Forrest Tucker

Highest Rated: 100% Sands of Iwo Jima (1950)
Birthday: Feb 12, 1919
Birthplace: Plainfield, Indiana, USA
Forrest Tucker occupied an odd niche in movies -- though not an "A" movie lead, he was, nonetheless, a prominent "B" picture star and even a marquee name, who could pull audiences into theaters for certain kinds of pictures. From the early/mid-1950s on, he was a solid presence in westerns and other genre pictures. Born Forrest Meredith Tucker in Plainfield, Indiana in 1919, he was bitten by the performing bug early in life -- he made his debut in burlesque while he was still under-age. Shortly after graduating from high school in 1937, he enlisted in the United States Army, joining a cavalry unit. Tucker next headed for Hollywood, where his powerful build and six-foot-four frame and his enthusiasm were sufficient to get him a big-screen debut in The Westerner (1940), starring Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan. Signed to Columbia Pictures, he mostly played anonymous tough-guy roles over the next two years, primarily in B pictures, before entering the army in 1943. Resuming his career in 1946, he started getting bigger roles on a steady basis in better pictures, and in 1948 signed with Republic Pictures. He became a mainstay of that studio's star roster, moving up to a co-starring role in Sands Of Iwo Jima (1949), which also brought him into the professional orbit of John Wayne, the movie's star. Across the early/middle 1950s, Tucker starred in a brace of action/adventure films and westerns, alternating between heroes and villains, building up a significant fan base. By the mid-1950s, he was one of the company's top box-office draws. As it also turned out, Tucker's appeal was international, and he went to England in the second half of the decade to play starring roles in a handful of movies. At that time, British studios such as Hammer Films needed visiting American actors to boost the international appeal of their best productions, and Tucker fulfilled the role admirably in a trio of sci-fi/horror films: The Crawling Eye, The Cosmic Monsters, and The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas. Part of Tucker's motivation for taking these roles, beyond the money, he later admitted, was his desire to sample the offerings of England's pubs -- Tucker was a two-fisted drinker and, in those days, was well able to handle the effects of that activity so that it never showed up on-screen. And he ran with the opportunity afforded by those three science fiction movies -- each of those films, he played a distinctly different role, in a different way, but always with a certain fundamental honesty that resonated with audiences. When he returned to Hollywood, he was cast as Beauregard Burnside in Auntie Mame (1958), which was the top-grossing movie of the year. Then stage director Morton De Costa, seeing a joyful, playful romantic huckster in Tucker (where others had mostly seen an earnest tough-guy), picked him to star as Professor Harold Hill in the touring production of The Music Man -- Tucker played that role more than 2000 times over the years that followed. He was also the star of the 1964 Broadway show Fair Game For Lovers (in a cast that included Leo Genn, Maggie Hayes, and a young Alan Alda), which closed after eight performances. The Music Man opened a new phase for Tucker's career. The wily huckster became his image, one that was picked up by Warner Bros.' television division, which cast him in the role of Sgt. Morgan O'Rourke, the charmingly larcenous post-Civil War cavalry soldier at the center of the western/spoof series F-Troop. That series only ran for two seasons, but was in syndicated reruns for decades afterward, and though Tucker kept his hand in other media -- returning to The Music Man and also starring in an unsold pilot based on the movie The Flim-Flam Man (taking over the George C. Scott part), it was the part of O'Rourke with which he would be most closely identified for the rest of his life. He did occasionally take tougher roles that moved him away from the comedy in that series -- in one of the better episodes of the series

