Carter (left) as C.E. Carruthers with James Whitmore and Janet De Gore, 1962.
|Born||Chester Conlan Carter
October 3, 1934
Center Ridge, Conway County, Arkansas, USA
|Alma mater||Southeast Missouri State University at Cape Girardeau|
|Occupation||Retired airline pilot; former actor: Combat! and The Law and Mr. Jones on ABC|
(1) Patrician Ann Musser Carter
Chester Conlan Carter (born October 3, 1934) is a former film and television actor best known for the role of "Doc," featured in sixty-six episodes of the Rick Jason and Vic Morrow ABC World War II television series Combat! (1962–1967). In 1964, Carter was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor" on the Combat! episode "The Hostages." From 1960-1962, Carter appeared as C.E. Carruthers, the assistant to the attorney Abraham Lincoln Jones, portrayed by James Whitmore (1921–2009), in ABC's legal drama, The Law and Mr. Jones.
Carter was born in Center Ridge, an unincorporated community in Conway County in north central Arkansas, but he was reared on a farm near Matthews in New Madrid County in the far southeastern "Boot" of Missouri. He graduated from Matthews High School and was the state champion in the pole vault in 1951-1952. He was also named to the all-state track team. From 1952-1954, he attended Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau on an athletic scholarship. He then served in the United States Air Force from 1954–1956 and acquired an interest in flying.
In 1956, he relocated to San Francisco, California, to study with Mara Alexander Gilbert of the Bay City Actor's Lab. For three years, he concentrated on musical comedy and appeared in more than ten productions before he relocated to North Hollywood. His first television appearances were in 1959-1960 on the Four Star westerns, Johnny Ringo with Don Durant, The Westerner with Brian Keith, and the parent program, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater. At the age of twenty-six, Carter acquired the secondary role on Four Star's The Law and Mr. Jones with Whitmore and Janet De Gore.
In 1963, he joined Combat! at the start of its second season, having also appeared as a guest star in the first season of the program as a corporal in the episode "Hill 256." In 1964, the same year as his Emmy nomination, Carter obtained his first film role in the comedy, Quick Before It Melts, in which he portrayed an uncouth radio operator in Antarctica.
After Combat!, he appeared in the 1973 feature film White Lightning with Burt Reynolds as well as on many television programs. He guest starred in 1961 on NBC's Outlaws as Perry Brathwaite in the segment "The Brathwaite Brothers". He also appeared in Clint Eastwood's Rawhide, in Don Durant's Johnny Ringo, and on five occasions on James Arness's Gunsmoke, all on CBS. He was featured three times on ABC's The Big Valley with Barbara Stanwyck and twice on the network's The Rifleman with Chuck Connors. He also guest starred twice on NBC's Bonanza and The Virginian with James Drury and on CBS's crime dramas Barnaby Jones with Buddy Ebsen and Mannix with Mike Connors. He also appeared as an ensign in the 1963 episode The Thirty-Fathom Grave of CBS's The Twilight Zone.
One of Carter's more unusual roles was in 1970 as L. Frank Baum, the creator of The Wizard of Oz, on the episode "The Wizard of Aberdeen" on the syndicated series Death Valley Days. Other appearances were on ABC's Alias Smith and Jones, NBC's The Wide Country with Earl Holliman and Dr. Kildare with Richard Chamberlain, and CBS's The Dukes of Hazzard. He also appeared in an uncredited role in The Hellstrom Chronicle. His last television appearance was as Police Chief Ed Train in a 1986 episode of ABC's MacGyver adventure series starring Richard Dean Anderson.
After he acquired his commercial pilot's license, Carter left acting. He lives in the resort community of Branson in southwestern Missouri. He formerly resided in Naples, Florida, where he piloted business executives around the United States in their own private aircraft. He had also been a corporate pilot. On December 21, 1957, he married the former Patrician Ann Musser (born 1937). Carter is currently married to the former Betty Carol Murphy (born 1935). He is a brother of actor John Carter (born 1927).
- IMDB, Emmy Award nominations, Conlan Carter for Combat!: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0141543/awards
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, 4th edition, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, p. 471
- Loraine Wingham, IMDb, Conlan Carter mini-biography: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0141543/bio
- IMDB, Itemized listing of Conlan Carter roles: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0141543/
- US Search: People Search and Background Check: Chester Conlan Carter