Fuzzy Knight

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Fuzzy Knight
Fuzzy Knight.jpg
Born John Forrest Knight
(1901-05-09)May 9, 1901
Fairmont, West Virginia
Died February 23, 1976(1976-02-23) (aged 74)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
Alma mater West Virginia University
Occupation Actor
Years active 1929-1967

John Forrest "Fuzzy" Knight (May 9, 1901 – February 23, 1976) was an American film and television actor. He was also a singer, especially in his early career. He appeared in more than 180 films between 1928 and 1967, usually as a cowboy hero's comic sidekick.


Knight was born in Fairmont, West Virginia the third child and son of James A. and Olive Knight.[1] In Fairmont, he worked as a clerk at a hotel and played in a theater orchestra.[2]

He attended nearby West Virginia University[3] where he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity,[2] a cheerleader and law student. He wrote a pep song, "Fight Mountaineers," which is still frequently used by the Mountaineer Marching Band 90 years later. He also wrote the melody for a WVU song entitled "To Thee Our Alma Mater," with words by fellow graduate David A. Christopher. He formed his own band in college and played drums,[3] eventually leaving school to perform in vaudeville and in big bands such as Irving Aaronson's and George Olsen's.[4]

Eventually his musical and comedy skills took him to New York, where he appeared in Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1927 and on Broadway in Here's Howe and Ned Wayburn's Gambols.[5] He was billed under his nickname, Fuzzy (given him because of his peculiarly soft voice).[3]:236

While touring with bands, Knight came to Hollywood and appeared in several musical short films for MGM and Paramount between 1928 and 1932.[4] Mae West gave him his first notable film role in She Done Him Wrong, and he went on to play in hundreds of films over the next 30 years. By the 1940s, he was primarily playing in Western movies and was voted one of the Top Ten Money-Making Stars in Westerns in 1940.[3]:236

Knight became famous to a new generation when he co-starred as Buster Crabbe's sidekick (using his own name as Private Fuzzy Knight)[6] on the 1955 television series Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion.[3]:236 In semi-retirement thereafter, Knight continued to make occasional appearances in films and TV shows through 1967.

He died in his sleep at the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, and was survived by his wife, actress Patricia Ryan (née Thelma de Long).[4][3]:236 He was buried in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in Burbank, California. His grave is next to that of the grave of Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom, Knight's two-time co-star, who died less than two weeks after Knight.[7]

Partial filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1932 Fighting For Justice Playing himself Song singer at piano
1933 Her Bodyguard Danny Dare
1935 Home on the Range
Danger Ahead Fred Klein Delicatessen Owner (singer/pianist)
1936 The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Tater
Sea Spoilers Hogan
Palm Springs off screen credit
1937 Mountain Music
Courage of the West Hank Givens First of four as the comic sidekick of Bob Baker
The Singing Outlaw Longhorn Second with Bob Baker
1938 Spawn of the North Lefty Jones
The Cowboy and the Lady Buzz
1939 Union Pacific Cookie
1940 Chip of the Flying U "Weary"
Law and Order Deadwood
1941 Law of the Range Chap
The Shepherd of the Hills Mr. Palestrom
1943 Arizona Trail Kansas
1944 Trigger Trail Echo
1945 Song of the Sarong Pete McGillicutty
Renegades of the Rio Grande Ranger Trigger Bidwell Alternative title: Bank Robbery
1947 The Egg and I Cab Driver
1949 Rimfire Porky Hodges
1951 Skipalong Rosenbloom Sneaky Pete Alternative title: Square Shooter
1952 Night Raiders Tex
Rodeo Jazbo Davis
1965 The Bounty Killer Captain Luther
1966 Waco Telegraph Operator Uncredited
1967 Hostile Guns Buck
Year Title Role Notes
1950–1951 The Gene Autry Show Sagebrush - Sidekick 4 episodes
1955–1957 Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion Pvt. Fuzzy Knight 33 episodes
1959 The Man and the Challenge Burro Charlie 1 episode
1960 Outlaws Isaac Miller 1 episode
1962 The Tall Man Johnny Red "Trial by Fury"
The Joey Bishop Show Charles Porter 2 episodes


  1. ^ United States Federal Census 1920; Fairmont Ward 8, Marion, West Virginia; Roll: T625_1961; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 27; Image: 1015.
  2. ^ a b "Our Cheer Leader". The Delta of Sigma Nu fraternity. Sigma Nu Fraternity. 39: 527–528. 1922. Retrieved 10 June 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Corneau, Ernest. Hall of Fame of Western Film Stars. Christopher Publishing, 1969, p. 235
  4. ^ a b c Fuzzy Knight obituary, Variety, March 3, 1976
  5. ^ Internet Broadway Database http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=67987
  6. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. 
  7. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=6725725&PIpi=3758001

External links[edit]