Kercheval in 1963
July 15, 1935|
Wolcottville, Indiana, U.S.
Ava Fox (1986–1993; 3rd marriage)|
Cheryl Paris (1994–2004; 4th marriage)
|Children||7, plus six grandchildren|
Kercheval trained under Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Kercheval made his Broadway debut in the 1962 play Something About a Soldier. He appeared off-Broadway in the 1972 Kurt Weill revue Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill, and can be heard on the cast recording. Additional theatre credits include The Apple Tree, Cabaret (replacing Bert Convy as Cliff), and Here's Where I Belong. In 1966, he appeared as the title character in the original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof, co-starring with Herschel Bernardi, Maria Karnilova, Julia Migenes, Leonard Frey and Pia Zadora.
He got his start on television in 1966, playing the part of Dr. Nick Hunter #1 on Search for Tomorrow. Later soap opera roles were on The Secret Storm and How to Survive a Marriage. His film credits include The Seven-Ups with Roy Scheider and Tony LoBianco plus F.I.S.T. with Sylvester Stallone. In 1976 he co-starred in 2 episodes of The Adams Chronicles as James Madison.
Kercheval is most well known for his role as Cliff Barnes on the CBS television series Dallas. He starred in the show from 1978 to 1991, from pilot episode to series finale. He initially was cast as Ray Krebbs before being given the role of Cliff Barnes. Kercheval and Larry Hagman were the only Dallas cast members to stay with the series throughout its entire run, although Kercheval's character was only a recurring character during the first two seasons. He became a regular cast member in the 1979-1980 season. Kercheval reprised the role of Cliff Barnes in the 1996 Dallas reunion, J. R. Returns, and he appeared in the 2004 CBS reunion special. He again reprised the role in the Dallas (2012) series.
In the 1980s, he made numerous appearances on Super Password and The $25,000 Pyramid. In 1991, he appeared in the reunion movie, I Still Dream of Jeannie, playing Mr. Simpson, a guidance counselor at Anthony Nelson Jr.'s high school and was the temporary master for Anthony Jr.'s mother, Jeannie (Barbara Eden; this was because Larry Hagman, who played Tony Nelson, was not available to reprise his role, as he had not yet finished his run on Dallas - the irony being that "I Dream of Jeannie" was Hagman's first major series, and the actors' respective "Dallas" characters despised each other. He also appeared as a ballroom dance teacher in the independent film California Casanova.
In 2006, Kercheval appeared in a musical at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre and Plymouth's Theatre Royal in the performance of White Christmas playing The General. In 2007, he reprised his role at the Edinburgh Playhouse and the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. He reprised his role in Sunderland in 2010. He also returned to his role playing The General in the White Christmas at The Lowry in Salford Quay with Corrie Star Wendi Peters and Brookside and Loose Woman Claire Sweeney from November 2012 till January 2013.
Kercheval was raised in Clinton, Indiana, to Marine "Doc" Kercheval, a local physician, and the former Christine Rieber, a registered nurse.
In 1985, he became a partner in the Old Capital Popcorn Company. The business thrived at first but the partnership soured in 1988. The financial issues and other conflicts led to a 1989 armed rampage and suicide on the Dallas set by one of the partners.
