which only "A Trip to Czardis" and "The Ballad of Huckleberry Finn" can be seen at the Museum of Television and Radio. Kevin attended Mace School. After starring in two more films, the hilarious "Happy Anniversary" and the bold classic "The Defiant Ones", his career seemed to fizzle. There are few roles in the early sixties. From about 1963 until 1967 Kevin attended Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, majoring in theater. In the late sixties he moved to Hollywood, appearing in several youth culture movies and marrying Pamela Elaine. In 1972 he started a production company with David Ladd: COLADD Productions. He also produced and hosted a TV talk-show, "The Age of Aquarius". His film and television career seemed to end suddenly after he starred in the comedy "The Gay Deceivers" (1969). It made a lot of money, and is available on video and DVD. In 1999 it was shown at the Turin Film Festival. Yet this film seemed to doom Kevin's chances. His last known screen appearance is a pathetic, small role on Gunsmoke in 1975 "Hard Labor". A newspaper mentions something about Kevin working in European films in the seventies, but there is no confirmation of it. On January 10, 1976, at 1:45 a.m. as Kevin was cleaning his windshield on Ventura Boulevard 1500 feet North of Whitsett, he was hit by a speeding car. Kevin's wife Marcia Kandell witnessed the tragedy. Thus ended the life of a very talented, highly intelligent, optimistic and promising human being. Kevin had a handicap that made walking difficult: clubfeet. He was not embarrassed about it, and appeared barefoot in "The Ballad of Huckleberry Finn" (1960). It took courage to give him that role, which turned out to be one of his most memorable performances. Grave location: Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, New York, Section 44, plot 604, grave 10. His grave has a simple, poignant inscription: "BELOVED BY ALL".
Born Ariane Quinn in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, Pat Quinn (also known as Patricia Quinn) is an American actress known for such films as Alice's Restaurant, Zachariah, An Unmarried Woman, Shoot Out and Clean and Sober. Early in her career, she starred in several television westerns including Gunsmoke and Dr. Kildare. She dated Marlon Brando in the early 1970's.
A cousin of cowboy actors Rex Allen and Glenn Strange, Taylor Curtis McPeters was the oldest son born to John and Leona Byrd McPeters in Weed (Otero County), New Mexico, USA on August 8, 1899. He was the second of eleven children. Glenn Strange's mother was Leona's sister. Rex Allen was 21 years McPeters junior on his father's side. McPeters and Strange learned ranching in Coke,Texas, USA before their families moved to Willcox (Cochise County), Arizona, USA. McPeters married Etta Sarah Jessee on July 4, 1922 in Tombstone, Arizona, USA. Cactus Mack was a talented musician. He played violin with Ray Whitley's "Six Bar Cowboys" and guitar with Fred Scott's "The Cimarron Cowboys". He later played villain roles in many westerns, along with other character parts. Injured during his final appearance on Gunsmoke, he required abdominal surgery in late 1961. As he was filming his closeups on location for The Ugly American with Marlon Brando, he died of a heart attack on April 17, 1962 in Hollywood, California, USA.
|Warren J. Kemmerling
After graduating from St. Louis University in 1947 and serving a hitch in the Marines, Warren Kemmerling began his acting career in the theater. A fine singer, Kemmerling debuted on Broadway in 1953 "Me and Juliet". After six years in musicals which included Rogers and Hammerstein's "Anchors Aweigh," Kemmerling decided to try his hand in Hollywood. He spent the next thirty-odd years as a supporting player, mainly in television, making several appearances in such as "Gunsmoke", "Bonanza", "Ironside", and "The Macahans(How the West Was Won - Wanted: Luke Macahan). His most notable appearance is probably as Lyndon Johnson on the 1978 miniseries "King".
Kemmerling is also well-known for serving 18 years on the Board of Directors of the Screen Actor's Guild, where he was a leading advocate of benefits for actors.
After his death in 2005, Kemmerling was posthumously paid a tribute at the Screen Actors Guild awards that year.
Producer/Writer/Director Pat Cardamone has provided production services to countless broadcast, corporate, industrial, and transactional media clients. His career in the television and motion picture business has been a life-long passion. Pat's career began early as a busy working child actor using the name "Pat Cardi" . He co-starred in close to 100 film, TV, commercial and corporate productions including high profile prime time television series such as The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, The Invaders, Rawhide, Ben Casey, The FBI, and Branded. He starred in films for Universal and co-starred in the CBS comedy series "It's About Time". Mr. Cardamone's is the creator and Co-Founder of MovieFone / 777-FILM which was purchased by Time Warner/AOL and is now operated throughout the country. He is also a founding member of Holy Family Productions responsible for weekly digital production of the Catholic Mass seen on television for the past 20 years and now available live-streamed on the Internet.
