Barton Yarborough

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Barton Yarborough
Cast of radio's One Man's Family, clockwise from lower left: Jack (Billy Page), Clifford (Yarborough), Mrs. Barbour (Minetta Ellen), Claudia (Kathleen Wilson), Paul (Michael Raffetto), Hazel (Bernice Berwin), Mr. Barbour (J. Anthony Smythe).
Born William Barton Yarborough
(1900-10-02)October 2, 1900
Goldthwaite, Texas, U.S.
Died December 19, 1951(1951-12-19) (aged 51)
Burbank, California, U.S.
Cause of death heart attack
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Years active 1920s-1951
Spouse(s) Barbara Jo Allen
(? - 1931) (1 child)
Janet Warren (1949)
Children Joan

William Barton Yarborough (October 2, 1900 – December 19, 1951) was an American actor who worked extensively in radio drama, primarily on the NBC Radio Network. He is famous for his roles in the Carlton E. Morse productions I Love a Mystery, where he played Doc Long, and One Man's Family, where he spent nineteen years portraying Clifford Barbour. In addition, Yarborough spent three years as Sgt. Ben Romero on Jack Webb's Dragnet.

He was born in Goldthwaite, Texas.[1] As a youth, Yarborough ran away from home, attracted by the vaudeville stages, and he first worked in radio during the 1920s. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of Southern California, where in 1925 he became a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. He worked in New York, and was a member of the Eva Le Gallienne Civic Repertoire in New York City. Yarborough's NBC radio debut was in 1930, broadcasting from San Francisco.[2]

He married radio actress Barbara Jo Allen (later known professionally as Vera Vague). They had a daughter, Joan, and divorced shortly after in 1931. He married again in 1949, to Janet Warren.[2]

In 1932, Yarborough began a long run as Clifford Barbour on the radio serial One Man's Family, continuing in the role throughout his life. Yarborough was probably best known for his roles as Doc Long in the West Coast cast of Carlton E. Morse's I Love a Mystery and Sergeant Ben Romero, Joe Friday's original partner, on Dragnet.

Yarborough's other radio work includes the role of Skip Turner in Adventures by Morse, also by Carlton E. Morse.[3] Yarborough appeared as Doc Long in three feature films for Columbia Pictures, based on the radio series I Love a Mystery: I Love a Mystery in 1945, The Devil's Mask and The Unknown.

He started work on the Dragnet television series in 1951. However, the day after he filmed the second episode, he suffered a heart attack, and died four days later at age 51. After his death, his One Man's Family character was dropped without explanation while his death was worked into Dragnet as Ben Romero who suffered the same fate.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 290.
  2. ^ a b Earl F. Schoening, ed. (May 1952). "Alumni news item". The Signet, a magazine for members of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity: Vol XLIV, No. 3, p.195. 
  3. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984:A Catalog of Over 1800 Shows. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0351-9. 

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