Alex Cord

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Alex Cord
Cord on the set of The Paddlefish: An American Treasure in 1993
Alexander Viespi Jr.

(1933-05-03)May 3, 1933
DiedAugust 9, 2021(2021-08-09) (aged 88)
Alma materNew York University
American Shakespeare Theatre
Years active1961–2009
(m. 1968; div. 1989)
Susannah Moller
(m. 2002; div. 2017)
Awards1966 Golden Laurel, nominee for New Faces
2001 Golden Boot Award, winner

Alexander Viespi Jr. (May 3, 1933 – August 9, 2021), known professionally as Alex Cord, was an American actor, best known for his portrayal of Michael Coldsmith Briggs III, better known as Archangel, in 55 episodes of the television series Airwolf (1984–1986). Early in his career, he was credited as Alex Viespi.[1]

Early life[edit]

Cord was born to an Italian family in Floral Park, New York,[2] the son of Marie (Paladino) and Alexander Viespi, who was in the construction business.[3] Cord was stricken with polio at the age of 12. His family then moved to Wyoming, where doctors advised him to take up horseback riding as a therapeutic exercise.[4] This helped him recover from the disease by the time he was 16.[5] Cord attended New York University in New York City and the American Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford, Connecticut.[4]


In July 1960, Cord (billed under his real name) acted in a production of The Curious Savage in Canal Fulton, Ohio.[6] He had a role in the 1961 episode "The Mountain Men" of the TV series Laramie.[4] Cord's second role came a month later as Nino Sanchez in the episode "Winter Quarters" of Frontier Circus. In 1962, he appeared as Larry Rome in the episode "Take a Number" of the crime drama Cain's Hundred.

Cord appeared in the 1962 film The Chapman Report, directed by George Cukor.[4] He briefly enjoyed a leading man status on the big and small screen during the 1960s and 1970s, and starred or co-starred in mostly crime dramas, action films, and westerns.[7]

In 1963 and 1964, Cord was cast as different characters in five episodes of the series Route 66, including the role of Michael in the two-part "Where There's a Will, There's a Way." In 1964, he played the part of Sam in the episode "If Your Grandmother Had Wheels" of East Side/West Side. During this same period, he appeared twice on Naked City.

In 1965, Cord was cast as Jed Colbee in the episode "Survival" of Branded. In 1966, he played the Ringo Kid in a remake of Stagecoach, which arguably remains Cord's most heavily publicized endeavor, during which he was ballyhooed in the press as a former football player since the role was originally portrayed by minor college football player John Wayne (who had since starred in eighty Western movies, usually with his name above the title, throughout the 1930s) in John Ford's 1939 version.[8][9] Cord co-starred in The Brotherhood with Kirk Douglas, about a Mafia figure being sent to murder his own brother.[4]

He guest-starred on the Rod Serling anthology series Night Gallery where he met his co-star and wife Joanna Pettet while filming the episode "Keep in Touch - We'll Think of Something". In 1974, Cord twice guest-starred on the NBC series Born Free, and he appeared in the motion picture Chosen Survivors.

Cord is among a handful of actors to appear on both the original and revival versions of CBS's Mission: Impossible. Cord also is known to science fiction enthusiasts for having portrayed Dylan Hunt in the failed 1973 television pilot Genesis II, which was created by Gene Roddenberry.[10] In 1977, he starred as the title character in the epic western Grayeagle.[7]

In 1972, he appeared as Pete Brown in the episode "The Sodbusters" of Gunsmoke. In 1973, he played the role of Haynes in "The Night of the Long Knives" on The F.B.I.. From 1973 to 1976, he appeared in four episodes of Police Story. In 1979 and 1981, he appeared twice on The Love Boat. In 1984 Cord starred in Airwolf The Movie a two-hour pilot of the subsequent series. In 1988, Cord was cast in an episode of Simon and Simon; in 1988 and 1992, he appeared on Jake and the Fatman. He also appeared in a 1988 episode of the TV series War of the Worlds. He appeared twice in Murder, She Wrote. In 1995, Cord played the character Larry Curtis in the episode "The Guardians" of Walker, Texas Ranger.

