|Born||January 4, 1930|
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Died||February 11, 1994 (aged 64)|
Sherman Oaks, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Education||Columbia University (BA)|
Yale University (MFA)
|Spouse||Miranda Knickerbocker (1958–1973; divorced)|
Sorrell Booke (January 4, 1930 – February 11, 1994) was an American actor who performed on stage, screen, and television. He acted in more than 100 plays and 150 television shows, and is best known for his role as corrupt politician Jefferson Davis "Boss" Hogg in the television show The Dukes of Hazzard.
Early life and education
Booke was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Sol Booke, a local physician. As a child, he entertained patients in his father's waiting room, and began acting on radio at nine. As a young radio actor he was known for his impersonations. He won a radio contest for mimicking the voice of Adolf Hitler, and appeared regularly as an actor on local radio stations WGR and WEBR. He attended Bennett High School and was valedictorian of the Class of 1946.
Booke enrolled in Columbia University at 16, and performed in Shakespearean plays in Columbia's drama club. He graduated from Columbia at 19 in 1949, and received a Master of Fine Arts at the Yale School of Drama. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War for two years as a counterintelligence officer.
After his Army service, Booke appeared off-Broadway in The White Devil and had his first television role in the series Omnibus. His Broadway debut was in 1956, in Michael Redgrave's production of The Sleeping Prince. One prominent early role was that of Senator Billboard T. Rawkins in the 1960 revival of Finian's Rainbow. He also appeared in the films Black Like Me, A Fine Madness, What's Up, Doc? and Fail-Safe. In 1962, he starred in the Broadway musical Fiorello! as the title character.
Aside from his film roles he appeared on television, among them The Guiding Light and 12 O-Clock High, and he worked as a voice actor in the 1980s and early 1990s. Booke also was a guest conductor at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Booke received an Emmy nomination for his appearance in Dr. Kildare in the episode "What's God to Julius?". He appeared in an episode of Mission: Impossible from the first season in 1966. Booke appeared in two early episodes of M*A*S*H, as General Barker in "Requiem for a Lightweight" and "Chief Surgeon Who?"; the latter marked the debut of the character Corporal Klinger, with whom Booke's character had previously dealt. He also had a recurring role in All in the Family as Mr. Sanders, personnel manager at Archie Bunker's workplace, Prendergast Tool and Die Company. (He had previously appeared on All in the Family as Lyle Bennett, the manager of a local television station.) Booke was featured on an episode of Good Times, and had a recurring role as the Jewish mob boss "Lefkowitz" on Soap. He also appeared in two episodes of Columbo, Swan Song in Season 3 (featuring Johnny Cash) and The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case in Season 6. In 1976 he played a record producer in Rich Man, Poor Man Book II.
Booke's most notable role was in The Dukes of Hazzard as Boss Hogg, the humorously wicked antagonist to Bo and Luke Duke. The series ran on CBS for seven seasons, from 1979 to 1985. It spawned an animated series, The Dukes (1983), two reunion TV specials (by which time Booke had died, and the character of Boss Hogg was also said to be deceased), a feature film (2005) and The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning (a 2007 TV movie).
Booke had stopped appearing physically in acting roles, but he continued to perform voice work on several television shows and movies, occasionally as narrator, and sometimes as a cartoon character's voice, in such movies as Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987 TV movie), Gravedale High (1990 television series), and Rock-A-Doodle (1991).
Booke was 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg) at the time of his Boss Hogg role, and wore padding to seem fatter. He copied the Hogg character's American South drawl from U.S. senators Sam Ervin and Strom Thurmond.
He claimed fluency in French, Japanese, Spanish, Russian and Italian, and said that he "fussed" with a half-dozen other languages. One of his hobbies was moving into and restoring rundown houses. In 1981, he lived in a "modest home on a modest street in Los Angeles," where he did his own gardening and carpentry. He called his Boss Hogg character "despicable," but enjoyed meeting with fans of the show.