Janit Baldwin had a fleeting, but still memorable and impressive ten year career as an actress. Born in 1955 and raised by her actress mother Dona Baldwin in Kansas City, the diminutive blue-eyed and auburn-haired Janit made her film debut at age 17 in Michael Ritchie's "Prime Cut" (1972). Among her most notable movie parts are Claudia Jennings' sweet younger sister in the exciting redneck drive-in exploitation classic "'Gatorbait" (1973), a groupie in Brian De Palma's delightfully delirious horror rock satire "The Phantom of the Paradise" (1974), a hardened juvenile delinquent in the shocking made-for-TV teenage girls-in-prison feature "Born Innocent" (1974), and Piper Laurie's mute daughter who becomes possessed by the vengeful spirit of a vicious gangster in Curtis Harrington's immensely enjoyable horror outing "Ruby" (1977). Moreover, Ms. Baldwin made guest appearances on the television programs "Baretta," "Gunsmoke," "Hawaii Five-O," "The Waltons," and "Emergency!". Besides her TV and film credits, Janit also acted in stage plays and television commercials. Following her winning portrayal of a spunky young lady in the strictly so-so slasher item "Humongous" (1982), Janit Baldwin quit acting and has since gone on to have a successful career as a fashion designer.
Kathleen Cody, often credited as Kathy Cody in her childhood years, is an American actress born October, 30, 1954. Best known for her roles as Hallie Stokes and Carrie Stokes on the original 1966-1971 cult classic TV series "Dark Shadows".
Kathleen started performing at the tender age of 6 months old with her first television commercial and continued to work as a successful child actor throughout her adolescence, teens and into adulthood. Her stage career started at age 6, appearing in Summer Stock at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, Florida. By the time she was 9 she had made it to Broadway for a two years run in Meredith Wilson's Musical "Here's Love", directed and choreographed by Michael Kidd, by age 9.
In 1965, at age 11, she was chosen by author Arthur Miller and producer David Susskinfdd to co-star as Betty Parris, in David Susskind's television production of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible", which starred George C. Scott, Melvyn Douglas, Colleen Dewhurst, and Tuesday Weld. The show was nominated and won three Emmy Awards; Best Actor George C. Scott, Best Actress Colleen Dewhurst, and Best Director Alex Segal.
Upon completion of "The Crucible", Kathleen was cast to co-star with Colleen Dewhurst again in a Televison Special based on novelist and playwright Colette's 1922 play, "My Mother's House", an autobiographical piece based on the novelist' s life with her mother, portrayed by Colleen Dewhurst with Kathleen portraying the playwright, Colette, from adolescence up through the author's teenage years. This TV production was also nominated for three Emmy Awards.
At 14 yrs old, director Bob Fosse auditioned and cast Kathleen in her first film debut in the Musical "Sweet Charity", starring Shirley MacLaine. It was in 1971 that Kathleen left New York to star in her first Hollywood film, "Hot Summer Week" (later entitled "Girls on the Road") with fellow co-stars Ralph Waite and Michael Ontkean.
Kathleen's performance in "Hot Summer Week " prompted Walt Disney Studios to invite her to screen test for the studio. The successful audition resulted in signing Kathleen to a exclusive three picture contract with Walt Disney Studios. She was the last actress signed a multiple film contract with Disney Studios since Annette Funicello.
"Snowball Express", directed by Norman Tokar, was the first film Kathleen completed for Disney Studios and was followed by "Charley and the Angel" directed by Vincent McEveety, starring Fred MacMurray and Cloris Leachman as her parents, as well as Harry Morgan. Kurt Russell portrayed her love interest in the film, as well as in real life. Kathleen completed her three picture contract with Disney by starring in the film "Superdad", again directed by Vincent McEveety and co-starring with Bob Crane as her father and Kurt Russell as Kathleen's love interest for the second time on screen. Kurt and Kathleen's personal relationship lasted well beyond the film's completion for 3 years.
