|Paul Alden Brinegar|
Paul Alden Brinegar Jr.|
December 19, 1917
Tucumcari, New Mexico, U.S.
March 27, 1995 (aged 77)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Los Angeles National Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Shirley Talbott (1962-1995; his death); 2 children|
His family relocated several times during his childhood, first moving to Alamagordo, then to Las Cruces, and finally to Santa Fe. It was in Santa Fe where Brinegar became interested in acting, performing in stage productions at his local high school.
After his graduation in 1935, he left Santa Fe to attend Pasadena Junior College in California. There he studied drama, literature, and art. According to the United States Census of 1940, Brinegar was back in Santa Fe by May of that year living with his parents and his two younger brothers, Warren and Robert.
The 1940 census also identifies him at that time as an independent "Writer" and his father then as a freelancing "general short hand Reporter". Soon thereafter young Brinegar joined the United States Navy to serve four years during World War II as a chief radio operator in the South Pacific. After the war he returned to California, where he applied his military training and experience to earn a living in the Los Angeles area as a radio repairman. He also resumed his pursuit of an acting career in his spare time, playing bit parts in movies.
Brinegar's first credited appearance in a feature film was in Larceny (1948). From there, he launched a steady film career that slowed considerably in the late 1950s, after he began appearing on television but did not end until 1994, when Brinegar made his final screen appearance, as a stagecoach driver, in the 1994 film version of Maverick.
Brinegar appeared more than 100 times between 1946 and 1994 in western films, often specializing in playing "feisty, grizzled cowboy sidekicks". On television, from 1956 to 1958, he played James H. "Dog" Kelley, the mayor of Dodge City, Kansas, in the ABC/Desilu western series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp starring Hugh O'Brian. Brinegar appeared in that series 33 times as Kelley and in one other episode in another role. In 1959 he played Ludwig, a bartender, in the episode "The Ringer" of the western series The Texan with Rory Calhoun. Brinegar, however, is best remembered as the cattle-drive cook George Washington Wishbone on the CBS series Rawhide from 1959 to 1966.:875 Earlier he had played a similar role, one as the character Tom Jefferson Jeffrey, in the 1958 movie Cattle Empire upon which Rawhide was based.
Brinegar also made two guest appearances on CBS's Perry Mason. His first appearance on that series, prior to Rawhide, was in 1958. He performed as Tom Sackett in the first-season episode titled "The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary". His second appearance on Perry Mason was during the series' ninth and final season. He played Jason Rohan in the 1966 episode "The Case of the Unwelcome Well".
In the 1968-1970 CBS western series Lancer, Brinegar had the role of Jelly Hoskins; and in 1969 he appeared in the western film Charro! starring Elvis Presley. Then, in 1973, he played the barman in Clint Eastwood's film High Plains Drifter. From 1982 to 1983, returning to television, Brinegar portrayed a humorous cowboy-like character, Lamar Pettybone, during the first season of the ABC series Matt Houston.:667 Later he reprised a revised version of his Rawhide Wishbone character for the 1991 TV movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, in which he delivers a brief monologue that includes about a dozen references to old television western series.
The veteran actor died of emphysema at the age of 77 in Los Angeles on March 27, 1995. He was buried at Los Angeles National Cemetery and was survived by his wife Shirley and their two sons, Paul III and Mark.
Brinegar guest-starred mostly in westerns, including the Saturday morning series on CBS, Tales of the Texas Rangers in the 1956 episode "The Hobo." In 1967, he guest-starred in the episode "Take the Southbound Stage" of the NBC series, Daniel Boone, starring Fess Parker in the title role.
On October 1, 1966, he was cast as a prospector, Sawbuck, in the episode "Solid Gold Cavity" of the syndicated Death Valley Days, hosted by Robert Taylor and filmed in Sedona, Arizona. In the storyline based on a true incident, Sawbuck saves the life of Dr. John Beers, a young dentist, who on the trail to San Francisco is attacked and left for dead by two bandits. Dr. Beers (played by Thomas Peters) repays Sawbuck by taking some of the prospector's gold and making him a set of gold teeth, for which Beers subsequently obtained a patent. That same month, Brinegar played Rupert Johnson, who entered a partnership to cook for a feisty miner in return for half of the gold findings in the Death Valley Days episode "The Lady and the Sourdough". Amzie Strickland played the "lady", the neighboring widow Laticia Daigle.
On June 11, 1969, Brinegar played the Death Valley pioneer Jimmy Dayton (died 1899) in the episode "Jimmy Dayton's Bonanza". The aging rancher Dayton takes a saloon girl, played by Marilyn O'Connor, as his wife; but she has second thoughts after she learns that he has exaggerated his wealth. James Wainwright (1938-1999) co-stars as a cowboy who feigns an interest in Mrs. Dayton. The episode was released three days after the death of series host Robert Taylor.
Brinegar's non-western roles include:
- The Captive City (1952)
- The Public Defender (1954)
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents "Premonition" (1955)
- Highway Patrol "Retired Gangster" (1955)
- Noah's Ark "The Guide" (1957)
- Peter Gunn "Short a Motive" (1961)
- Country Boy as Link Byrd, Sr., the father of Nashville musician played by Randy Boone (1966)
- Charro! (1969)
- Cannon "Duel in the Desert" (1974)
- The Six Million Dollar Man "Taneha" (1975)
- Emergency! "Grateful" (1975)
- CHiPs "Undertow" (1977)
- The Dukes of Hazzard "Route 7-11" (1979)
- CHiPs "Overload" (1982)
- The Creature Wasn't Nice (1983)
- Chattanooga Choo Choo (1984)
- Annihilator (1986)
- Wilson, Earl (November 27, 1969). "Small Towns Have Produced Many Big Stars". The Milwaukee Sentinel. p. A33. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
- "The Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920", a photographic copy of original enumeration record that includes Brinegar family, Otero County, New Mexico, February 24-25,1920. FamilySearch, an online genealogical database and public service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- Oliver, Myrna (1995). "Paul Brinegar; Appeared in TV's 'Rawhide'", obituary, Los Angeles Times, March 31, 1995; retrieved May 11, 2017.
- "Paul Brinegar (Rawhide)", Taos Unlimited, an online "Comprehensive Guide to Taos, New Mexico", 2006-2017. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- "The Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940", a photographic copy of original enumeration record that includes the Brinegar family, Santa Fe, New Mexico, May 13, 1940. FamilySearch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 579.
- "Paul Brinegar". The Daily Herald. Utah, Provo. July 23, 1962. p. 17. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- j.v.w. (2005). "Paul Alden Brinegar", Find a Grave memorial (11311248) with biographical profile and related photographs created July 7, 2005; retrieved May 11, 2017.
- "Solid Gold Cavity of Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. October 1, 1966. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
- ""The Lady and the Sourdough" on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. October 8, 1966. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
- "Jimmy Dayton's Bonanza on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. June 11, 1969. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
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