Morgan Woodward

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Morgan Woodward
Morgan Woodward Shotgun Gibbs Wyatt Earp 1959.JPG
Woodward as deputy Shotgun Gibbs from The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, 1959
Thomas Morgan Woodward

(1925-09-16) September 16, 1925 (age 93)
ResidencePaso Robles, California, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Arlington
Years active1956–1998
Spouse(s)Enid Anne Loftis (1950-???)[1]

Thomas Morgan Woodward (born September 16, 1925) is an American actor.

He is best known for his recurring role on the soap opera Dallas as Marvin "Punk" Anderson. He also played the silent, sunglasses-wearing "man with no eyes", Boss Godfrey (the Walking Boss) in Cool Hand Luke (1967), and has the most guest appearances on Gunsmoke, according to "Gunsmoke" by Barabas.

Early years[edit]

Woodward was born in Fort Worth, Texas, the third of five sons of Dr. Valin Woodward and his wife, Frances McKinley. He grew up in Arlington, Texas, graduating from high school in 1944.[2] After serving in the US Army Air Corps during World War II, he enrolled at North Texas Agriculture College,[3] where he was active in the theater. In 1948, he transferred to the University of Texas, from which he graduated with a degree in corporation finance. He went on to attend law school at UT. During that time he hosted a local radio talk show and sang with a barbershop quartet and a dance band.[2]

Military service[edit]

Woodward was a member of the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He returned to the military during the Korean War, this time as a lieutenant in special services.[2]

The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp[edit]

One of Woodward's longest television roles was in forty-two episodes between 1958 and 1961 on the ABC television series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, as the deputy/sidekick "Shotgun" Gibbs. The series stars Hugh O'Brian. In that series, Woodward played a tall, cantankerous, shotgun-toting backwoodsman who eventually became the trusted deputy of lawman Wyatt Earp in his days as a Kansas and later Arizona lawman. Several episodes have comedy scenes about Gibbs and his beloved and supposedly highly intelligent mule, Roscoe. Though often overshadowed by the cool menace of Douglas Fowley's Doc Holliday, Woodward portrayed Gibbs as a solid, trustworthy, and more pragmatic partner to Earp, making Gibbs a character who, though ostensibly rough around the edges, would gradually come to share many of the qualities demonstrated over the years by another trusted television deputy, Ken Curtis' world-weary Festus Haggen on Gunsmoke, who like Shotgun Gibbs also rode a mule. He also played a professional fighter in "The Manly Art" (Season 3, episode 19)[4] and a Texas Ranger Captain in the episode "Three" (Season 3, Episode 35).

Woodward also made multiple guest appearances on Wagon Train between 1958 and 1965.[5]

Star Trek[edit]

Woodward guest starred in two different episodes of the original series of Star Trek as two different characters. In the first-season episode "Dagger of the Mind" (1966), Woodward plays Dr. Simon van Gelder, a deputy director of a facility for the criminally insane. Van Gelder himself becomes a victim of sadistic experiments being carried out on patients by the facility's director and is confined as one of the patients. Escaping to the orbiting USS Enterprise, the deranged and incoherent (due to his condition) Van Gelder eventually recovers enough to be able to divulge the nefarious goings-on at the hospital. (This is with the aid of Mr. Spock's "mind meld", which is used for the first time in this episode.)

In articles in the magazines Starlog[6] and Entertainment Weekly[volume & issue needed], Woodward called the role of Dr. Simon Van Gelder the most physically and emotionally exhausting acting job of his career. Desperate to get out of Westerns and expand his range, he was cast against type for this episode and was so well regarded that he was cast in "The Omega Glory" in the series' second season. Playing Van Gelder did take its toll on his personal life, as he confesses that for three weeks afterwards he was anti-social towards friends and family. He is grateful that this episode opened up whole new opportunities for him.

In the second-season episode, "The Omega Glory", Woodward portrays Captain Ron Tracey, the commander of the starship USS Exeter, a sister ship to the USS Enterprise. Tracey is arrested for violating the United Federation of Planets "Prime Directive", but not before taking Captain Kirk and his landing party hostage in an attempt both to avoid arrest and secure more phaser guns needed to defeat a native group hostile to a second group which Tracey now leads. The commander believes until his arrest that he remains infected by a disease that killed the rest of the Exeter crew but for which he seems to have immunity so long as he remains on the planet, and is convinced a serum for this disease will be able to provide virtual immortality for humankind, as planet natives are able to live for hundreds of years disease-free, despite Doctor McCoy later finding that the cause of their longevity is evolutionary and not pathogenic.


Woodward was a familiar face on the television drama series Dallas from 1980–1989. His recurring role was Marvin "Punk" Anderson, a friend of Jock Ewing and a member of the "cartel" of oil barons. As the series progressed, Woodward's role became that of an advisor to the Ewing sons, and a voice of reason. His character's wife Mavis was played by character actress Alice Hirson. Hirson and Woodward were written out of the show during the 1989 season for budgetary reasons although the characters were mentioned in the following last two seasons of the show.


In 1963, Woodward recorded "Heartache City" backed with "An Encouraging Word" (CRC Charter 15).[7]


In 2009, Woodward was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.[8] In 1986, he was inducted into the Order of West Range of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.[9]

TV appearances[edit]

Woodward made many other television guest appearances, including:

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ [[1]]
  2. ^ a b c Aaker, Everett (2017). Television Western Players, 1960-1975: A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland. pp. 447–448. ISBN 9781476662503. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Actor Woodward Establishes Film Studies Endowment". University of Texas Arlington. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  4. ^ "The Manly Art". Internet Movie Database. IMDB.
  5. ^ "Morgan Woodward villain in films". The Deseret News. August 8, 1973. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  6. ^ Starlog (USA) May 1988, Vol. 11, Iss. 130, pg. 72-73, by: Mark Phillips, "Morgan Woodard: Keeping Sane"
  7. ^ "Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. December 14, 1963. p. 12. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Great Western Performers". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Lifetime Achievement: Order of the West Range". PIKE. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.

External links[edit]