Kathleen has guest-starred in numerous prime time television shows, including 4 episodes of "Gunsmoke" with actors James Arness, James Whitmore, Richard Jaeckel, Buck Taylor, Nicholas Hammond and Louise Latham; "The Partridge Family" with David Cassidy; "Doc Elliot" with James Farentino; "Love, American Style" segment 'Love and the Model Apartment' with Davy Jones as her newlywed husband; "Barbary Coast" with William Shatner and Doug McClure; 'The Ring' episode of "The Walton's" with Richard Thomas, Ralph Waite, and Will Geer; "Cannon" guest-starring in a dual role with William Conrad, Mitch Ryan, and Ralph Meeker; "Three for the Road" with Vincent Van Patten; "Barnaby Jones" with Buddy Ebsen and Kristoffer Tabori; and "Dirty Sally" with Jeanette Nolan.
Kathleen co-starred in three television Movies of the Week. She first appeared in a remake of the 1945 film "Double Indemnity" portraying the character of Lola Dietrickson and co-starring along with Richard Crenna, Lee J. Cobb, and Samantha Eggar. In 1975, she appeared in her second telemovie "Babe", the biographical film about Babe Didrikson directed by Buzz Kulik. The film starred Susan Clark in the title role, for which she won an Emmy for her performance and Alex Karras appeared in the film as Babe's husband.
In 1975 Kathleen appeared in her last film directed by long-time friend and mentor Vincent McEveety, in his made for TV film "The Last Day", starring Richard Widmark, Barbara Rush, Tim Matheson and Robert Conrad, in the role of Julia Johnson, Matheson's love interest.
In 1976 Kathleen was cast in the starring role of "Snowy" in a television series pilot, entitled "The Cheerleaders", directed by Richard Crenna, who had been impressed with Kathleen's work on a previous project they worked on together, the remake of "Double Indemnity". In fact, Crenna was instrumental in Universal Studios offering a seven year exclusive Studio contract to Kathleen, which she ultimately turned down. Starring along side Kathleen in "The Cheerleaders" TV Pilot was Debbie Zipp, Mary Kay Place and Darel Glaser.
Late in 1976 Kathleen moved back to the home she built in Connecticut and married. She had her daughter Megan in 1981 and divorced a couple of years later. In 1983, Kathleen returned to L.A. alone as a single mother of her two year old daughter, Megan. She was cast in the TV Series "The Rouster's" with Chad Everrett. It was not long after the cancellation of the series that Kathleen decided for the last time to leave L.A., and her career, so she could be a full time mom in raising her little girl, Megan, as well as providing her with the love and support of their family and friends back East.
In 1987 she responded to a call from Peter Bogdanovich to appear in her last film, "Illegally Yours", starring Rob Lowe.
All in all, Kathleen's career performing on stage, in film and on television has encompassed a period of over 30 years.
Mr. McLean appeared for years on television commercials as the Marlboro Man. After he learned he had cancer, he became an anti-smoking crusader. At a meeting of stockholders of Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro, Mr. McLean asked them to limit their advertising. In addition to his movie credits, Mr. McLean also appeared on the television programs 'Tate', 'Bonanza', 'The Westerner', 'The High Chaparral', 'The Virginian', and 'Gunsmoke'.
Paul Martin Engle was born on February 20, 1948 in Los Angeles, California, USA. As a child actor he is known for The Lone Ranger - four appearances (1955-57), The Persuader (1957), and Gunsmoke (1958). He appeared in fifty different roles between the ages of seven and fourteen. His final acting credits were three 1962 appearances on the TV series, Hazel.