Booke was married to Miranda Knickerbocker, then a senior at Barnard College, in 1958. She was the daughter of journalist Hubert Renfro Knickerbocker. They had two children, Alexandra and Nicholas, before divorcing in 1973.
On February 11, 1994, Sorrell Booke died of colorectal cancer in Sherman Oaks, California. He is interred at the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. He was survived by a brother, Fred, two children, Alexandra and Nicholas, and four grandchildren, Katerina and Sam Millner, Henry and Milo Booke.
- Gone Are the Days! (1963) as Ol' Cap', Stonewall Jackson Cotchipee
- Black Like Me (1964) as Dr. Jackson
- Les Félins (1964) as Harry
- Fail-Safe (1964) as Congressman Raskob
- A Fine Madness (1966) as Leonard Tupperman
- Up the Down Staircase (1967) as Dr. Bester
- Matchless (1967) as Colonel Coolpepper
- The Borgia Stick (1967) as Alton
- Bye Bye Braverman (1968) as Holly Levine
- What's Up, Doc? (1972) as Harry
- Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) as Lionel Merble
- The Iceman Cometh (1973) as Hugo Kalmar
- The Take (1974) as Oscar
- Devil Times Five (1974) as Harvey Beckman
- Bank Shot (1974) as Al G. Karp
- The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery (1975) as Dr. Melon
- Mastermind (1976) as Max Engstrom
- Special Delivery (1976) as Hubert Zane
- Freaky Friday (1976) as Mr. Dilk
- The Other Side of Midnight (1977) as Lanchon
- Record City (1978) as Coznowski
- The Cat from Outer Space (1978) as Presiding Judge (uncredited)
- Rock-a-Doodle (1991) as Pinky, the Manager (voice)
- The Guiding Light (1952)
- Brenner (1959)
- The Iceman Cometh (1960)
- The Million Dollar Incident (1961)
- Car 54, Where Are You?, as Police Commissioner Harper in "How High Is Up?" (1962)
- Route 66, as Sam Frazier in "Voice at the End of the Line" (1962)
- Naked City Beyond This Place There Be Dragons (9 episodes, 1960–1963)
- The Patty Duke Show, as Gilbert Tugwell in "Block That Statue" (1964)
- Twelve O'Clock High, as Sgt. Aronson in "Faith, Hope, and Sgt. Aronson" (1965)
- Slattery's People as Max Rice in "Question: What's a Swan Song for a Sparrow?" (1965)
- New York Television Theatre (1965)
- T.H.E. Cat – Episode 1 (1966)
- Mission: Impossible (1967)
- The Borgia Stick (1967)
- Ironside Shell Game (1968)
- The Wild Wild West, as Heisel in "The Night of the Egyptian Queen" (1968)
- Hawaii Five-O - "The Double Wall" (1970)
- Room 222 (one episode 1971) as Mr Bomberg
- All in the Family (1972-1977) as Joseph Sanders (4 episodes) / Mr. Bennett
- Owen Marshall, Counsellor at Law (1971)
- M*A*S*H (2 episodes, 1972) as Gen. Wilson Spaulding Barker
- The Manhunter (1972)
- Gunshot (1972)
- Gunsmoke, in "Milligan" (1972) as Gerald Pandy
- Alias Smith and Jones (1972)
- Adventures of Nick Carter (1972)
- Dr. Max (1974) as Dr. Scott Herndon
- The Last Angry Man (1974) as Dr. Max Vogel
- The New Dick Van Dyke Show (1974) as Herbie Vincent / Otto
- Cannon (1974)
- Columbo: Swan Song (1974) as J.J. Stringer
- Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974) as Mr. Eddy
- Kung Fu, in "A Dream Within a Dream" (1974) as Sheriff Hodges
- Adventures of the Queen (1975) as Robert Dwight
- The Streets of San Francisco (1975) as Quincy Lloyd
- Rich Man, Poor Man Book II (1976) 5 episodes, as Phil Greenberg
- Brenda Starr (1976) as A.J. Livwright
- The Bob Newhart Show (1976) as Mr. Perlmutter
- Hunter, episode "The Lovejoy Files" (1977) as Mervyn
- Black Sheep Squadron Episode "Poor Little Lambs" (1977) as Father Phillipe
- Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1977) as Rabbi Weintraub
