Dennis Weaver - Rotten Tomatoes

Dennis Weaver



A track star at the University of Oklahoma, Dennis Weaver went on to serve as a Navy Pilot during World War II. After failing to make the 1948 U.S. decathalon Olympic team, Weaver accepted the invitation of his college chum Lonny Chapman to give the New York theatre world a try. He understudied Chapman as "Turk Fisher" in the Broadway production Come Back Little Sheba, eventually taking over the role in the national company. Deciding that acting was to his liking, Weaver enrolled at the Actors' Studio, supporting his family by selling vacuum cleaners, tricycles and ladies' hosiery. On the recommendation of his Actors' Studio classmate Shelley Winters, Weaver was signed to a contract at Universal studios in 1952, where he made his film debut in The Redhead From Wyoming (1952). Though his acting work increased steadily over the next three years, he still had to take odd jobs to make ends meet. He was making a delivery for the florist's job where he worked when he was informed that he'd won the role of deputy Chester Goode on the TV adult western Gunsmoke. So as not to be continually upstaged by his co-star James Arness (who, at 6'7", was five inches taller than the gangly Weaver), he adopted a limp for his character--a limp which, along with Chester's reedy signature line "Mis-ter Diillon" and the deputy's infamously bad coffee, brought Weaver fame, adulation and a 1959 Emmy Award. Though proud of his work on Gunsmoke--"I don't think any less seriously of Chester than I did about King Lear in college"--Weaver began feeling trapped by Chester sometime around the series' fifth season. Having already proven his versatility in his film work (notably his portrayal of the neurotic motel night clerk in Orson Welles' Touch of Evil [1958]), Weaver saw to it that the Gunsmoke producers permitted him to accept as many "outside" TV assignments as his schedule would allow. Twice during his run as Chester, Weaver quit the series to pursue other projects. He left Gunsmoke permanently in 1964, whereupon he was starred in the one-season "dramedy" series Kentucky Jones (1965). In 1967, he headlined a somewhat more successful weekly, Gentle Ben (1967-69) in which he and everyone else in the cast played second fiddle to a trained bear (commenting upon his relationship with his "co-star", Weaver replied "I liked him, but it was a cold relationship...Ben didn't know me from a bag of doughnuts.") The most successful of Weaver's post-Gunsmoke TV series was McCloud, in which, from 1970 to 1977, he played deputy marshal Sam McCloud, a New Mexico lawman transplanted to the Big Apple. In addition to his series work, Weaver has starred in several made-for-TV movies over the past 25 years, the most famous of which was the Steven Spielberg-directed nailbiter Duel (1971). Dennis Weaver is the father of actor Robby Weaver, who co-starred with his dad on the 1980 TV series Stone.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet John Wayne's Tribute To America
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Escape from Wildcat Canyon
  • Grandpa Flint
2004
60% High Noon
  • Mart Howe
2000
No Score Yet The Virginian
  • Sam Balaam
2000
No Score Yet Submerged
  • Buck Stevens
2000
No Score Yet Visions of a New World
  • Actor
1999
No Score Yet Stolen Women, Captured Hearts
  • Capt. Farnsworth
1997
No Score Yet Two Bits and Pepper
  • Sheriff Pratt
1996
No Score Yet Two-Bits & Pepper
  • Actor
1995
No Score Yet Smithsonian's Great Battles of the Civil War, Vol. 5
  • Actor
1992
No Score Yet Relax with Dennis Weaver
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet The Return of Sam McCloud
  • Sam McCloud
  • Producer
1988
No Score Yet Disaster at Silo 7
  • Sheriff Harlen
1988
No Score Yet Reincarnation: Coming Back
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Bluffing It
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet A Winner Never Quits
  • Mr. Wyshner
1986
No Score Yet Going for the Gold: The Bill Johnson Story
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Cocaine: One Man's Seduction
  • Eddie Gant
1983
No Score Yet Don't Go to Sleep
  • Phillip
1982
No Score Yet The Day the Loving Stopped
  • Aaron Danner
1981
No Score Yet The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd
  • Dr. Samuel A. Mudd
1980
No Score Yet Battered
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Centennial
  • R.J. Poteet
1978
No Score Yet Intimate Strangers
  • Donald Halston - a wifebeater
1977
87% Duel
  • David Mann
1972
33% What's the Matter with Helen?
  • Lincoln Palmer
1971
No Score Yet A Man Called Sledge
  • Erwin Ward
1971
No Score Yet McCloud: Who Killed Miss U.S.A.? (Portrait of a Dead Girl )
  • Actor
1970
No Score Yet Gentle Ben, V. 2
  • Actor
1968
No Score Yet Gentle Ben, V. 1
  • Actor
1968
No Score Yet Mission Batangas
  • Chip Corbett
1968
No Score Yet Gentle Giant
  • Tom Wedloe
1967
No Score Yet Way...Way Out
  • Hoffman
1966
No Score Yet Duel at Diablo
  • Willard Grange
1966
No Score Yet The Gallant Hours
  • Lt. Cmdr. Andy Lowe
1960
96% Touch of Evil
  • Motel Clerk
1958
No Score Yet Dragnet
  • Capt. Lohrman
1956
No Score Yet Storm Fear
  • Hank
1955
No Score Yet Chief Crazy Horse
  • Maj. Carlisle
1955
No Score Yet Ten Wanted Men
  • Sheriff Clyde Gibbons
1955
78% The Bridges at Toko-Ri
  • Air Intelligence Officer
1954
No Score Yet Dangerous Mission
  • Pruitt
1954
No Score Yet War Arrow
  • Pino
1953
No Score Yet The Nebraskan
  • Capt. DeWitt
1953
No Score Yet Law and Order
  • Frank Durling
1953
No Score Yet It Happens Every Thursday
  • President, Chamber of Commerce
1953
No Score Yet The Mississippi Gambler
  • Julian
1953
No Score Yet The Redhead from Wyoming
  • Matt Jessup
1953
No Score Yet The Lawless Breed
  • Jim Clements
1953
No Score Yet Column South
  • Actor
1953
No Score Yet The Golden Blade
  • Rabble Rouser
1953
No Score Yet Horizons West
  • Dandy Taylor
1952

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet The Simpsons
1989
  • Voice
The Twilight Zone
1959-1964
  • Adam Grant

Quotes from Dennis Weaver's Characters