Talented, prolific and versatile voice and character actor Walker Edmiston had a remarkable career in radio, movies and television that spanned over five decades. Walker was born on February 6, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri. Edmiston discovered at an early age that he could perfectly mimic other people's voices; he used to entertain his family with his vocal impression of Lionel Barrymore. After World War II ended Walker went to Los Angeles to study acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. Edmiston was introduced to animation producer Walter Lantz while performing in a play. This in turn lead to his first steady job doing various incidental voices on the children's show "Time for Beany." In the 50s and 60s he hosted "The Walker Edmiston Show," a children's TV program broadcast in Los Angeles which featured puppets of Edmiston's own creation that included Kingsley the Lion and Ravenswood the Buzzard. Walker worked often for Saturday morning TV series creators Sid and Marty Krofft; he supplied the voices of Sparky the Firefly on "The Bugaloos," Dr. Blinkey and Orson the Vulture on "H.R. Puffnstuf," and Big Daddy Ooze on "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters." Moreover, Edmiston portrayed a crazy old Civil War prospector on "Land of the Lost" and had a recurring role as token benevolent and intelligent Sleestak Enik. He provided the scary grunts and growls for the ferocious Zuni fetish doll in the final and most frightening segment of the made-for-TV horror anthology "Trilogy of Terror." Walker did the voice of Inferno for the "Transformers" cartoon show. For twenty years Edmiston was the voice of both beloved "nice guy" Tom Riley and the notorious Bart Rathbone on the popular radio program "Adventures in Odyssey." In addition, Walker was the voice of Ernie the Keebler Elf in countless TV commercials for ten years. Among the TV shows he had guest spots on are "Maverick," "Thriller," "The Virginian," "Green Acres," "Get Smart," "Star Trek," "The Wild, Wild West," "Bonanza," "Mission: Impossible," "Gunsmoke," "Fantasy Island," "The Waltons," "Little House on the Prairie," "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Falcon Crest," and "Knots Landing." He appeared on several records with Spike Jones, looped actor's voices on numerous films (one of these jobs was doing the off-camera lines for Orson Welles in "Start the Revolution Without Me"), and even supplied many different voices on all five "Planet of the Apes" pictures (he's the voice of the talking baby chimp in "Escape from the Planet of the Apes"). Walker Edmiston died from complications from cancer at age 81 on February 15, 2007.
Roger Ewing was born January 12, 1942 in Los Angeles, California. His acting career entailed several guest shots on TV shows, sitcoms and movies but he is best known for his role of a part-time deputy marshal and handy man, Clayton Thaddeus "Thad" Greenwood in thirty-six episodes (October 2, 1965 - September 25, 1967) of the popular TV western series, Gunsmoke, starring James Arness as Dodge City's Marshal Matt Dillon. After he left Gunsmoke, he played in two movies: as Donald Maxwell in the western "Smith" (1969) starring Glenn Ford and as Nelson in "Play It As It Lays" (1972) starring Tuesday Weld and Anthony Perkins. He then decided to call it quits for his acting career and pursued his other passion in the field of photography.
Like thousands of "day actors' during Hollywood's Golden Era, Max Wagner toiled in relative obscurity in supporting and bit roles with the occasional meaty character part. It was a film career that sustained him as a durable and dependable actor from the mid-1920s through the '70s.
The youngest of five boys, Wagner was born in Mexico, the son of William W. Wagner, a railroad conductor. His mother, Edith Wagner, was a writer and correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor during the Mexican Revolution. He was 10 years old when Mexican rebels fatally wounded his father. His mother then brought him to Salinas, California, where he struck up a lifelong friendship with John Steinbeck. Wagner served as a model for the boy in Steinbeck's novel "The Red Pony" and he would appear in many of the films based on Steinbeck's books.
Max's brothers - Jack, Blake and Bob - were already in Hollywood working on films. Jack and Blake worked under D.W. Griffith at Biograph as cameramen and later went to work for Hal Roach and Mack Sennett. Bob worked on the First National lot as an assistant cameraman. At 23 years old, Max joined his brothers in Hollywood. Jack was working on a Harry Langdon film in 1924 and helped Max secure his first acting part. His early experiences at Mack Sennett honed his talent in physical comedy that would serve him well throughout his career.
During the early talkie period studios often made Spanish-language versions of their popular films. Max, fluent in Spanish, acted in many such films in supporting roles under the name of Max Baron. Studios often went to him to serve as a Spanish-language coach for actors. He appeared alongside Lupe Velez in the "Mexican Spitfire" series and when he wasn't acting, monitored Velez's ad-libbing in Spanish to spot any profanity.
While most of Max's work was with major studios, he was a regular with Mascot, the low-budget studio that churned out serials including "The Lost Jungle (1934) and Tom Mix's "The Miracle Rider" (1935). Max was a regular in the Charlie Chan series and was a company player with Preston Sturges, appearing in such films as "The Palm Beach Story" (1942), "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" (1944), "The Great Moment" (1944) and "The Sin of Harold Diddlebock" (1946).
During World War II, he took a break to serve in the U.S. Army in North Africa.
His tough, brawny appearance made him a casting director's perfect choice for gangster roles, giving him unlimited work as a henchman in dozens of Warner Bros. films in the 1930s. Los Angeles newspaper gossip columnists used to jokingly chart his rise from Gangster No. 4 (no gun, no dialog) to Gangster No. 2 (gun and dialog).