Personal life[edit]

Cord lived in Cooke County, Texas. Cord suggested that Robert Fuller, his friend from Laramie, also move to Texas to raise horses. Fuller and his second wife Jennifer Savidge did relocate to Cooke County in 2004. Cord and Fuller often made appearances at western film festivals, highlighting their continuing mutual interest in "The Spirit of the Cowboy".[11] Cord died at his home in Valley View, Texas on August 9, 2021, at the age of 88.[12]



Year Title Role Notes
1962 The Chapman Report Bardelli Uncredited
1965 Synanon Zankie Albo
1966 Stagecoach The Ringo Kid
1968 A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die Clay McCord
1968 The Brotherhood Vince Ginetta
1969 Stiletto Count Cesare Cardinali
1970 The Last Grenade Kip Thompson
1971 The Tell-Tale Heart The Murderer Short film
1972 The Dead Are Alive Professor Jason Porter
1974 Chosen Survivors Steven Mayes
1975 Inn of the Damned Cal Kincaid
1977 Sidewinder 1 Packard Gentry
1977 Grayeagle Grayeagle
1984 Jungle Warriors Nick Spilotro
1987 Uninvited Walter Graham Direct-to-video
1990 Street Asylum Captain Bill Quinton
1990 A Girl to Kill For Mike / Wino
1991 Joey Takes a Cab
1992 Roots of Evil Jake
1992 The Naked Truth Herskovitz
1993 CIA Code Name: Alexa Victor Mahler
1993 To Be the Best Jack Rodgers Direct-to-video
1995 Hologram Man Governor Hampton Direct-to-video
2001 Air Rage General Harlan Prescott Direct-to-video
2009 Fire from Below General Mark 'Stonewall' Jackson


Year Title Role Notes
1961 Laramie John Sanford Episode: "The Mountain Men"
1961 Ben Casey Frank Paulson Episode: "Pavane for a Gentle Lady"
1961 Frontier Circus Nino Sanchez Episode: "Winter Quarters"
1962 Cain's Hundred Larry Rome Episode: "Take a Number: Jack Garsell"
1962–1963 Naked City Dick Wilkes / Nicholas Kovar 2 episodes
1963 Armstrong Circle Theatre Juri Mishukov Episode: "Invitation to Treason"
1963 Alcoa Premiere Tomas Caliban Episode: "The Hat of Sergeant Martin"
1963 The Nurses Dr. Brian Episode: "Circle of Choice"
1963 BBC Sunday-Night Play Jerry Rogers Episode: "The Joker"
1963–1964 Route 66 Michael Tiffin / Rick Decatur / Jack / Raymond 5 episodes
1964 ITV Play of the Week Alvaro Mangiacavallo Episode: "The Rose Tattoo"
1964 East Side/West Side Sam Episode: "If Your Grandmother Had Wheels"
1965 Branded Jed Colbee Episode: "Survival"
1967 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Lucky Paxton Episode: "The Lady Is My Wife"
1967 The Scorpio Letters Joe Christopher Television film
1971 Night Gallery Erik Sutton Segment: "Keep in Touch - We'll Think of Something"
1972 Gunsmoke Pete Brown Episode: "The Sodbusters"
1972 Mission: Impossible Peter Cordel Episode: "Crack-Up"
1972 Insight Tom Slade Episode: "The Killer"
1973 Genesis II Dylan Hunt Television film
1973 The F.B.I. Haynes Episode: "Night of the Long Knives"
1973–1976 Police Story Officer Jackson Holt / William Allen / Bill Stryker - The Cowboy / Scully 4 episodes
1974 Born Free Paul Morgan - The Vet Episode: "The Trespassers"
1975 Matt Helm Gallagher Episode: "Murder on Ice"
1976 Joe Forrester Episode: "Squeeze Play"
1976 The Quest McWhorley Episode: "The Buffalo Hunters"
1976 Police Woman Bass Episode: "Tennis Bum"
1976 The Six Million Dollar Man Dave Harraway Episode: "Task Force"
1977 Fire! Dr. Alex Wilson Television film
1977 Have I Got a Christmas for You Dan Levine Television film
1978 W.E.B. Jack Kiley 5 episodes
1979 Beggarman, Thief Evans Kinsella Television film
1979–1981 The Love Boat Hank Welker / Mr. Barrett 2 episodes
1980–1984 Fantasy Island Paul Horner / Ra-Mas / Captain Juan Arguello / Kyle Mason / Robert West 5 episodes
1981 Best of Friends Bill Television film
1981 Goliath Awaits Dr. Sam Marlowe Television film
1982 Cassie & Co. Mike Holland 13 episodes
1984 Airwolf Michael Coldsmith Briggs III Television film
1984 Hotel Preston Dwyer Episode: "Flesh and Blood"
1984–1986 Airwolf Michael Coldsmith Briggs III / Archangel 55 episodes
1986 Murder, She Wrote Preston Bartholomew 2 episodes
1987 The Law & Harry McGraw Alec Harris Episode: "The Fallen Arrow"
1988 The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission Dravko Demchuk Television film
1988 Simon & Simon Roland Vicente / Harry Lubash Episode: "The Richer They Are the Harder They Fall"
1988 War of the Worlds Marcus Madison Mason Episode: "The Good Samaritan"
1988 Monsters John Thunston Episode: "Rouse Him Not"
1989 Freddy's Nightmares The General Episode: "Memory Overload"
1989 Mission: Impossible Daniel Travers Episode: "For Art's Sake"
1989–1992 Jake and the Fatman Wade Kelleher / Wallace Cogan 2 episodes
1995 High Sierra Search and Rescue Marshal D.J. Stone Episode: "Mozart & Stone"
1995 Kung Fu: The Legend Continues Gary Bennett Episode: "The Sacred Chalice of I-Ching"
1995 Biography Additional voices Episode: "Andrew Jackson: A Man for the People"
1995 Walker, Texas Ranger Larry Curtis Episode: "The Guardians"
1996 High Tide 2 episodes
1996 University Blues Television film



