Dennis Weaver Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trivia (30)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Joplin, Missouri, USA
Died in Ridgway, Colorado, USA  (complications from cancer)
Birth NameWilliam Dennis Weaver
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Dennis Weaver first became familiar to television audiences as Matt Dillon's assistant Chester Goode in Gunsmoke (1955). After playing the part for nine years, he moved on to star in his own series, Kentucky Jones (1964). However, the show failed to find mass appeal and was cancelled after just one season. Weaver had to wait another five years before finally emerging as a TV star in his own right. Beginning in 1971, he portrayed the titular Marshal Sam McCloud, a lawman from Taos, New Mexico, working in New York to learn the ways of policing in Manhattan's 27th Precinct under the auspices of a frequently apoplectic Chief of Detectives, Peter Clifford (J.D. Cannon). Accented in a slow Texan drawl (his regular catchphrase was "There you go..") and decked out with cowboy hat, lasso and sheepskin jacket, McCloud went about his tasks pretty much the same way he would have done out in the West -- often to the chagrin of his boss, nevertheless always apprehending the villain in the end (sometimes on horseback). His fractious relationship with Clifford provided much of the enjoyment inherent in the show. Weaver later recalled "McCloud was the kind of role I left Gunsmoke to get... I wanted to be a leading man instead of a second banana." Between 1971 and 1977, McCloud (1970) (based in part on the Clint Eastwood film Coogan's Bluff (1968)) was part of Universal's "Mystery Movie" which filled a slot at NBC with films lasting from 74 to 97 minutes (longer than your average TV episode) and which rotated several productions, the most important being Columbo (1971) (Peter Falk), Banacek (1972) (George Peppard), McMillan & Wife (1971) (Rock Hudson) and Hec Ramsey (1972) (Richard Boone).

Weaver hailed from Joplin, Missouri, where his father (who was of mixed English, Irish, Scottish, Cherokee, and Osage ancestry) worked for the local electric company. Young Dennis proved himself a gifted track and field athlete while studying for a degree in fine arts at the University of Oklahoma. During World War II, he served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy. After the war, Weaver forsook sports for a career on the stage, undertaking further drama classes at the Actor's Studio in New York. One of his fellow alumni was actress Shelley Winters who later helped him to get into films. Following his Broadway debut in "Come Back, Little Sheba", Weaver found work in plays by Tennessee Williams off-Broadway and then made his movie debut at Universal in the western Horizons West (1952). He made several more pictures, mostly westerns, but was largely cast in minor roles. He languished in relative obscurity until he landed several guest spots on Jack Webb's Dragnet (1951). His career really took off with McCloud and with the Steven Spielberg-directed Duel (1971), a thriller made for the small screen (essentially a one-man show) in which a lone driver is menaced by a sinister petrol tanker driven by an unseen force. He later found other regular television work (Stone (1979), Emerald Point N.A.S. (1983) and Buck James (1987)), but none of these managed to recapture his earlier successes. In Lonesome Dove: The Series (1994), he was true to his colours, playing western hero Buffalo Bill Cody, a.k.a. Buffalo Bill.

Weaver served as President of the Screen Actors Guild from 1973 to 1975. He was in the forefront of environmental activism, a proponent of alternative energy and recycling (his Colorado home, called "Earthship", was primarily constructed from recycled tyres and aluminium cans).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Family (3)

Spouse Geraldine Stowell (20 October 1945 - 24 February 2006)  (his death)  (3 children)
Children Robert Weaver
Rusty Weaver
Parents Walter Weaver
Lena Prather

Trivia (30)

Was a track and field athlete from the University of Oklahoma.
Placed 6th in the 1948 Olympic Trials in the Decathlon. Bob Mathias placed first; Weaver won the final event, the 1500 meter run.
Born at 8:00am-CDT.
Shelley Winters gave him one of his first real breaks by helping him get a part in a stage production of "Come Back, Little Sheba."
In 1958, he formed a singing trio with Milburn Stone and Amanda Blake. In 1960, the trio broke the house record for the Albuquerque Arena during the New Mexico State Fair.
(1973-1975) President of Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
Had three grandchildren: Jennifer Weaver, Travis Weaver and Jesse Weaver.
Was a committed environmentalist; Weaver's home near Santa Fe, NM, is constructed almost entirely out of recycled materials.
Father of actor Robert Weaver, actor/producer/director Rick Weaver and Rusty Weaver.
Lost a daughter-in-law, Lynne Ann Weaver (who was married to his son, Robert Weaver), to a July 2003 Santa Monica, California, car accident that killed more than eight people.
Inducted (as a cast member of Gunsmoke (1955)) into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1981.
Almost didn't get the part of "Chester Goode" on Gunsmoke (1955) until he asked for a second chance to read the lines in a humorous, countrified accent and won the role.
Served as the president of "Love Is Feeding Everyone" (LIFE), which fed 150,000 needy people a week in Los Angeles County. Also, founded the Institute of Ecolonomics, which sought solutions to economic and environmental problems.
He was a struggling actor in Hollywood in 1955, earning $60 a week delivering flowers when he was offered $300 a week for a role in a new CBS television series, Gunsmoke (1955). After nine years as Chester, who he played with a stiff-legged gait, he was earning $9,000 a week.
Died on the same day and at the same age as Don Knotts.
Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Actors Branch).
Built an Earthship environmental home in Ridgway, Colorado.
He was a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party and a vocal opponent of the Iraq war.
Good friend of Robert Brubaker. Their sons went to school together.
Signed to a contract at Universal in 1952.
In 1948, he graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Fine Arts and Theater.
He was of part-American Indian background, being a 'registered Cherokee', as well as Osage.
Served as an aviator in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Introducing movies on the Encore Westerns channel. Telling a little about the films before they are shown. [2005]
Used to live across the street from Julie London.
Was good friends with Guy Williams.
Best known by the public for his role as Chester Goode on Gunsmoke (1955) and for his lead role as Sam McCloud on McCloud (1970).
Weaver shot an appearance for the opener of Dolly Parton's 1987 variety show to tie in with his TV series Buck James (1987), which directly followed it on ABC's schedule. Several photos exist, and the scene was mentioned in the press, but it was ultimately replaced by a skit with Pee-Wee Herman.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Television at 6822 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on September 9, 1986.
Contrary to popular belief, on Gunsmoke (1955), his character "Chester Goode" was --never a 'Deputy Marshal', just a helper. However, when Ken Curtis joined the series as regular character "Festus Haggen", he was a 'Deputy Marshal'.

Personal Quotes (1)

I knew that if I kept playing til 'Gunsmoke' was over, I would never play anything else.

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