Howard McNear

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Howard McNear
Floyd1.jpg
McNear as Floyd Lawson
Born Howard Terbell McNear
(1905-01-27)January 27, 1905
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died January 3, 1969(1969-01-03) (aged 63)
San Fernando, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Complications from pneumonia caused by a stroke
Resting place
Los Angeles National Cemetery
Nationality American
Alma mater Oatman School of Theater
Occupation Actor
Years active 1930s–1969
Spouse(s) Helen McNear (?–1969)
Children 1

Howard Terbell McNear (January 27, 1905 – January 3, 1969)[1][2] was an American stage, screen and radio character actor. McNear is best remembered as Floyd Lawson, the barber in The Andy Griffith Show and as Doc Charles Adams in CBS Radio's Gunsmoke (1952–1961).

Career[edit]

McNear was born in Los Angeles to Luzetta M. Spencer and Franklin E. McNear.[3] He studied at the Oatman School of Theater and later joined a stock company in San Diego.[4] McNear also worked in radio from the late 1930s, distinguishing himself in the 1937–1940 radio serial Speed Gibson of the International Secret Police as ace operator Clint Barlow.[5] McNear could be effective in such authoritative roles, but he gravitated more toward character roles, often comic.

He enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army Air Corps on November 17, 1942 during World War II.[6]

As "Doc" in the Gunsmoke radio cast

He created the role of Doc Charles Adams in CBS Radio's Gunsmoke (1952–1961).[7] McNear was under contract to CBS for many years and was featured in many of the network's radio and TV programs. From 1955 to 1960 he appeared frequently, in various quirky roles, in the popular radio detective series Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.[8]

McNear made his film debut in an uncredited role in the 1953 film Escape from Fort Bravo. Over the course of his career, he would appear in over 100 film and television guest spots. In 1958, McNear guest starred as a barber named Andy on an episode of Leave It to Beaver, a role which proved prophetic.[9] In 1961, he was cast as the vague, chatty barber Floyd Lawson on The Andy Griffith Show. During the show's run, McNear suffered a stroke that rendered the left side of his body nearly paralyzed.[10] McNear left the series for nearly a year and a half to recover. Andy Griffith later asked McNear to return to the series. McNear agreed but was unable to walk or stand. The production crew accommodated his disability and McNear was usually seen seated or standing with the support of a stand.[4] According to Jack Dodson (who played Howard Sprague on Andy Griffith), McNear began having difficulty remembering his lines and became anxious and frustrated.[11] He left the series in 1967.

Death[edit]

On January 3, 1969, McNear died of complications from pneumonia caused by a stroke at San Fernando Valley Veterans Hospital in San Fernando, California.[12] He was interred in the Los Angeles National Cemetery.[13] Actor and old friend Parley Baer, a practicing Episcopalian, delivered his eulogy. His wife, Helen, and son, Christopher, survived him.[12]

In popular culture[edit]

In two episodes of the comedy sketch program Second City Television, actor Eugene Levy played McNear's Floyd the Barber. His first appearance as Floyd the Barber was in a parody of The Godfather, in the opening scene as Amerigo Bonasera, in which he asks the Don to hurt Opie for breaking his barber pole. The last line delivered by Floyd is "Ohh, and would you kill Howard Sprague for me?", referring to another character from the Andy Griffith Show. His other appearance was The Merv Griffith Show (a combination parody of the Andy Griffith Show and the Merv Griffin Show), in which he is in his barber shop cutting hair and at a surprise party for Gomer.

