Arthur Hunnicutt

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Arthur Hunnicutt
Arthur Hunnicutt in Stars in My Crown trailer.jpg
Hunnicutt in Stars in My Crown (1950)
Born Arthur Lee Hunnicutt
(1910-02-17)February 17, 1910
Gravelly, Arkansas, U.S.
Died September 26, 1979(1979-09-26) (aged 69)
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Resting place Coop Prairie Cemetery, Mansfield, Arkansas
Occupation Actor
Years active 1941–1975
Spouse(s) Pauline Lile

Arthur Lee Hunnicutt (February 17, 1910 – September 26, 1979) was an American actor known for his portrayal of wise, grizzled, old rural characters.

Early years[edit]

On February 17, 1910, Hunnicutt was born in Gravelly, Arkansas. He attended the University of Central Arkansas and Arkansas State Teachers College but dropped out when he ran out of money.[1]


Hunnicutt gained early acting experience in stock theater and entertained in traveling shows. An article in the September 22, 1940, issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, "There isn't a decent sized medicine show traveling through Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia, Indiana or Mississippi, nor a stock company touring those states, which hasn't had the name of Arthur Hunnicutt on its programs."[2] After eight years of such activity, in 1936 he enrolled in a drama school in Cleveland to study theatrical techniques for a year.[2]

He moved to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, where he joined up with a theatre company. Moving to New York, he worked in the laundry at the Algonquin Hotel for 17 months before landing roles in Broadway productions.[2] While touring as the lead actor in Tobacco Road, he developed the country character he would later be typecast as throughout his career. Hunnicutt often found himself cast as a character much older than himself.

Hunnicutt's first film was Wildcat (1942).[3] He appeared in a number of films in the early 1940s before returning to the stage. In 1949 he moved back to Hollywood and resumed his film career. He played a long string of supporting role characters—sympathetic, wise rural types, as in The Red Badge of Courage (1951), The Lusty Men (1952),The Kettles in the Ozarks (1955), The Last Command (1955, as Davy Crockett), The Tall T (1957), Cat Ballou (1965, as Butch Cassidy), El Dorado (1966) and The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin.

In 1952, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the Howard Hawks Western, The Big Sky.[4]

Throughout the '50s, '60s and '70s, Hunnicutt made nearly 40 guest appearances on American television programs. He made two memorable appearances on Perry Mason in 1963: he played orange grower Amos Kennesaw Mountain Keller in "The Case of the Golden Oranges," and prospector Sandy Bowen in "The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito." He also made guest appearances on Bonanza, Cheyenne, Gunsmoke, The Outer Limits, The Rifleman, Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Andy Griffith Show, The Wild Wild West, Adam-12, and The Twilight Zone. In one of his last movies, Moonrunners (1975)—the precursor to The Dukes of Hazzard—he played the original Uncle Jesse.

In his later years, Hunnicutt served as Honorary Mayor of Northridge, California. He developed tongue cancer.


On September 27, 1979, Hunnicutt died of cancer at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital at age 68.[5] He was buried in the Coop Prairie Cemetery in Mansfield, Arkansas.[1] He was survived by his wife.[5]


from Split Second (1953)
1942 Wildcat 'Watchfob' Jones
1942 Riding Through Nevada Arkansas
1942 Silver Queen Newspaper Publisher Brett
1942 Fall In Luke Hatfield
1942 Pardon My Gun Arkansas
1943 The Fighting Buckaroo Arkansas
1943 Law of the Northwest Arkansas
1943 Frontier Fury Arkansas
1943 Robin Hood of the Range Arkansas
1943 Johnny Come Lately Second Tramp
1943 Hail to the Rangers Arkansas
1943 The Chance of a Lifetime Elwood 'Tex' Stewart
1944 Riding West Prof. Arkansas Higgins
1944 Abroad with Two Yanks Arkie
1949 Border Incident Clayton Nordell
1949 Lust for Gold Ludi
1949 The Great Dan Patch Chet Williams
1950 A Ticket To Tomahawk Sad Eyes
1950 Stars in My Crown Chloroform Wiggins
1950 Broken Arrow Milt Duffield, Mail Superintendent
1950 Two Flags West Sgt. Pickens
1951 Distant Drums Monk
1951 Sugarfoot Fly-Up-the-Creek Jones
1951 The Red Badge of Courage Bill Porter
1952 The Big Sky Zeb Calloway/Narrator
1952 The Lusty Men Booker Davis
1953 Split Second Asa Tremaine
1953 Devil's Canyon Taggert
1954 The French Line 'Waco' Mosby
1954 She Couldn't Say No Odie Chalmers
1955 The Last Command Davy Crockett
1955 The Kettles in the Ozarks Sedgewick Kettle
1956 Cheyenne: "Death Deals the Hand" Hoot Hollister
1957 The Tall T Rintoon
1960 The Rifleman: "The Grasshopper" Nathaniel Cameron
1960 The Andy Griffith Show: "A Feud Is a Feud" Jedediah Wakefield
1961 The Donna Reed Show: "One of Those Days" Old Man
1962 The Twilight Zone: "The Hunt" Hyder Simpson
1964 The Outer Limits: "Cry of Silence" Lamont
1965 Cat Ballou Butch Cassidy
1966 El Dorado Bull Harris
1967 The Wild Wild West: "The Night of the Colonel's Ghost" Doc Gavin
1971 The Million Dollar Duck Mr. Purdham
1971 Shoot Out Homer Page (rancher)
1974 Harry and Tonto Wade Carlton
1974 The Spikes Gang Kid White (aka Billy Blanco)
1975 Moonrunners Uncle Jesse


  1. ^ a b Ware, Hames. "Arthur Lee Hunnicutt (1910–1979)". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Hunnicutt Has a Good Job". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. September 22, 1940. p. 46. Retrieved July 2, 2017 – via  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ Bridges, Ken (March 5, 2017). "Actor, Arkansas Native Arthur Hunnicutt". El Dorado News-Times. Retrieved 2 July 2017. 
  4. ^ "("Arthur Hunnicutt" search results)". Retrieved 2 July 2017. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Arthur Hunnicutt dies of cancer at 68". The San Bernardino County Sun. The San Bernardino County Sun. Associated Press. September 27, 1979. p. 8. Retrieved July 3, 2017 – via  open access publication – free to read

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