A lifelong heavy drinker, Max struggled off and on with alcoholism. He entered Alcoholics Anonymous in 1950, but resume acting the following year.
His most notable appearance in films came in 1953 with the role of Sgt. Rinaldi in the cult sci-fi classic "Invaders from Mars." The same year he was also cast in "Donovan's Brain," another cult favorite.
By the 1960s, Max was cast mostly bit parts in film and television westerns and dramas, ending his career with small parts in such TV series as "Gunsmoke" and "Columbo."
Howard Culver's first radio shows were for CBS when he was in High School; worked most Hollywood-based radio shows, and many in San Francisco, including starring role as "Straight Arrow", and co-star with Mercedes McCambridge in "Defense Attorney". TV credits are many, including the entire 20 years of "Gunsmoke", a part of Jack Webb's stable, and one of Irwin Allen's regulars. He died in 1984 in Hong Kong after a vacation in China.
James Jay Ellis is now Executive Producer for StreamScene Productions, creators and distributors for several TV and Feature Film projects currently in development, including Sleepless On Sunset, Tracy Prowler Attaché, Chaplain, The Day, Beneath, Virt, Syntra and Heavenly Manors. New Media projects on StreamScene's roster include Best On Sunset brands and others to be launched in 2014.
James Jay Ellis was born in Los Angeles near the end of World War II to a nominally middle class, normally dysfunctional family. His father was a humorless corporate writer and mother a clinically depressed, prescription drug-addicted housewife.
From an early age he has been passionate about large social issues and continues to produce media to foster social change.
In college he studied the sciences - seriously pursuing pre-med courses, aiming to make a difference as a neurosurgeon. But along the way, after volunteering at Harbor General Hospital, he realized that medicine was filled with many whose motivations were very different from his own. In college, increasingly dissatisfied with slide rules and flat tops, struggling with calculus and organic chemistry, his vocational testing (not quite Clockwork Orange) resulted in the obvious... he was very much a "creative type," not a doctor.
Ellis studied acting at Bret Harte Junior High school, graduated from Washington High School and then El Camino College, majoring in marketing and minoring in theater. There, after switching from medicine to acting, he formed "Cinema Club of El Camino College."
So at this time, age 19 - adopting the stage name "Jay Ellis" - he began to act in little theater, cast as a small but shining supporting role (an adolescent who loses his virginity half on and half off stage), he was sure he had been discovered - Standing ovations and two Hollywood agents -- Yea... "Discovered" almost literally overnight.
But Hollywood, circa 1962 - as an actor - was not his cup of tea either. It was just at the time when the more gracious Studio System was giving way to the coarseness of Cattle Calls. Quite a transition. Young Jay Ellis quickly grew weary of casting directors describing their underwear and vague invitations to read scripts in their Malibu homes. Moreover he saw many of his fellow actors as "not well."
Jay Ellis was nevertheless cast in bit parts in TV series and in TV commercials. And during this time he studied assiduously at Desilu Professional Theatre Workshop (now the Paramount Pictures lot) and Oxford Theatre Workshop. At Oxford he fondly recalls the influence of Jack Donner. There in the mid 60's Donner passionately taught Ellis his unique acting technique he called "Essential Reality." The young actor also continued stage acting, appearing in many shows in many small theater productions.
At Desilu Ellis had free access to productions on the lot and glide effortlessly in and out of the huge sound stages where I Love Lucy, My Three Sons, Slattery's People, Ben Casey and the Bing Crosby Show were filmed.
In the late 60's, as valet parking lot attendant at LAX, Ellis met many stars and celebrities, and was invited by both Amanda Blake (Kitty on Gunsmoke) and Fess Parker (Adventures of Daniel Boone) to their sets where, just as at Desilu, he enjoyed all the advantages of hanging out with cast and crew... hundreds of invaluable hours, soaking in all the rich nuances of television sound stage and location production craft.
By this time he was hooked on working on the other side of the camera.
In 1970 Ellis was hired by CBS as District Sales Manager for their new Educational Media Division in Northern California. After a year in this position Ellis bought a home in Orinda and quit CBS to form and operate Humanics, Inc., a non-profit corp. with a mission to provide free fundraising and community relations services to Children's Services Organizations.
Based in Strawberry Studios that Ellis created in 1973 -- What else? This was Berkeley, barely out of the 60's, just down the road from UCB and People's Park -- he donated countless hours to Humanics Inc. beneficiaries while providing photography and video production services to clientele including Macy's Department Store and the University of California.
