J. D. Cannon

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J. D. Cannon
J. D. Cannon.jpg
John Donovan Cannon

(1922-04-24)April 24, 1922
DiedMay 20, 2005(2005-05-20) (aged 83)
Alma materAmerican Academy of Dramatic Arts
Years active1960–1991
SpouseAlice McCamley (19??–2005, his death)

John Donovan Cannon (April 24, 1922 – May 20, 2005) was an American actor. An alumnus of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, he is best known for his co-starring role of Chief of Detectives Peter B. Clifford in the television series McCloud with Dennis Weaver from 1970 until 1977, and for his part as the witness Lloyd Chandler who cleared Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) in "The Judgment", the series finale of The Fugitive.

Life and career[edit]

Films and television[edit]

Cannon served in the United States Army during World War II. Cannon first appeared on television as Master Sergeant Sherman in the sitcom The Phil Silvers Show, also known as You'll Never Get Rich.

He appeared in a 1963 episode of Combat!, titled "The Quiet Warrior", as a member of the American Intelligence.

In 1964, he appeared in the TV Western Gunsmoke, as the evil killer “Pike Beecham” in the episode “Big Man, Big Target” (S10E10).

In 1965, he appeared in an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. The episode, titled “Completely Foolproof”, originally aired March 29, 1965.

In 1970 Cannon appeared as Roy Harkness on The Men from Shiloh, the retitled name for the final season of TV western The Virginian in the episode titled "Hannah." He played a recurring character – a lawman named Harry Briscoe working for the Bannerman Detective Agency - in the 1971 to 1973 series Alias Smith and Jones. He guest-starred in many series over the years, including Wagon Train, The Defenders,[1] Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Lancer, The Fugitive, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Untouchables, The Wild, Wild West, East Side/West Side, The Invaders, Combat!, Stoney Burke, and the miniseries Testimony of Two Men (1977) and Top of the Hill (1980). He was cast in several episodes of Murder, She Wrote. His last television acting appearance was on an episode of Law & Order in 1991.

He wore a toupee in most of his later roles. The exception was the Remington Steele episode "Steele in the News" (4 March 1983), in which Cannon played a TV news anchor who only wore his toupee while broadcasting. He also appeared (with his toupee), that same season (#2), of Remington Steele in episode 21 "Hounded Steele". In the second season of Twelve O'Clock High (1965–1966), he played Brig. Gen. Dave Creighton in the 34th episode of the series "RX for a Sick Bird".

Cannon appeared in film roles, often as a cold-eyed villain. His film credits included An American Dream (1966), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Krakatoa, East of Java (1969), The Thousand Plane Raid (1969), Heaven with a Gun (1969), Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), Lawman (1971), Scorpio (1973), Raise the Titanic (1980), Death Wish II (1982) and Beyond Witch Mountain (1982).


Cannon was a founding member of Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, starring in their productions of The Taming of the Shrew (1956) and Much Ado About Nothing (1961).[2]

Other Appearances[edit]

In 1979, Cannon was the presenter in an instructional video demonstrating an MCA DiscoVision video disc player.[3]

In 2019, Anders Enger Jenson sampled the original instruction video and into his music track.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Cannon married Alice McCamley, an actress and writer who appeared in Broadway productions including Company and Johnny Johnson. In 1962, he and Colleen Dewhurst starred in his wife's play Great Day in the Morning, based on her childhood in St. Louis.[5]

Cannon died at his home in Hudson, New York, on May 20, 2005, at the age of 83.[6] Alice suffered a debilitating stroke in 2014 and died in 2017.


Year Title Role Notes
1966 An American Dream Sergeant Walt Leznicki
1967 Cool Hand Luke Society Red
1969 Krakatoa, East of Java Danzig
1969 The Thousand Plane Raid General Cotten Palmer
1969 Heaven with a Gun Mace
1970 Cotton Comes to Harlem Calhoun
1971 Lawman Hurd Price
1973 Scorpio Filchock
1979 The Concorde ... Airport '79 Lieutenant John Ratcliff TV version, uncredited
1980 Raise the Titanic Captain Joe Burke
1982 Death Wish II New York District Attorney
1982 Beyond Witch Mountain Deranian
1987 Street Justice Dante
1965 "The Wild Wild West" Flory "The Night of the Deadly Bed"
1961 The Defenders District Attorney episode: "The Attack"
1962 The Defenders District Attorney Manetto episode: "The Locked Room"
1962 The Defenders District Attorney Al Ashley episode: "The Last Six Months"
1962 The Defenders District Attorney episode: "The Voices of Death"
1963 Wagon Train Abel Weatherly episode: “The Abel Weatherly Story”
1963 Combat! Ted Slocum episode: "The Quiet Warrior"
1963 The Defenders District Attorney episode: "Man Against Himself"
1964 The Defenders District Attorney episode: "Drink Like a Lady"
1964 The Defenders District Attorney episode: "Hero of the People"
1965 The Defenders Assistant District Attorney Ashley episode: "The Unwritten Law"
1965 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Joe Brisson episode: "Completely Foolproof"
1967 The Invaders Ben Holman Beachhead
1967 The F.B.I Robert Dewey episode: "Flight Plan"
1968 Lancer Morgan Price episode: "Blood Rock"
1968 The Invaders Peter Kalter The Organization
1969 Bonanza Colonel Hudson episode: "The Fence"
1970-1977 McCloud Chief Peter B. Clifford 45 episodes
1971-1973 Alias Smith & Jones Harry Briscoe / Bannerman / Chief Detective
1986 Blacke's Magic General Ellis Wersching episode: "Address Unknown"
1991 Law & Order Chet Burton The Secret Sharers


  1. ^ The Defenders (Crime, Drama), Plautus Productions, Defender Productions, CBS Television Network, 1961-09-16, retrieved 2022-01-08
  2. ^ Tallmer, Jerry. "Theatre: Much Ado About Nothing". The Village Voice. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  3. ^ Operating Instructions for the MCA DiscoVision PR-7820 System, MCA DiscoVision, Inc., 1979, retrieved 2022-09-10
  4. ^ Anders Enger Jenson - Discovision, 2019
  5. ^ "Great Day in the Morning", Internet Broadway Database; accessed August 28, 2016.
  6. ^ "J.D. Cannon, 83, Dies; Actor on McCloud", nytimes.com; accessed March 13, 2016.

External links[edit]