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
Spouse(s)Alice 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 NBC television series, McCloud with Dennis Weaver from 1970 until 1977, and also for his part as the witness Lloyd Chandler who was able to clear Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) in "The Judgment", the series finale of ABC's 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 original CBS sitcom, The Phil Silvers Show, also known as You'll Never Get Rich.

He appeared in a 1963 episode of Combat! entitled "The Quiet Warrior" as a member of the British Intelligence.

In 1970 Cannon appeared as Roy Harkness on "The Men From Shiloh" (rebranded name for the 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 western series, Alias Smith and Jones. He guest starred in many series over the years, including Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, 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 CBS's 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, who worked for Allied intelligence and helped to foil a plot by Nazi saboteurs in the 34th episode of the series, "RX For A Sick Bird".

Cannon also 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).[1]

Personal life[edit]

Cannon married Alice McCamley, an actress and writer who appeared in Broadway productions including Company and Johnny Johnson. He, with Colleen Dewhurst, starred in Great Day In The Morning, a play she based on her childhood in St. Louis.[2]

Cannon died at his Hudson, New York, home on May 20, 2005, at the age of 83.[3] Alice suffered a debilitating stroke in 2014 and died in 2017.


Year Title Role Notes
1966 An American Dream Police Sgt. Walt Leznicki
1967 Cool Hand Luke Society Red
1969 Krakatoa, East of Java Danzig
1969 The Thousand Plane Raid Gen. 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 Lt. John Ratcliff TV Version, Uncredited
1980 Raise the Titanic Captain Joe Burke
1982 Death Wish II New York D.A.
1982 Beyond Witch Mountain Deranian
1987 Street Justice Dante
Year Title Role Notes
1963 Combat! Ted Slocum Episode: "The Quiet Warrior"
1968 The Invaders Peter Kalter The Orginzation
1970-1977 McCloud Chief Peter B. Clifford 45 episodes
1986 Blacke's Magic General Ellis Wersching Episode: "Address Unknown"


  1. ^ Tallmer, Jerry. "Theatre: Much Ado About Nothing". The Village Voice. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  2. ^ "Great Day in the Morning", Internet Broadway Database; accessed August 28, 2016.
  3. ^ "J.D. Cannon, 83, Dies; Actor on McCloud", nytimes.com; accessed March 13, 2016.

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