In the eighties Jay became a general contractor, remodeling homes mostly on the west side of Los Angeles and also launched a successful home inspection company. Out of his Beverly Hills builder's and home inspection offices, Ellis produced "Lights, Camera, Action!" a community cable TV show to teach underprivileged youth video production skills. In this decade Ellis married, fathered two sons, divorced. and navigated the challenging voyage of single parenthood, while continuing work in construction.
In the nineties his construction career path evolved into consultative work as home designer and ultimately successful upscale residential real estate community development. After completion of environmental award-winning Deerbrook View Estates Ellis began investing in and developing luxury properties in Florida and New York. He also launched Senior Marketing Services, a senior housing marketing and advertising firm, delivering creative services in print, television and radio media to clients nationwide.
In the new millennium Ellis' attention has again turned to creative media work - now focused on entertainment in television and motion pictures. In 2005 he formed StreamScene Productions which has now evolved into an independent production company, poised to produce and distribute exciting new media, television and feature film projects now in development.
Jordan Elsass informally started his acting career at age 4, when during a VBS production he decided to improv his way onto his family's "Greatest Life's Moments" DVD. It was clear that he loved humor and finding a way to make people laugh as often as possible. If "Professional Prankster" were a legitimate career, Jordan would seek to obtain his PhD and pursue that field wholeheartedly. He carries around an imaginary "reaction cam" wherever he goes, and his mother is the most frequent target. He hopes to train with Second City in the coming years.
In 2012, Jordan was cast in multiple main stage theatrical productions until he was discovered by a talent agent in a performance of "Inherit the Wind". Soon after, he worked on a TV pilot spec "Professor Isle's Laboratory", playing the ultimate nerd, "Poindexter". In June of 2014, he completed filming his first major production, "Billy and the Bandit", playing the lead role of Billy. This family show features Western stars of the 1960's, including James Drury, Gary Clarke and Roberta Shore, from "The Virginian", Buck Taylor from "Gunsmoke", and Donny Boaz of "My All American". Since then, he has been cast in many commercials, film shorts and even feature films. One of his gifts as an actor is the ability to play a broad range of roles, from serious drama to slapstick comedy, and everything in between. He loves being on set and continues taking classes to hone his skills further.
Jordan attends Austin Community College, working on both high school and college credits, and is a Mixed Martial Artist. He lives with his family in Georgetown, Texas.
Brendon Boone was born in Meridian, MS, to the Reverend Dr. Norman Boone Sr. and Leola (Speed) Boone. Brendon spent his early years moving from town to town every time his father was transferred by the Methodist Church to a new congregation, which included several years in San Diego while Rev. Boone served as a Navy Chaplain during WWII. As a child, Brendon excelled at basketball and football, and was the Mississippi state Soap Box Derby champion in 1952. When he eventually was disappointed by coming in second at the World Soap Box Derby competition in Ohio, he was encouraged by an attending celebrity, Jimmy Stewart, to return to Mississippi with his head held high, because he was still a champion in his home state. After studying architecture, English, and theology, first at Georgia Tech and then at Emory University, Brendon transferred to the prestigious theater program at Rollins College in Florida, where his portrayal of Sakini in the Annie Russell Theater production of "Teahouse of the August Moon" won widespread acclaim and attracted the attention of Hollywood producers. After a brief stint studying in New York, Brendon moved to Hollywood, where he began his career writing, producing and starring in "The Tormented Years" with Jane Russell's brother Jamie directing. Early guest starring roles on TV, in such shows as "Bonanza", "Rawhide" and "The Virginian" and the TV movie "Assault!" led to his starring in the WWII action series, "Garrison's Gorillas" in 1967-68, as the enigmatic, knife wielding half-breed Indian, Chief, a role he'd created originally for "Assault!", and which earned him a Golden Globe nomination from the International Hollywood Foreign Press Association for Most Popular TV Star - Male. Additional TV guest starring credits include "Gunsmoke" (where his portrayal of Hawk in the episode of the same named earned that series one of its highest ratings), "Quincy, ME", "Emergency", "Falcon Crest", "Fantasy Island", and "Jake and the Fat Man", and the TV movies "The Hanged Man", "Death Race", "Hanging by a Thread" and "The Hostage Heart". He also starred with Stephen Boyd, Cameron Mitchell, France Nuyen and Ray Milland in the 1973 feature film, "The Big Game".
