Barney Phillips

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For the British television journalist of a similar name, see Barnaby Phillips.
Barney Phillips
Barney Phillips in Dragnet
Born Bernard Philip Ofner
(1913-10-20)October 20, 1913
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Died August 17, 1982(1982-08-17) (aged 68)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Film, television and radio actor
Years active 1937–1982
Spouse(s) Marie A. Davis (?–1982)

Barney Phillips (October 20, 1913 – August 17, 1982) was an American film, radio and television actor.

Biography and career[edit]

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.[1] 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. In 1940, he was in Meet the People on Broadway.[2]

Phillips enlisted in the US Army in July 1941 under his real name,[3] 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.[4] 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 through the 1970s and until just prior to his death from cancer 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 series regular "Doc" Kaiser in Twelve O'Clock High (1964–67) and was also a regular on 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?".

Among many other appearances, Phillips can be seen briefly in Stan Freberg's famous Jeno's pizza roll commercial.


Phillips died of cancer August 17, 1982, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.[5]

Partial filmography[edit]

Television credits (partial)[edit]


  1. ^ 1930 US Census for Missouri
  2. ^ "("Barney Phillips" search)". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  3. ^ US Army Military Enlistment Records, WWII
  4. ^ Rocky Fortune Retrieved 9 April 2009.
  5. ^ "'Dragnet' actor Phillips dies". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. Associated Press. August 21, 1982. p. 4. Retrieved September 5, 2016 – via  open access publication - free to read

External links[edit]