Brett King

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Brett King
Bertell W. King, Jr.

(1920-12-29)December 29, 1920
DiedJanuary 14, 1999(1999-01-14) (aged 78)
  • Actor
  • businessman
Years active1949–1967
Spouse(s)Sharon L. Van Howten

Brett King (born Bertell W. King, Jr.; December 29, 1920 – January 14, 1999) was an American actor who performed in films and on television between 1949 and 1967.

Early life and film career[edit]

King attended the American Theatre Wing in New York.[1]

He served as a fighter pilot in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.[2] According to King's military enlistment records, he had graduated from high school and had worked as a general office clerk prior to joining the army in January 1942, just a month after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.[3]

A few years after his discharge from the army, King began acting in feature films in Hollywood, where he was cast in no fewer than 13 films between 1949 and 1954. His first role was as the character Lieutenant Teiss in the World War II film Battleground (1949).

The next year (1950) he played Al "Kid" Beaumont in State Penitentiary, a drama starring Warner Baxter as a former aircraft manufacturer wrongfully accused and imprisoned for embezzling $400,000. King was then cast in 1951 as First Lieutenant Ernie Stark in the John Wayne and Robert Ryan film Flying Leathernecks, which focuses on the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. That same year he played Milo Pagano in the war film A Yank in Korea, starring Lon McCallister. In 1954 he was cast in the role of Joe Branch, reputed son of Jesse James, for the 3D film Jesse James vs. the Daltons. Following his performance in that film, King refocused his acting career, concentrating almost exclusively on available roles on the rapidly expanding medium of television.[citation needed]

Television career[edit]

In 1954, King was cast as Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood in the episode "Geronimo" of the syndicated series Stories of the Century, starring and narrated by Jim Davis. King also performed in a supporting role as a cavalry trooper in 11 episodes of the syndicated 1958–1959 television series Mackenzie's Raiders, set in the 1870s, with Richard Carlson as the historical Colonel Ranald Mackenzie at Fort Clark in southwestern Texas.[4]

In 1960, he played Cassidy in "The Devil's Due", an episode on another Western anthology series, Death Valley Days.

King performed as well in five episodes of Wagon Train between 1961 and 1963 and in four episodes each of CBS's Gunsmoke, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, NBC's Bat Masterson, and on the contemporary crime drama Dragnet. He appeared twice on The Roy Rogers Show, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Tombstone Territory, and Johnny Ringo; and once on The Adventures of Kit Carson, Shotgun Slade, Black Saddle, Law of the Plainsman, Lawman, Laramie, The Virginian, and Yancy Derringer, in the latter as the bandit Jesse James in the episode "Outlaw at Liberty".

Other series in which King performed include Alcoa Premiere, Whirlybirds, Rescue 8, Tightrope, Men into Space, Lock-Up, Rescue 8, Harbor Command and Highway Patrol. His last acting appearance was in the role of Major Jackson on ABC's The Green Hornet, in that series' two-part 1967 finale "Invasion from Outer Space."

Later years and death[edit]

In the mid-1960s, King and his wife, Sharon, developed the Coral Sands Hotel in Harbour Island, the Bahamas. He died of leukemia at age 78 on January 14, 1999, in Palm Beach, Florida.[citation needed]


Year Title Role Notes
1949 Battleground Lt. Teiss
1950 Side Street Pigeon Man Uncredited
1950 Father Makes Good Steve Emory
1950 The Big Hangover Intern Uncredited
1950 State Penitentiary Al 'Kid' Beaumont
1951 Operation Pacific Lt. Ernie Stark Uncredited
1951 Payment on Demand Phil Polanski
1951 A Yank in Korea Milo Pagano
1951 According to Mrs. Hoyle Eddie Slattery
1951 Flying Leathernecks 1st Lt. Ernie Stark
1951 The Racket Joe Scanlon
1951 Purple Heart Diary Lt. Rocky Castro
1954 Jesse James vs. the Daltons Joe Branch


  1. ^ "Brett King Plans to Complete Play". Independent Press-Telegram. California, Long Beach. September 13, 1953. p. B 7. Retrieved April 24, 2020 – via
  2. ^ "Jill Pesselnick, "Brett King," January 20, 1999". Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  3. ^ "Bertell W. King, Jr.", "United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938–1946", FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  4. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), pp. 112–113.

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