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Barney Phillips in Dragnet
|Born||Bernard Philip Ofner
October 20, 1913
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||August 17, 1982
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Film, television and radio actor|
|Spouse(s)||Marie A. Davis (?–1982)|
Biography and career
He was born Bernard Philip Ofner in St. Louis, Missouri, to Harry Nathan Ofner, a commercial salesman for the leather industry, and Leona Frank Ofner, a naturalized citizen of German origin, who went by the nickname Lonnie. Phillips grew up and was educated in St. Louis, then moved to Los Angeles, California after graduating from college in 1935.
Interested in acting, he was able to get a small part in an independently produced Grade B western called Black Aces in 1937, but his show business career then languished. Phillips enlisted in the US Army in July 1941 under his real name, serving in the signal corps during World War II.
Following the war, Phillips procured small parts in several films during 1949-1952, before getting a regular role on the NBC television version of Dragnet, as Sgt. Ed Jacobs. He also voiced the recurring role of Hamilton J. Finger, a police sergeant in Frank Sinatra's radio program, Rocky Fortune, in 1953 and 1954. Thereafter he was a prolific character actor in both films and television series throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1955 he played Mr. Jamison in the I Love Lucy episode Ricky's European Booking. He also played minor roles in two episodes of Perry Mason, including Mr. Johnson in "The Case of the Wintry Wife" in 1961. In the 1959-1960 television season, Phillips portrayed police Lieutenant Geller in the syndicated crime drama, Johnny Midnight, starring Edmond O'Brien as a New York City actor-turned-private detective. The following season, Phillips appeared as another police lieutenant, named "Avery", in seven episodes of the syndicated crime drama The Brothers Brannagan, starring Stephen Dunne and Mark Roberts.
Phillips remained active in television during the 1970s just prior to his death in 1982.
Phillips was generally a guest star or featured player (e.g. a one-time appearance as an escaped criminal on the Andy Griffith Show), but did have a number of recurring character roles in television, and also as a series regular in Twelve O'Clock High (1964–67) and The Betty White Show (1977–78). However, his best known role is likely to be as a surprising diner counterman in a well-known episode of The Twilight Zone called "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?".
- Black Aces (1937) ...as Jake Stoddard
- The Judge (1949) ...as Reporter
- Little Egypt (1951) ...as Reporter
- My Six Convicts (1952) ...as Baker foreman
- Down Among the Sheltering Palms (1952) ...as Pvt. Murphy
- Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952) ...as Workman
- Ruby Gentry (1952) ...as Dr. Saul Manfred
- Eight Iron Men (1952) ...as Capt. Trelawney
- A Blueprint for Murder (1953) ...as Capt. Pringle
- The True Story of Jesse James (1957) ...as Dr. Samuel
- I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) ...as Det. Sgt. Donovan
- Cry Terror! (1958)
- Gang War (1958)
- The Sand Pebbles (1966) ...as Chief Petty Officer Franks
- No Deposit, No Return (1976) ...as Sgt. Benson
- O'Hara's Wife (1982)
Television credits (partial)
- Dragnet: series regular (1952) as Sgt. Ed Jacobs
- I Love Lucy: "Ricky's European Booking" (1955) ...as Mr. Jamison
- The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet: (1957–58) as Various
- Peter Gunn: "The Blind Pianist" (1958) ...as Stephen Ware
- Hawaiian Eye: "I Wed Three Wives" (1960) ...as Henry Bunker
- The Twilight Zone: "The Purple Testament" (1960) ...as Capt. E. L. Gunther
- The Twilight Zone: "A Thing about Machines" (1960) ...as TV Repairman
- The Twilight Zone: "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" (1961) ...as Haley the Short Order Cook
- The Twilight Zone: "Miniature" (1963) ...as Diemel
- The Andy Griffith Show: "Barney Gets His Man" (1961) ..as Eddie Brooke, escaped convict
- The Dick Van Dyke Show: "The Cat Burglar" (1962) ..as Westchester Police Lieutenant
- The Three Musketeers (cartoon): voice of Porthos
- Twelve O'Clock High (1964 - 1967 TV series) ... Major "Doc" Kaiser
- Shazzan!: "All Episodes (36)" ...voice of Shazzan
- Get Smart (TV series) "Greer Window" 1969...as Otto Greer
- Adam-12 ...Sgt. Burdick
- Cannon: (1971–1974) as Various
- The Betty White Show (1977) ....actor playing Police Chief Fletcher Huff and his "twin" brother
- 1930 US Census for Missouri
- US Army Military Enlistment Records, WWII
- Rocky Fortune ThrillingDetective.com. Retrieved 9 April 2009.