Burl Ives (1909–1995)

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Burl Ives was one of six children born to an Ulster-Scots farming family. He first sang in public for a soldiers' reunion when he was age 4. In high school, he learned the banjo and played fullback, intending to become a football coach when he enrolled at Eastern Illinois State Teacher's College in 1927. He dropped out in 1930 and wandered, ... See full bio »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


Known For

The Big Country Rufus Hannassey
True Romance Soundtrack


Hide Hide Show Show Actor (57 credits)
 1988 Two Moon Junction
Sheriff Earl Hawkins
 1987 Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story (TV Movie)
F.W. Woolworth (part 1)
 1987 Danger Bay (TV Series)
- Old Friends (1987)
 1986 Uphill All the Way
Sheriff John Catledge
 1984 The Ewok Adventure (TV Movie)
Narrator (voice)
 1982 White Dog
 1981 Earthbound
Ned Anderson
 1978 The New Adventures of Heidi (TV Movie)
 1978 The Bermuda Depths (TV Movie)
 1977 Roots (TV Mini Series)
Senator Arthur J. Justin
- Part VIII (1977) ... Senator Arthur J. Justin
 1976 Baker's Hawk
Mr. McGraw
 1976 Little House on the Prairie (TV Series)
Sam Shelby
- The Hunters (1976) ... Sam Shelby
 1976 Captains and the Kings (TV Mini Series)
Old Syrup
- Chapter V (1976) ... Old Syrup
 1976 The First Easter Rabbit (TV Short)
Narrator / Older Stuffy (voice)
 1975 Hugo the Hippo
Narrator (voice)
 1972 Night Gallery (TV Series)
Old Man Doubleday
- The Other Way Out (1972) ... Old Man Doubleday
 1971-1972 Alias Smith and Jones (TV Series)
Big Mac McCreedy
- The McCreedy Feud (1972) ... Big Mac McCreedy
- Which Way to the O.K. Corral? (1972) ... Big Mac McCreedy
- The McCreedy Bust: Going, Going, Gone (1972) ... Big Mac McCreedy
- Jailbreak at Junction City (1971) ... Big Mac McCreedy (voice, uncredited)
- The McCreedy Bust (1971) ... Big Mac McCreedy
 1969-1972 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers (TV Series)
Walter Nicholls / Walter Nichols
- Lisa, I Hardly Knew You (1972) ... Walter Nicholls
- In Sudden Darkness (1972) ... Walter Nicholls
- The Long Morning After: Part 2 (1972) ... Walter Nicholls
- The Long Morning After: Part 1 (1972) ... Walter Nicholls
- The Letter of the Law (1971) ... Walter Nicholls
 1971 A City of the King (TV Movie)
 1970 Only Way Out Is Dead (TV Movie)
T.M. Trask
 1970 The McMasters
 1969 Daniel Boone (TV Series)
Prater Beaseley
- Love and Equity (1969) ... Prater Beaseley
- A Tall Tale of Prater Beaseley (1969) ... Prater Beaseley
 1969 The Whole World Is Watching (TV Movie)
Walter Nichols
 1968 The Sound of Anger (TV Movie)
Walter Nichols
 1968 Pinocchio (TV Movie)
 1968 The Name of the Game (TV Series)
Arthur Jellicoe
- The Taker (1968) ... Arthur Jellicoe
 1968 The Other Side of Bonnie and Clyde
Narrator (voice)
 1967 Those Fantastic Flying Fools
Phineas T. Barnum
 1967 NBC Children's Theatre (TV Series)
- Little Georgie of Rabbit Hill (1967) ... Narrator
 1966 The Daydreamer
Father Neptune (voice)
 1965-1966 O.K. Crackerby! (TV Series)
O.K. Crackerby
- Operation Susan (1966) ... O.K. Crackerby
- 3+1=1 (1965) ... O.K. Crackerby
- Smile and the World... (1965) ... O.K. Crackerby
- Bitter Ravioli (1965) ... O.K. Crackerby
- Crackerby and the Cuckoo Game (1965) ... O.K. Crackerby
 1964 I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Short)
Singer (voice)
 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (TV Movie)
Sam the Snowman (voice)
 1964 Ensign Pulver
Captain Morton
 1964 The Brass Bottle
Fakrash Al-Amash
 1963 Summer Magic
Osh Popham
 1962 The Spiral Road
Dr. Brits Jansen
 1960 Zane Grey Theatre (TV Series)
Jonathan J. Dwire
- The Ox (1960) ... Jonathan J. Dwire
 1960 Let No Man Write My Epitaph
Judge Bruce Mallory Sullivan
 1959 Our Man in Havana
Dr. Hasselbacher
 1956-1959 General Electric Theater (TV Series)
King David
- Absalom, My Son (1959) ... King David
 1959 Day of the Outlaw
Jack Bruhn
 1958 Wind Across the Everglades
 1958 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Big Daddy
 1958 The Big Country
Rufus Hannassey
 1958 Desire Under the Elms
Ephraim / Husband
 1957 Playhouse 90 (TV Series)
Captain Keller
- The Miracle Worker (1957) ... Captain Keller
 1957 The United States Steel Hour (TV Series)
Matthew Randolph
- To Die Alone (1957) ... Matthew Randolph
 1956 The Power and the Prize
George Salt
 1955 East of Eden
Sam - the Sheriff
 1950 Sierra
 1948 So Dear to My Heart
Uncle Hiram Douglas
 1948 Station West
Hotel Clerk
 1946 Smoky
Show Show Additional Crew (1 credit)
Show Show Soundtrack (60 credits)
Show Show Thanks (1 credit)
Show Show Self (71 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (13 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

CD: "In Memorian" (ZZB) See more »

Publicity Listings:

1 Print Biography | See more »

Official Sites:

Official Site


6' (1.83 m)


Dorothy Koster  (his death) | See more »


White, Cordelia | Ives, Levi "Frank"


Ives, Clarence (sibling) | See more »

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

[on the Spanish Civil War] To me, the Republican elected government stood for freedom and the people, democratic ideals and just the common decencies I'd learned from my father years before. I felt that the Spanish war was a moral fight and I was part of it. Every man would feel its effects. See more »


Ives was identified in the 1950 pamphlet "Red Channels" and blacklisted as an entertainer with Communist ties. See more »


His role as Sam the Snowman in Rankin/Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer See more »

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