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Hank Patterson

  • Highest Rated: 94% Tarantula (1955)
  • Lowest Rated: 38% The Amazing Colossal Man (1957)
  • Birthday: Oct 9, 1888
  • Birthplace: Not Available
  • Hank Patterson is best known to audiences for his portrayal of farmer Fred Ziffel on Green Acres -- for five seasons, his laconic character and the antics of his pig Arnold helped make life hopelessly confusing for series protagonist Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert). Patterson, along with his younger contemporary Arthur Hunnicutt, was one of a handful of character actors who cornered the market on portraying cantankerous old coots, usually in a rural setting, in movies and on television during the middle of the 20th century. With his deep, resonant voice, which could project even when he spoke in the softest tones, Patterson could also evoke menace and doom, an attribute that producers and directors sometimes utilized to great effect on programs like Twilight Zone. He was born Elmer Calvin Patterson in Springville, AL, in 1888, but by the 1890s his family had moved to Texas, and Patterson spent most of his boyhood in the town of Taylor. His main interest was music, and he studied in hope of a serious performing career, but was forced to enter showbusiness as a vaudeville pianist, playing with traveling shows. By the end of the 1920s, he'd made his way to California, and he entered the movie business as an actor -- despite his lack of formal training -- during the 1930s. Patterson's earliest identified screen work was an uncredited appearance in the Roy Rogers Western The Arizona Kid (1939). His first credited screen role was in the drama I Ring Doorbells, made at Producers Releasing Corporation. Patterson spent the next nine years working exclusively in Westerns, starting with Thomas Carr's The El Paso Kid, starring Sunset Carson. Among the best of the oaters that Patterson worked in were Edwin L. Marin's Abilene Town and Henry King's The Gunfighter, but most of the pictures that he did were on the low-budget side, and far less prestigious. He played a succession of blacksmiths, hotel clerks, farmers, shopkeepers, and other townsmen, usually bit roles and character parts. Beginning with Jack Arnold's Tarantula, Patterson moved into occasional modern character portrayals as well. Patterson also appeared on dozens of television series, ranging from The Abbott & Costello Show (where he played a very creepy mugger in "Lou Falls for Ruby") to Perry Mason. He was nearly as ubiquitous a figure on Twilight Zone as he was in any Western series, appearing in at least three installments, most notably as an old man in a modern setting in "Kick the Can," and as an ominous general store proprietor in "Come Wander With Me." It was the 19th century and rural settings, however, that provided his bread and butter -- he had appeared in several episodes of Gunsmoke, and in 1963 became a continuing character on the series in the role of Hank Miller, the Dodge City stableman. That same year, Patterson took on the semi-regular role of farmer Fred Ziffel in the rural comedy Petticoat Junction; and in 1965, that role was expanded into the series Green Acres -- eventually, he even portrayed Fred Ziffel in episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies as well. The association of his character with the utterly surreal (and extremely popular) porcine character of Arnold the Pig (also known as Arnold Ziffel) ensured that Patterson was one of the most visible supporting players on the series. Ironically, by the time he was doing Green Acres, Patterson was almost completely deaf, but the producers loved his portrayal so much, that they worked around this by having the dialogue coach lying on the floor out-of-shot, tapping at his leg with a yardstick when it was his cue to speak a line. Patterson passed away in 1975 of bronchial pneumonia at the age of 86. He was the great-uncle of actress Tea Leoni.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

Year

No Score Yet Monster on the Campus Mr. Townsend 1958
No Score Yet The Decks Ran Red Mr. Moody 1958
No Score Yet Earth vs. the Spider Hugo 1958
No Score Yet Terror in a Texas Town Brady 1958
No Score Yet Attack of the Puppet People Doorman 1958
No Score Yet The Storm Rider Milstead 1957
38% The Amazing Colossal Man Henry 1957
No Score Yet Julie Ellis 1956
No Score Yet The First Traveling Saleslady 1st Cowhand 1956
94% Tarantula Josh 1955
No Score Yet Silver City Bonanza Postman 1951
No Score Yet James Brothers of Missouri Duffy 1950
No Score Yet Desperadoes of the West Hard Rock 1950
No Score Yet Riders in the Sky Luke 1949
No Score Yet Night Time in Nevada Second Tramp 1948
No Score Yet Oklahoma Badlands Fred 1948
No Score Yet Springtime in the Sierras Old Timer 1947
No Score Yet Bells of San Angelo The Old Timer 1947
No Score Yet Under Colorado Skies Slim 1947
No Score Yet Robin Hood of Texas Taxi Driver (uncredited) 1947
No Score Yet Santa Fe Uprising Actor 1946
No Score Yet I Ring Doorbells Mr. Bradley 1946

TV

Rating

Title

Credit

Year

No Score Yet Gunsmoke
1955-1975
Hank Miller Jake Hank Bob Miller Cowboy
  • 1973
  • 1972
  • 1968
  • 1967
  • 1966
  • 1965
  • 1964
  • 1962
  • 1961
  • 1960
  • 1959
  • 1958
  • 1957
  • 1956
  • 1955
No Score Yet Green Acres
1965-1971
Fred Ziffell
  • 1971
  • 1970
  • 1969
  • 1967
  • 1966
  • 1965
No Score Yet The Beverly Hillbillies
1962-1971
Fred Ziffel
  • 1969
No Score Yet The Andy Griffith Show
1960-1968
Hobo
  • 1965
80% The Twilight Zone
1959-1964
Gentry Frietag Storekeeper
  • 1964
  • 1963
  • 1962
No Score Yet Bonanza
1959-1973
Blacksmith
  • 1960
No Score Yet Maverick
1957-1962
Perkins
  • 1959
  • 1958
No Score Yet Perry Mason
1957-1966
Jack Gilly
  • 1958

QUOTES FROM Hank Patterson CHARACTERS

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