Herb Ellis (actor)

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Herbert Ellis (born Herbert Siegel; January 17, 1921 – December 26, 2018) was an American character actor and writer. He was best known for his collaborations with Jack Webb, and he frequently portrayed law enforcement officers in film and television.[1]

Born in Cleveland, Ohio,[2] Ellis began his career in Hollywood in the late 1940s. Ellis and Webb together devised the name and concept for Dragnet[3] after collaborating on an unsuccessful project titled Joe Friday, Room Five.[4] He played Officer Frank Smith in eight episodes of the original Dragnet series. He played Frank La Valle in 23 episodes of The D.A.'s Man, and he played Beat bistro owner, painter and sculptor Wilbur in five episodes of Peter Gunn. Ellis and Webb later worked together on Dragnet 1966 and Dragnet 1967.

From 1959 to 1962, Ellis was cast as Dr. Dan Wagner in seven episodes of the CBS military sitcom/drama series, Hennesey, starring Jackie Cooper as a United States Navy physician, with Abby Dalton as nurse Martha Hale.

Ellis was married to Sylvia Siegel, and they had two children. He died on December 26, 2018, at his home in San Gabriel, California. He was 97.[5][6]


Year Title Role Notes
1953 A Blueprint for Murder First Detective at Desk Uncredited
1954 Dragnet Booking Sergeant Uncredited
1954 Rogue Cop Bartender Uncredited
1954 Naked Alibi Communications Officer Uncredited
1955 Pete Kelly's Blues Bedido
1956 The Killing 2nd American Airlines Clerk
1957 Paths of Glory Small Role Uncredited
1958 Too Much, Too Soon Assistant Uncredited
1966 What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? Lumpe
1966 The Fortune Cookie TV Director
1966 Dragnet Rico 'Ricky' Markell TV movie
1968 The Party Director
1968 Hang 'Em High Swede Uncredited
1970 Dragnet John Sawyer Episode: "Robbery: The Harassing Wife"


  1. ^ Beck, Ken (March 16, 2003). Sgt. Friday had six sidekicks in 'Dragnet' web. The Tennesseean
  2. ^ Aaker, Everett (2011). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters: All Regular Cast Members in American Crime and Mystery Series, 1948-1959. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-7864-6409-8.
  3. ^ Nachman, Gerald (2000). Raised on Radio. University of California Press. p. 307. ISBN 9780520223035. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  4. ^ Buntin, John (2009). L.A. noir: the struggle for the soul of America's most seductive city. Random House, Inc., ISBN 978-0-307-35207-1
  5. ^ https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/herb-ellis-dead-actor-jack-webb-collaborator-dragnet-was-97-1172105
  6. ^ RIP OTR writer/actor/director Herb Ellis, aged 96

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