Brendon's strong and abiding Christian faith and a lifetime of experiences, from his southern upbringing during the turbulent Civil Rights era, to his experiences as a single father raising his son, Norman Brendon Boone, III, have culminated in his 'swan song', his novel and screenplay, "Preacher and Co", a story of love, brotherhood, loyalty and redemption.
In January, 1999, Brendon married actress Karen Jensen.
Young Tommy Nolan was a familiar child star face on 50s and 60s TV and in a few films as well. The name may not be as familiar but his adorable, jug-eared presence was a well-known commodity throughout the Hollywood community at the time, and he was considered a reliable and talented tyke who could easily turn on the waterworks on command.
He was French-Canadian, born in Montreal on January 15, 1948. His family relocated to Los Angeles where the boy started dance classes at age 3. He made a reputable debut on TV playing Prince Edward of Wales, the son of Henry VIII, on a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation starring Sarah Churchill. As one who could easily tug at the heartstrings, he often played sympathetic young boys with afflictions, such as his crippled youngster on an episode of "My Friend Flicka" or his wealthy asthmatic on "Medic".
Tommy hit his TV peak at age 10 after being cast as Jody in the gentle, non-violent TV western Buckskin opposite Sally Brophy, who played his widowed mom. Set in the frontier town of Buckskin, Montana, the show was seen from his young perspective, narrating each episode sitting on his corral fence and playing his harmonica. Although it only played for one full season, Tommy had comic books out with his character and his autograph was well in demand at parades, conventions and other public outings.
After the series' demise, Tommy continued on other shows, many of them westerns such as "Rawhide", "The Rifleman", "Gunsmoke" and "Wagon Train", not to mention recurring roles on "Lassie". Unable to find another regular series that could maintain the momentum, he also was starting to move in his awkward teens stage and this pretty much signified that the end was not far away. After years of scattered parts here and there, including a role in the exploitation film Maryjane, he ended his career with a small part in the movie The Moonshine War.
Later years were spent as a writer, penning articles for a number of publications including "Playboy", the "Los Angeles Times" and the "Village Voice". He returned to acting as a young adult (shortening his name to the grown-up-sounding Tom Nolan) with a small part in the Richard Gere film Yanks and has since given it the old college try, appearing as a minor player in such films as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Up the Creek, School Spirit, Pretty Woman, The Thing Called Love and White Man's Burden. His most recent credit was as a valet in Batman Begins. On TV he has been glimpsed in everything from waiters to courtroom deputies. Now having entered his fifth decade of acting, Tom continues to live in the San Fernando Valley area.
David DeSantos was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley to an industry family. He grew up in the post production world, having a Grandmother who was a film editor on tv's first western, Gunsmoke. He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and has been working in the nations top regional theatres for almost a decade, as well as working on Television's highest regarded shows. In 2011, he was honored to be a part of a dramatized version of Shakespeare's Hamlet that was nominated for a Grammy for Best Spoken Word / Audiobook.
Composer Evan Evans' sensibilities and knowledge of film, along with his innate musical talent and abilities have afforded him incredible opportunities very early in his career. And, while the son of the legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans (8-time Grammy Award recipient, 31-time Grammy Award nominee and recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievment Award) he is driven by his passion for music and his wish to make proud the father he hardly knew. Evan, at the age of 5, was unaware of his musical lineage when his father died in 1980. He swiftly exhibited his interest in music, taking on the piano at age 6. His passion for music composition formed quickly, and so he began private studies. As early as the fifth grade, he obtained special dispensation to study electronic composition, 20th century composition, and experimental music as an 11-year old at nearby Saddleback Junior College. His talents and artistry were undeniable, and upon entering Middle School, he submitted an original three movement suite for piano in competition for the Disney Creativity Challenge Award. He won. He is still the youngest winner to date to recieve this national award for "Best Original Composition". As Evan's interests grew with his artistry, he was particularly drawn to the use of music in the Alfred Hitchcock classic, The 39 Steps, and so, decidedly adopted film and music as his lifetime goal of exploration. At age 12 he received his first truly professional assignment writing forty-two minutes of music for Shark Alert, a Capital Media/Phillips CD-interactive about the evolution of sharks. After writing for radio, television, CD-Rom and CD-i, Evan decided it was time to move to Hollywood to pursue film composing at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), with hopes of scoring his first feature film. Studying, writing, and conducting many times a week with veteran composer Don Ray (Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke), top-notch orchestrator Steven Scott Smalley (Batman, Lonesome Dove, Starship Troopers), and music editor Joseph E. Rand (Gorky Park,Titanic), at age 19, Evan emerged a 'seasoned' composer eager for that first feature film. His break came when he scored the intense, claustrophobic thriller, Killers (Icon Entertainment). Evan pursued further studies at the Nadia Boulanger Institute in Paris - sharing the same pedagogy as Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Elliot Goldenthal, among others - and in Los Angeles with Steven Scott Smalley, Clare Fischer, and musical giant Lalo Schifrin Coyote, Evans second feature, revolved around a mistaken identity and the smuggling of immigrants across the United States border. Evan's music exposes the rich, Spanish backdrop for which he very effectively wove a poetic, lyrical and sometimes driving, dramatic score. More recently, Evan's credits include the quirky, dark comedy, Table For One, starring Rebecca De Mornay and Michael Rooker; Tripfall, with Eric Roberts, John Ritter, and Rachel Hunter; and, Newsbreak, with Judge Reinhold, Michael Rooker, and Robert Culp.