  • Alex Cord: Sandsong; Warner Books, 1976 (ASIN: B000R321IY)
  • Alex Cord: A Feather in the Rain; Five Star Publications, 1995


  1. ^ "A NEW FILM ACTOR Alex Cord Gets 'Synanon' Lead After Life of Labor". The New York Times. September 18, 1964. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  2. ^ Hale, Wanda (May 2, 1966). "Cord Wraps One Up". New York Daily News. p. 40. Retrieved January 20, 2019 – via
  3. ^ O'Donnell, Monica M. (1984). Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. Gale. ISBN 978-0-8103-2064-2.
  4. ^ a b c d e Powers, Norm (October 4, 2016). ""Breathing and Bleeding"". Bold Life. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  5. ^ Schurmacher, Emile C. "On Safari with Alex Cord". Saga. October 1969.
  6. ^ Finn, Robert (July 27, 1960). "'Savage' Wins Praise". Akron Beacon Journal. p. 37. Retrieved January 20, 2019 – via
  7. ^ a b Shelley, Peter (2012). Australian Horror Films, 1973–2010. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-7864-6167-7.
  8. ^ Kehr, Dave (October 14, 2011). "The Man Who Dared to Fill John Wayne's Boots". The New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  9. ^ Thomas, Nick (July 12, 2018). "Alex Cord on remaking a classic: 'Stagecoach'". The Spectrum. St. George, Utah. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  10. ^ Parkin, Lance (2016). "Chapter Five: Gene Roddenberry's Lost Universes". The Impossible Has Happened: The Life and Work of Gene Roddenberry, Creator of Star Trek. London: Aurum Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1-7813-1446-3.
  11. ^ Trigg, Delania (September 15, 2012). "Celebrities make North Texas their home". Gainesville Daily Register. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  12. ^ Pedersen, Erik (August 10, 2021). "Alex Cord Dies: 'Airwolf' Regular & Prolific Character Actor Was 88". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 10, 2021.

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