Morgan Woodward

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Woodward as deputy Shotgun Gibbs from The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, 1959.

Morgan Woodward (born September 16, 1925 in Fort Worth, Texas) is an American actor.

He is probably best known for his recurring role on the soap opera Dallas as Marvin "Punk" Anderson. He also played the silent, sunglasses-wearing "man with no eyes", Boss Godfrey (the Walking Boss) in Cool Hand Luke, and has third-most guest appearances on Gunsmoke, with 19, behind only Victor French (23 times), and Gregg Palmer (20 times).

The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp[edit]

One of Woodward's longest television roles was in forty-two episodes between 1958 and 1961 as the deputy/sidekick "Shotgun" Gibbs in the ABC television series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, starring Hugh O'Brian. On that series, Woodward played a tall, cantankerous, shotgun-toting backwoodsman who eventually became the trusted deputy of lawman Wyatt Earp in his days as a Kansas and later Arizona lawman. Several episodes have comedy scenes about Gibbs and his beloved and supposedly highly intelligent mule, Roscoe. Though often overshadowed by the cool menace of Douglas Fowley's Doc Holliday, Woodward portrayed Gibbs as a solid, trustworthy, and more pragmatic partner to Earp, making Gibbs a character who, though ostensibly rough around the edges, would gradually come to share many of the qualities demonstrated over the years by another trusted television deputy, Ken Curtis' world-weary Festus Haggen on Gunsmoke, who like Shotgun Gibbs also rode a mule. He also made multiple guest appearances on Wagon Train between 1958 and 1965.[1]

Star Trek[edit]

Woodward is notable for having starred in two different episodes of the original series of Star Trek as two different characters. In the first-season episode "Dagger of the Mind", Woodward plays Dr. Simon Van Gelder, an attending physician at a hospital for the criminally insane. After discovering that the director of the facility is engaged in illegal brain experimentation, Van Gelder himself becomes a victim of these experiments and is confined as one of the patients. Escaping the facility to the orbiting USS Enterprise, the deranged and incoherent (due to his brain damage) Van Gelder eventually recovers enough to be able to divulge the nefarious goings-on at the hospital. (This is with the aid of Mr. Spock's "mind meld", which is revealed for the first time in this episode.)

In articles in the magazines Starlog[2] and Entertainment Weekly[volume & issue needed], Woodward called the role of Dr. Simon Van Gelder the most physically and emotionally exhausting acting job of his career. Desperate to get out of Westerns and expand his range, he was cast against type for this episode and was so well regarded that he came on board next season to play the tragic Capt. Ronald Tracey in "The Omega Glory". Playing Van Gelder did take its toll on his personal life, as he confesses that for three weeks afterwards he was anti-social towards friends and family. He is grateful that this episode opened up whole new opportunities for him.

In the second-season episode, "The Omega Glory", Woodward portrays Captain Ron Tracey, the commander of the starship USS Exeter, a sister ship to the USS Enterprise. Convinced that he is permanently marooned on an unfamiliar planet, Tracey chooses to abandon his duty as a Starfleet officer, and in essence he "goes native", allying himself with some of the planet's natural inhabitants in their war against their competitors. Discovered by Captain Kirk, Tracey is eventually defeated and taken into custody for his violation of fundamental orders: "The Prime Directive".


Woodward was a familiar face on the television drama series Dallas from 1980-1989. His recurring role of Marvin "Punk" Anderson, a friend of Jock Ewing's, and a member of the "cartel" of oil barons, became popular with viewers. As the series progressed Woodward's role became that of an advisor to the Ewing boys, and a voice of reason. His character's wife Mavis was played by character actress Alice Hirson. Hirson and Woodward were written out of the show during the 1989 season for budgetary reasons although the characters were mentioned in the following last two seasons of the show.

TV appearances[edit]

Woodward made many other television guest appearances, including:

Film work[edit]

Film credits include:


  1. ^ "Morgan Woodward villain in films". The Deseret News. August 8, 1973. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ Starlog (USA) May 1988, Vol. 11, Iss. 130, pg. 72-73, by: Mark Phillips, "Morgan Woodard: Keeping Sane"

External links[edit]