|William Wellman Jr.
Rangy, sturdy-looking actor William Wellman Jr., was born in Los Angeles on January 20, 1937, one of seven children born to legendary director William A. Wellman and his fourth wife, one-time actress Dorothy Coonan Wellman, who appeared in a few of her husband's pictures. Bill Jr. spent most of his childhood surrounded by Hollywood celebrity. He got the fresh taste of a film set as a youngster when he appeared unbilled in a couple of his father's features. Following graduation, he attended Duke University but eventually abandoned that direction for a career in the movies.
Starting off in featured parts in the war pictures Lafayette Escadrille and Darby's Rangers, both of which directed by his father, Bill Jr. found other work on his own in less quality films. Some of the teen exploitation he found himself in have since attained cult status, including High School Confidential!, Macumba Love and College Confidential. "Billy Jack" director Tom Laughlin also began using Bill prominently in his early work such as Like Father, Like Son [The Young Sinner] and The Born Losers. In sparser times he managed to find some unbilled bits in several of Jerry Lewis's film slapstick of the 1960s, and fell in with the party crowd in A Swingin' Affair, Winter A-Go-Go and A Swingin' Summer. His TV career kicked in as the 1960s approached with a number of rugged guest roles on such established westerns as "Have Gun, Will Travel," "Rawhide," "Laramie" and "Gunsmoke."
In later years, Bill found work in a few more cult classics, including Black Caesar, It's Alive, and Laughlin's "Billy Jack" sequels. Establishing himself as a solid character actor, he took the lead in the apocalypse thrillers Image of the Beast and The Prodigal Planet, the latter featuring daughter Cathy Wellman. While the quality of a number of his films over the years are certainly suspect, Bill has managed longevity and durability in a very difficult business. Moreover, he is credited with nearly 200 movies and television shows, 17 stage productions and some 200 commercial and industrial films. In addition to his acting work, his nearly 50-year career includes writing and producing efforts. He has occasionally appeared as a guest lecturer and has been active at autograph conventions. Of his many siblings, sister Cissy Wellman has also established herself on stage, film and TV.
Hal Lynch was born on November 13, 1927 to Arnett Tilton Lynch and Kattie Bell Jacobs in Birmingham, Alabama, USA as James Harold Tilton Lynch. He was an actor, known for The Way West (1967), Spoon River (1969) and Wild Rovers (1971). His first television appearance was in a 1964 Gunsmoke episode. Hal also had western show roles on Daniel Boone, Custer, Bonanza, and Big Valley. During his later years he lived with his mother in Opp, Alabama, USA. On October 5, 2006, he dropped off his column at the newspaper office, picked up a suit at the dry cleaners, called 9-1-1 to report that a man had been shot at his address, and then shot himself in his front yard.
John Meston was one of radio and television's most important storytellers, and yet oddly enough his contributions are often overlooked today. He is the writer credited with creating "Gunsmoke," along with producer Norman MacDonnell, essentially starting the adult western on radio and television and setting the tone and style which would make both the radio and television versions of the series so memorable. Meston began in the program practices department at CBS in the 1940s before becoming a writer and editor. Overall, he wrote 183 of the "Gunsmoke" radio episodes (413 were produced in all between 1952 and 1961), and 196 of the 635 episodes produced for television between 1955 and 1975. While he never won any major award for his work, Meston was a master writer, serving up memorable characters in authentic western settings.