- The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened (1977) as Samuelson
- The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977) as Fiorello LaGuardia
- Columbo: The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case (1977) as Bertie Hastings
- Greatest Heroes of the Bible (1978)
- Soap (1978) as Charles Lefkowitz
- Good Times (1978) as Mr. Galbraith
- Little House on the Prairie (1978)
- What's Happening!! (1978) as Mr. Finley
- The Rockford Files "The Jersey Bounce" (1978) as Wade G. Ward
- Bigfoot and Wildboy (1979)
- The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985) as Boss Hogg / Jefferson Davis Hogg
- The Love Boat (1980) as Lucius Kergo
- The Smurfs (1981) (voice)
- The Dukes (1983) as Jefferson Davis 'Boss' Hogg (voice)
- Alice (1983) as Jefferson Davis 'Boss' Hogg
- The Pound Puppies (1985) as Mayor Fist aka The Mayor (voice)
- Newhart (1985) as Sheik Fraser
- Crazy Like a Fox (1986) as Bernard 'Bernie' Sinclair
- You Again? (1986) as Roger Davidson
- Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987) as Sheriff Rufus Buzby / T.J. Buzby (voice)
- Yogi and the Invasion of the Space Bears (1988) as Mountain Bear (voice)
- Full House Episode "Our Very First Christmas Show" (1988) as Lionel / Santa Claus
- Fantastic Max (1988) (voice)
- Don Coyote & Sancho Panda (1990) (voice)
- Tom and Jerry Kids Show (1990) as Announcer (voice)
- Gravedale High (1990) (voice)
- Civil Wars (1991) as Charles Previn
- Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation (1992) as Big Daddy Boo (voice)
- Capitol Critters (1992) (voice)
- Bonkers (1993) as Boss Hoss (voice)
- The New Adventures of Captain Planet (1993) as Sheriff Hebbs (voice)
- Droopy, Master Detective (voice) (1993)
- Cauthorn, Robert S. (February 9, 1984). "Character Actor Sorrell Booke is High on Hogg Despite it All". Arizona Daily Star. p. 8. Retrieved June 21, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Collins, Glenn (February 15, 1994). "Sorrell Booke, A TV Actor, 64; Was Boss Hogg". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- Oliver, Myrna (February 16, 1994). "Sorrell Booke; TV, Stage and Movie Actor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
- Cichon, Steve (March 22, 2019). "The curious acquaintance of John Otto and Boss Hogg". The Buffalo News. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
- "Finally He 'Made It'". The News Leader: TV Book. Staunton, Virginia. November 18, 1979. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
- Thomas, Vinciguerra (Spring 2014). "Varsity Show Endears and Endures". Columbia College Today. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
- "Miss Knickerbocker Is Wed To Sorrell Booke in Nyack" (PDF). The New York Times. September 7, 1958. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
- "Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra: Concerts, Biography & News". BBC Music. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
- Whitesell, Phil (January 24, 1980). "It's Sorrell Booke's job to hog all the action". The Tampa Times. Knight-Ridder News Service. p. 18. Retrieved June 21, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Dangaard, Colin (June 28, 1981). "The Private World of Boss Hogg". The Boston Globe: TV Week. p. 2. Retrieved June 21, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Sorrel Booke". Find a Grave. December 31, 2000. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- "Obituaries/funeral announcements, Sorrell booke". The Los Angeles Times. February 15, 1994. p. 140. Retrieved July 21, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.