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1953 Escape from Fort Bravo Watson Uncredited
1953 The Long, Long Trailer Joe Hittaway Uncredited
1954 Drums Across the River Stilwell
1956 You Can't Run Away from It Vernon, Second proprietor
1956 Bundle of Joy Mr. Appleby
1957 Affair in Reno James T. James
1957 Public Pigeon No. One Warden
1957 The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown John Myers Uncredited
1958 Bell, Book and Candle Andy White - Shep's Co-Publisher
1959 Good Day for a Hanging Olson
1959 Anatomy of a Murder Dr. Dompierre
1959 The Big Circus Mr. Lomax
1959 It Started with a Kiss Emile Uncredited
1959 -30- Editor Alternative title: Deadline Midnight
1960 Heller in Pink Tights Photographer of dead gunmen
1960 The Last Time I Saw Archie General Williams
1960 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Congressman Parker
1961 Blue Hawaii Mr. Chapman
1960 The Errand Boy Dexter Sneak
1962 Bachelor Flat Dr. Dylan Bowman
1962 Follow That Dream George
1963 Irma la Douce Concierge
1963 The Wheeler Dealers Mr. Wilson Alternative title: Separate Beds
1963 Fun in Acapulco Dr. John Stevers Uncredited
1964 Kiss Me, Stupid Mr. Pettibone
1965 My Blood Runs Cold Henry
1965 Love and Kisses Mr. Frisby
1966 The Fortune Cookie Mr. Cimoli Alternative title: Meet Whiplash Willie
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1950 NBC Comics Voice role Unknown episodes
1952-1955 Four Star Playhouse Various roles 3 episodes
1953–1958 The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show Mr. Jansen 7 episodes
1954 Dragnet Episode: "The Big Threat"
1954 Topper Judge Episode: "County Fair"
1955 Waterfront Mike Baxter Episode: "The Rivals"
1955 Willy Various roles 2 episodes
1955-1958 The Millionaire Various roles 2 episodes
1955-1959 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Various roles 2 episodes
1956 Chevron Hall of Stars Teeples Episode: "The Bequest"
1956 The George Gobel Show Sketch Actor Episode #2.18
1956 It's a Great Life Mr. Johnson Episode: "The Charity Drive"
1956 Screen Directors Playhouse Various roles 2 episodes
1956 Lassie Professor Scott Episode: "Bone"
1956 I Love Lucy Mr. Crawford Episode: "Little Ricky Gets Stage Fright"
1956-1957 The Brothers Captain Sam Box 2 episodes
1956-1964 Gunsmoke Various roles 6 episodes
1956-1957 December Bride Various roles 3 episodes
1957 Private Secretary Eye Doctor Episode: "Thy Name Is Sands"
1957 Cavalcade of America Phil Episode: "The Last Signer"
1957 The Ford Television Theatre Dave Carter Episode: "The Idea Man"
1957 The Adventures of Jim Bowie Colonel Episode: "Country Cousin"
1957 The George Sanders Mystery Theater Ben Episode: "The Night I Died"
1957-1958 The People's Choice Various roles 2 episodes
1957-1961 General Electric Theater Various roles 4 episodes
1958 The Thin Man Mr. Dingle Episode: "Unlucky Lucky Number"
1958 The Life of Riley Mr. Bellflower Episode: "Bowling Beauties"
1958 Playhouse 90 Bertram Episode: "No Time At All"
1958 Leave It to Beaver Andy the Barber Episode: "The Shave"
1958-1959 Bachelor Father Various roles 2 episodes
1958-1959 The Real McCoys Mr. Dagget 2 episodes
1958-1959 The Lineup Various roles 2 episodes
1958-1960 The Ann Sothern Show Various roles 3 episodes
1958-1962 The Jack Benny Program Various roles 7 episodes
1959 The Donna Reed Show Wilbur Wilgus 2 episodes
1959 M Squad Carl Hoganson Episode: "Murder in C-Sharp Minor"
1959 Alcoa Theatre Harry Episode:Tom, Dick, and Harry
1959 The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet Mr. Folwer Episode: "The Nelsons Decide to Move"
1959 Pony Express Ralph Whitaker Episode: "-The Good Samaritan"
1959 The Gale Storm Show Parker Episode: "Spanish Souvenir"
1959-1960 Peter Gunn Various roles 3 episodes
1960 Richard Diamond, Private Detective Dr. Braun Episode: "The Fine Art of Murder"
1960 Man with a Camera George Episode: "Hot Ice Cream"
1960 Goodyear Theatre Kramer Episode: "Marked Down for Connie"
1960 Happy Mr. Williams Episode: "The Wedding Anniversary"
1960 Tom, Dick and Harry Owner Television movie
1960 Outlaws Conductor Episode: "Thirty a Month"
1960 The Tab Hunter Show Plumber Episode: "The Matchmaker"
1960 Angel Mr. Hopkins Episode: "The Maid"
1960 Maverick Various roles 2 episodes
1960 Laramie Waldo Episode: "Duel at Parkison Town"
1960-1961 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Various roles 2 episodes
1960-1962 The Flintstones Doctor (Voice) 3 episodes
1961 Klondike Augustus Brown Episode: "The Golden Burro"
1961 Michael Shayne Ralph Beale Episode: "Murder at the Convention"
1961 Mister Ed Harry Sweetzer Episode: "Pine Lake Lodge"
1961 The Joey Bishop Show Episode: "Charity Begins at Home"
1961 The Tall Man Cyrus Skinner Episode: "A Tombstone for Billy"
1961–1967 The Andy Griffith Show Floyd Lawson 80 episodes
1962 Room for One More Mr. Sommers Episode: "The Anniversary"
1962 Pete and Gladys Professor Sheboyan Episode: "Follow That Skeleton"
1962 Thriller Jack Passasstroy Episode: "Cousin Tundifer"
1962 Frontier Circus Judge Stuart Episode: "Calamity Circus"
1962 Calvin and the Colonel Ernie (Voice) 2 episodes
1962 Margie Selkirk Episode: "Margie, the Gossip Columnist"
1962 Alcoa Premiere Charles Bennett Episode: "The Time of the Tonsils"
1962 The Wide Country Agent Carmody Episode: "Straightjacket for an Indian"
1962 The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Various roles 2 episodes
1962 The Twilight Zone Mitchell Episode: "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby"
1963 The Twilight Zone Bramhoff Episode: "The Bard"
1965 Harris Against the World Clark Episode: "Harris Against Anniversary Gifts"
1965 Honey West Mr. Tweedy Episode: "A Nice Little Till to Tap"
1965 Please Don't Eat the Daisies Mr. Arnold Episode: "The Leaning Tower of Ridgemont"

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Record of Howard McNear, Social Security Death Index.
  2. ^ Record of Howard T. McNear. Ancestry.com. California Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000.
  3. ^ Ancestry.com community; Howard T. McNear
  4. ^ a b Kelly, Richard Michael (1985). The Andy Griffith Show. John F. Blair, Publisher. p. 49. ISBN 0-895-87522-5. 
  5. ^ Radio Broadcast Log Of: Speed Gibson of the International Secret Police
  6. ^ National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.
  7. ^ Gunsmoke Radio series information
  8. ^ Golden Age of Radio
  9. ^ Leave it to Beaver episode info, "The Shave"
  10. ^ Shull, Richard K. (June 27, 1976). "TV's Answer Man". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  11. ^ Kelly 1985 p.65
  12. ^ a b "Howard McNear, Actor, 63; On Andy Griffith Show", The New York Times, January 7, 1969, p. 38.
  13. ^ Find a Grave, Howard McNear

External links[edit]