Larry Pennell

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Larry Pennell
Born Lawrence Kenneth Pennell
(1928-02-21) February 21, 1928 (age 86)
Uniontown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died August 28, 2013 (aged 85)[1]
Nationality American
Other names Bud Pennell
Occupation Film and television actor; baseball player

Lawrence Kenneth "Bud" Pennell (February 21, 1928 – August 28, 2013)[1] was an American television and film actor. A supporting actor, he may be best remembered as "Dash Riprock", the conceited, image-conscious, and macho Hollywood movie star courting "Elly May Clampett" (played by Donna Douglas) on The Beverly Hillbillies.[2]


According to his profile, Pennell was a power-hitting left-handed first baseman and outfielder in the Boston Braves organization between 1948 and 1953, before becoming an actor.


Pennell started acting in 1955, as "Oliver Brown" in the movie Seven Angry Men (1955), a low-budget movie about abolitionist John Brown, starring Raymond Massey. That role led him to a lead in Hell's Horizon (1955).[2]

After a few small parts in movies, Pennell drifted between television and film appearances. In 1959, he played "George Crandall" opposite Jimmy Stewart (playing "Chip Hardesty") in The FBI Story (1959). After 1959 and into the 1960s, he primarily made guest appearances in such television series as Death Valley Days, The Alaskans, The Outlaws, Sea Hunt, Wagon Train, The Big Valley, The Virginian, and Dragnet.[2]


In 1961, he landed a lead role in the syndicated television series, Ripcord, an action/adventure series about skydiving, in which he co-starred, as Ted McKeever, with Ken Curtis as his older mentor, becoming somewhat of a television idol; the show ran for 76 episodes between 1961–63.[2]

Pennell's debut on the The Beverly Hillbillies came January 20, 1965, in "Elly in the Movies" (Season 3, Episode 16; 88th overall). Milburn Drysdale (played by Raymond Bailey) invests some of Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen)'s money in a movie studio, Mammoth Pictures. Elly May is bored at home so Drysdale helps convince Jed and Jane Hathaway (Nancy Kulp) to let her star in a movie. Dash doesn't know that she (Elly May) is the co-star of the movie and daughter of the studio owner (Jed), and thinks Jane Hathaway is. The next episode, "Dash Riprock, You Cad!", aired the following week on January 27, 1965, in which actress Sharon Tate appeared; Tate would appear in 15 episodes of the series as "Trego".[2][3][4]


Pennell was cast on CBS's Lassie as "Keith Holden" in 1972. In the film version of The Great White Hope (1970), Pennell played former heavyweight champion Frank Brady, coaxed out of retirement to try to prevent a black boxer from becoming the first black heavyweight champion. Pennell later returned to big budget motion pictures, as "Captain Cyril Simard" in the World War II blockbuster film Midway (1976), which had a large all-star cast, including Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda.[2]


Pennell continued to do small parts, character roles, and cameos, mainly on television shows and movies made for television, including Little House on the Prairie and Magnum, P.I., and the soap operas General Hospital and The Young and the Restless. A notable role was as actor Clark Gable in the television movie Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980).[2]


In 1992, Tom Selleck and Pennell rejoined for a third time to appear in Mr. Baseball (a 1992 film).


Pennell's most recent roles have been in such films as Bubba Ho-Tep (2002), The Passing (2005); Last Confession (2005), and Seasons of Life (2006).[2]


Pennell died on August 28, 2013, aged 85.[1]