- Naked City as Acting Student (1 episode, 1962)
- The Defenders (4 episodes, 1962-1965)
- The Nurses as Mac (1 episode, 1965)
- The Trials of O'Brien as Dr. McCahey (2 episodes, 1965-1966)
- Hawk as Clark (1 episode, 1966)
- An Enemy of the People (1966) (TV) as Billing
- Pretty Poison (1968) as Harry Jackson
- The Secret Storm as Archie Borman (series regular, 1968)
- Cover Me Babe (1970) as Jerry
- The Coming Asunder of Jimmy Bright (1971) (TV)
- Rabbit, Run (1970) as Barney
- Search for Tomorrow as Dr. Nick Hunter (series regular, 1965–68, 1972-73)
- The Seven-Ups (1973) as Ansel - Seven-Up
- Get Christie Love! (1 episode, 1974)
- The Disappearance of Flight 412 (1974) (TV) as White
- How to Survive a Marriage as Larry Kirby (series regular, 1974)
- Beacon Hill as Dist. Attorney (1 episode, 1975)
- The Adams Chronicles as James Madison (2 episodes, 1976)
- Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys (1976) (TV) as District Attorney Tom Knight
- Network (1976) as Merrill Grant
- The Lincoln Conspiracy (1977) as John Surratt
- Rafferty as Jerry Parks (1 episode, 1977)
- Family as Mark Adams (1 episode, 1978)
- Kojak as Teddy Maclay (4 episodes, 1973-1978)
- Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978) (TV) as Miles Amory
- F.I.S.T (1978) as Bernie Marr
- CHiPs as Dr. Faraday (1 episode, 1978)
- Starsky and Hutch as Deputy D.A. Clayburn (2 episodes, 1979)
- Too Far to Go (1979) (TV) as Jack Dennis
- Walking Through the Fire (1979) (TV) as Dr. Freeman
- Here's Boomer as Dr. Haggert (1 episode, 1980)
- Trapper John, M.D. as Marty Wicks (1 episode, 1981)
- The Patricia Neal Story (1981) (TV) as Dr. Charles Canton
- The Demon Murder Case (1983) (TV) as Richard Clarion
- Calamity Jane (1984) (TV) as Buffalo Bill Cody
- The Love Boat (2 episodes, 1981-1984)
- Glitter (1 episode, 1985)
- Hotel (2 episodes, 1983-1986)
- You Are the Jury as Stanley Nelson (1 episode, 1986)
- Mike Hammer as A. Walter Decker (1 episode, 1987)
- Matlock as Louis Devlin (1 episode, 1987)
- Highway to Heaven as Richard Osbourne (1 episode, 1988)
- Perry Mason: The Case of the Defiant Daughter (1990) (TV) as L.D. Ryan
- Corporate Affairs (1990) as Arthur Strickland
- Dallas as Cliff Barnes (series regular, 334 episodes, 1978-1991)
- Keeping Secrets (1991) (TV) as Frank Mahoney
- California Casanova (1991) as Willie
- I Still Dream of Jeannie (1991) (TV) as Mr. Simpson
- Diagnosis Murder (1992) (TV) as Frank Stevens
- L.A. Law as Al Bremmer (1 episode, 1992)
- Murder, She Wrote as Alex Ericson (1 episode, 1992)
- Dangerous Curves as Jimmy Douglas (1 episode, 1992)
- In the Heat of the Night as Judge Lawton Gray (1 episode, 1993)
- Woman on the Ledge (1993) (TV) as Doctor Martin
- The Golden Palace as Charlie (1 episode, 1993)
- Walker, Texas Ranger as Dr. Slade (1 episode, 1993)
- Lovejoy as Rutherford Lovejoy (1 episode, 1993)
- Burke's Law as Bernie Green (1 episode, 1994)
- Beretta's Island (1994) as Barone
- A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Grimacing Governor (1994) (TV) as Harlan Richards
- Dallas: J.R. Returns (1996) (TV)as Clifford 'Cliff' Barnes
- Rusty: A Dog's Tale (1998) as Carl Winthrope
- ER as Mr. Zwicki (1 episode, 1998)
- Diagnosis Murder (4 episodes, 1993-2000)
- Crossing Jordan as Claude Manning (2 episodes, 2002-2006)
- Blind Obsession (2002) as Harrison Pendragon
- Corrado (2009) as Vittorio
- Surviving in L.A. (2013) as Charlie
- The Promise (2015) as Dr. Christopher Webber
- Dallas as Cliff Barnes (recurring role, 2012-2014)
- Brogan, Daniel (July 5, 1987). "With Kercheval As Cliff Barnes, Something Pops". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
- Schillaci, Sophie A (2012-08-09). "Dallas Finale Postmortem: Patrick Duffy on the Shocking Conclusion and What's Next". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012-08-28.
- "Ken Kercheval - Biography - MSN Movies". Movies.msn.com. 1935-07-15. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
- Keck, William (September 19, 2011). "Keck's Exclusives: Details on Ken Kercheval's Return to Dallas". TV Guide. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- Wilkinson, Tracy; Sahagun, Louis (July 20, 1989). "Studio Shooting Blamed on Business Deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- Kercheval, Ken (August 15, 1994). "Where There's Smoke, By Ken Kercheval, A Former Dallas Star Confronts Lung Cancer". People. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
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