Paul Brinegar

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Paul Brinegar
Paul Brinegar 1968.JPG
Brinegar in 1968.
Born (1917-12-19)December 19, 1917
Tucumcari, New Mexico[1]
Died March 27, 1995(1995-03-27) (aged 77)
Los Angeles, California
Resting place
Los Angeles National Cemetery
Years active 1946–1994

Paul Brinegar (December 19, 1917 – March 27, 1995) was an American character actor.

Brinegar made over 100 appearances between 1946 and 1994, appearing in many western films, and played the barman in Clint Eastwood's High Plains Drifter in 1973. He was best known for his long-running role as the cook, George Washington Wishbone, on the CBS series Rawhide from 1959 to 1966, which also starred Eric Fleming and Clint Eastwood. He had even played Tom Jefferson Jeffrey in the 1958 movie Cattle Empire upon which Rawhide was based.

From 1956 to 1958, he played James H. "Dog" Kelley, the mayor of Dodge City, Kansas from 1877 to 1881, in the western series, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, with Hugh O'Brian in the title role of Wyatt Earp. Brinegar appeared thirty-three times as Kelley and once in a previous episode as another character. In 1959, he played Ludwig, the bartender, in the episode "The Ringer" of the western series The Texan, starring Rory Calhoun. In 1969, he appeared in the western film Charro! starring Elvis Presley.

Brinegar made two guest appearances on Perry Mason. His first appearance during the series' first season in early 1958 was as Tom Sackett in "The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary;" his second appearance in the series' ninth and final season in 1966, he played Jason Rohan in "The Case of the Unwelcome Well."

The role of Wishbone was loosely carried over into the 1968-1970 CBS western series Lancer in which Brinegar played Jelly Hoskins, with co-stars were Andrew Duggan, James Stacy, and Wayne Maunder.

From 1982 to 1983, Brinegar played an occasional humorous cowboy-like character, "Lamar Pettybone" during the first season of ABC's TV series Matt Houston, starring Lee Horsley.


Brinegar as Wishbone with guest star Barbara Eden in a 1964 episode of Rawhide

Brinegar guest starred mostly in westerns, including the Saturday morning series on CBS, Tales of the Texas Rangers in the 1956 episode "The Hobo." In 1967, he guest starred in the episode "Take the Southbound Stage" of the NBC series, Daniel Boone, starring Fess Parker in the title role.

He also appeared on Rod Cameron's western-themed crime drama, State Trooper.

His other non-western roles included:

Character actor of films and television, Paul Brinegar specialized in playing feisty, grizzled cowboy sidekicks. Fans of the Western series Rawhide may remember Brinegar for playing Wishbone, the cook. He was also known for playing Lamar Pettybone on the early-1980s television series Matt Houston. He reprised (sort of) his Wishbone character for the 1991 TV movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, in which he has a brief monologue into which is worked the names of about a dozen old television western series. Born and reared in Tucumcari in eastern New Mexico, Brinegar headed to California as a young man and made his feature film debut in Larceny (1948). From there, he launched a steady film career that slowed down considerably in the late 1950s, after he began appearing on television but did not end until 1994, when Brinegar made his final screen appearance, as a stagecoach driver, in the 1994 film version of Maverick.


  1. ^ Wilson, Earl (Nov 27, 1969). "Small Towns Have Produced Many Big Stars". The Milwaukee Sentinel. pp. A33. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 

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