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

CREDIT
No Score Yet Timestalkers (Time Stalkers) Texas John Cody 1987
No Score Yet Thunder Run Charlie Morrison 1986
No Score Yet Outtakes Actor 1986
No Score Yet The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Duke 1981
No Score Yet Rare Breed Jess Cutler 1981
No Score Yet The Rebels Actor 1979
No Score Yet An American Hero Carl Pusser 1978
No Score Yet Final Chapter---Walking Tall Grandpa Pusser 1977
No Score Yet The Incredible Rocky Mountain Race Mike Fink 1977
No Score Yet The Wackiest Wagon Train in the West Actor 1976
No Score Yet The McCullochs J.J. McCulloch 1975
No Score Yet Cancel My Reservation Reese 1972
No Score Yet Columbo: Blueprint for Murder Actor 1972
No Score Yet Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol Harry McMartin 1972
No Score Yet Footsteps Bradford Emmons 1972
83% Chisum Lawrence Murphy 1970
No Score Yet Barquero Mountain Phil 1970
No Score Yet The Night They Raided Minsky's (The Night They Invented Striptease) Trim Houlihan 1968
No Score Yet Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title Romantic Diner Customer (uncredited) 1966
No Score Yet Counterplot Brock Miller 1959
63% The Crawling Eye (The Trollenberg Terror) Alan Brooks 1958
93% Auntie Mame Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside 1958
No Score Yet Fort Massacre McGurney 1958
No Score Yet Cosmic Monsters Gil Graham 1958
No Score Yet The Deerslayer Harry Marsh 1957
No Score Yet Three Violent People Cable 1957
No Score Yet The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas Tom Friend 1957
No Score Yet Big Cat Actor 1956
No Score Yet Finger Man Dutch Becker 1955
No Score Yet Rage at Dawn Frank Reno 1955
No Score Yet Fresh from Paris Dan Bradley 1955
No Score Yet Laughing Anne Jem Farrell 1954
No Score Yet Big Moment Actor 1954
No Score Yet Jubilee Trail John Ives 1954
No Score Yet Trouble in the Glen Maj. Lance Lansing 1954
No Score Yet Pony Express Wild Bill Hickok 1953
No Score Yet Ride the Man Down Sam 1952
No Score Yet Bugles in the Afternoon Donavan 1952
No Score Yet Montana Belle Mac 1952
No Score Yet Hurricane Smith Dan 1952
No Score Yet Hoodlum Empire Charles A. 'Charley' Pignatalli 1952
No Score Yet Warpath Sgt. O'Hara 1951
100% Sands of Iwo Jima Pfc. Al Thomas 1950
No Score Yet The Big Cat Gil Hawks 1950
No Score Yet The Nevadan Tom Tanner 1950
No Score Yet Hellfire McLean 1949
No Score Yet Two Guys from Texas `Tex' Bennett 1948
No Score Yet Coroner Creek Ernie Combs 1948
No Score Yet Gunfighters (The Assassin) Hen Orcutt 1947
100% The Yearling Lem Forrester 1946
No Score Yet Never Say Goodbye Cpl. Fenwick Lonkowski 1946
No Score Yet Keeper of the Flame Geoffrey 'Geoff' Midford 1942
No Score Yet Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood Whipper 1942
No Score Yet My Sister Eileen Sand Hog 1942
No Score Yet Counter-Espionage Anton Schugg 1942
No Score Yet Submarine Raider Pulaski 1942
No Score Yet Emergency Landing Jerry Barton 1941
100% The Westerner Wade Harper 1940

TV

CREDIT
No Score Yet Murder, She Wrote
1984-1996
  • 1984
No Score Yet Little House on the Prairie
1974-1984
Jim Tyler
  • 1982
  • 1975
No Score Yet Kojak
1973-1978
Zachary
  • 1976
No Score Yet The Bionic Woman
1976-1978
  • 1976
No Score Yet Marcus Welby, M.D.
1969-1976
Stewart
  • 1974
No Score Yet Columbo
1968-2003
Williamson
  • 1972
No Score Yet Gunsmoke
1955-1975
Sergeant Holly Brad McClain Adam Benteen Sgt. Holly Will Donavan Charron
  • 1972
  • 1970
  • 1967
  • 1965
No Score Yet Bonanza
1959-1973
Frank Ryan
  • 1971
No Score Yet Night Gallery
1970-1973
Dr. Stringfellow
  • 1971
No Score Yet Rawhide
1959-1965
Dan Carlock
  • 1963

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