Ken Swofford

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Ken Swofford
Kenneth Charles Swofford

(1933-07-25)July 25, 1933
DiedNovember 1, 2018(2018-11-01) (aged 85)
OccupationActor, voice actor, script writer
Years active1962–2004; 2018
Spouse(s)Barbee Biggs (1958–2018; his death)

Kenneth Charles Swofford (July 25, 1933 – November 1, 2018) was an American film and television actor often cast as a villain or a police officer.

Between 1962 and 1995, Swofford's film credits included Thelma & Louise, Skyjacked, Black Roses and The Andromeda Strain, while his TV career during the same period was prolific. He appeared on such television series as Fame, Switch, The Oregon Trail, Rich Man, Poor Man Book II, Murder, She Wrote, and as a cast member of the mystery series Ellery Queen.

Life and career[edit]

Born to Howard and Goldie Swofford on July 25, 1933, Ken Swofford graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in theater.[2]

In an interview in 1976 the distinctive, red-headed actor described the advantages of an acting career as spending more time with his children and having the freedom to do any job. "If you're an actor, you can do anything. I have cleaned carpets, painted houses, worked on loading docks. It didn't bother me, because I could always act and enjoy myself."[3]

He met and married Barbee Biggs in summer stock in 1958; the couple had several children. In a Los Angeles Times interview in 1985 titled "Autistic Youth Thrives in Large, Loving Family", the Swoffords discussed bringing up their autistic son Brendan at home.[4]

In 1989, Swofford was convicted of felony drunk driving and sentenced to 28 months in prison,[5] after which he made a comeback and continued to work steadily until retiring in 1995.[6] In 2001, he supplied the voice of the coach in Recess: School's Out, and played Officer White in Teacher's Pet (2004), which was his last role before retiring permanently. Nonetheless, in 2018 he voiced the title character of Happy the Angry Polar Bear in a film written and directed by his grandson, Brandon.


Swofford died on November 1, 2018. His death was announced by his grandson Brandon on Twitter.[7]




  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference thr was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ "Department of Theater: List of Theater Department Alums, 2009-1958". Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  3. ^ "Ken Swafford: Hustler in Paradise". Eugene Register-Guard. TV Key. June 20, 1976. p. 35.
  4. ^ Gindick, Tia (July 28, 1985). "Autistic Youth Thrives in Large, Loving Family", Los Angeles Times; accessed April 3, 2015.
  5. ^ Lozano, Carlos V. Lozano (June 14, 1989). "'Fame' Actor Gets 28-Month Sentence for Driving Drunk", Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Ken Swofford, Profile,; accessed April 3, 2015.
  7. ^ Barnes, Mike (November 3, 2018). "Ken Swofford, Actor on 'Fame' and 'Ellery Queen,' Dies at 85". The Hollywood Reporter.

External links[edit]