John Anderson (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
John Anderson
John Anderson The Virginian.JPG
Anderson in The Virginian in the 1960s
Born (1922-10-20)October 20, 1922
Clayton, Adams County
Illinois, USA
Died August 7, 1992(1992-08-07) (aged 69)
Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Occupation American actor and director
Years active 1950-1992

John Robert Anderson (October 20, 1922 – August 7, 1992) was an American character actor.


John Anderson was born and raised in Quincy, Illinois. Anderson served in the United States Coast Guard during World War II, where he met artist Orazio Fumagalli,[1] who became his lifelong friend. Anderson held a master's degree in drama from the University of Iowa.[2]

An accomplished actor, Anderson worked mainly in television and was cast 239 times. Earlier work included appearances on many Western series. In Gunsmoke, 1958–1973 he appeared twelve times, eleven in The Rifleman, 1959–1963, and six times each in Laramie, 1960–1963, Have Gun Will Travel, and The Virginian, 1962–1969, as well as five appearances as Virgil Earp in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, 1960–1961.

Other work included The Californians, Johnny Ringo, Robert Culp's Trackdown, The Big Valley in various roles, and Outlaws (twice as Simon Shaw).

In December 1959, Anderson played Fisk Madden in an episode of "Rebel Ranger" on CBS's Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre. He appeared opposite Joan Crawford, who carried the lead role as Stella Faring.[3] [4]

Anderson appeared in The Rat Patrol (four times, three as the same character). He made three guest appearances on Perry Mason, including the role of defendant George Andrews in the 1959 episode, "The Case of the Calendar Girl," and murderer Dan O'Malley in the 1963 episode, "The Case of the Greek Goddess," He also appeared in Overland Trail, The Tall Man, and The Legend of Jesse James. He played an eccentric farmer who jealously guarded his prize watermelon with a shotgun in "For the Love of Willadean: A Taste of Melon," part of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.[5] He was well known for his recurring role in MacGyver as Harry Jackson, MacGyver's grandfather.

Other credits include; Man Without a Gun, Hawaii Five-O, MASH, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, as Wyatt Earp's brother, Virgil. He portrayed Franklin D. Roosevelt in the popular TV miniseries Backstairs at the White House (1979). He played the character Kevin Uxbridge in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Survivors". Anderson played the role of Dr. Herbert Styles on CBS's Dallas.

A recurring Twilight Zone actor, he starred in four different episodes, "The Old Man in the Cave", "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville", "The Odyssey of Flight 33", and a memorable turn as "Gabe", the enigmatic trumpet player in the 1960 classic "A Passage for Trumpet".[6]

Standing 6'5½" tall (197 cm), he bore a strong resemblance to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, whom he portrayed three times. Anderson also bore a resemblance to fellow actor James Whitmore, who was only a year older. He was also the uncredited voice of Mark Twain in the Epcot attraction The American Adventure. Anderson also appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) as "California Charlie", the used car salesman who helps Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), and as Captain Bob Robertson on Emergency! in Season 4, Episode 16 "Smoke Eater". Anderson also portrayed the Ebonite interrogator in the episode "Nightmare" of the original Outer Limits television series.


Anderson suffered a fatal heart attack at his home in Sherman Oaks, California. He was survived by two children, seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and two sisters.[2] He was cremated and his ashes taken out to sea as part of his membership in the Neptune Society.[7]

Body of work[edit]

Partial filmography[edit]


External links[edit]