|Born||Bertell W. King, Jr.
December 29, 1920
Ocean Beach, Suffolk County, New York, U.S.
|Died||January 14, 1999
Palm Beach, Palm Beach County
|Cause of death||Leukemia|
|Residence||Harbour Island, Bahamas|
|Occupation||Businessman: Coral Sands Hotel|
|Spouse(s)||Sharon King (married 1959-1999, his death)|
Early life and film career
Born in 1920 in Ocean Beach, New York, Brett King 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. 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.
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, starring Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, and future U.S. Senator George Murphy. The next year 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 also 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.
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. Then 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, Highway Patrol, and The Public Defender. 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
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, and was survived by his wife of 39 years and their three daughters.
- "Brett King". Internet Movie Database (IMDb), a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Seattle, Washington. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "Jill Pesselnick, "Brett King," January 20, 1999". variety.com. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "Bertell W. King, Jr.", "United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946", FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "State Penitentiary". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "Flying Leathernecks (1951)". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "A Yank in Korea". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "Mackenzie's Raiders". IMDb. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- 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