Woodrow Chambliss

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Woodrow Chambliss
Woodrow Chambliss in The Andy Griffith Show 1965
Woodrow Lewis Chambliss

(1914-10-14)October 14, 1914
DiedJanuary 8, 1981(1981-01-08) (aged 66)
Years active1946–1981
SpouseErika Kapralik

Woodrow Lewis Chambliss (October 14, 1914 in Bowie, Texas – January 8, 1981 in Ojai, California) was an American character actor who appeared in both feature films and television. He is probably best known for his appearances as several characters in the TV hit Gunsmoke, where he eventually settled into the recurring role of storekeeper Mr. Lathrop. He was sometimes credited as Woody Chambliss.


Chambliss was the son of Lorenzo Dow “L.D.” and Lucinda Mae (Thornton) Chambliss,[citation needed] who had a farm outside Brownfield, Texas. He attended public schools in Brownsville and Baylor University, where his first contact with drama occurred as a prompter with the Baylor Little Theater.[1] In 1938 traveled to Dartington Hall, Dartington, England as a drama exchange student. He made his Broadway debut in a 1939 Chekhov production of The Possessed.[2] The cast also included his wife, Erika Kapralik, and actor Ford Rainey, but the play only ran for fourteen performances on Broadway.

During World War II, he worked at the Naval Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme naval base in Port Hueneme, California. After the war, he, Rainey and others from the Chekhov company established the High Valley Players, a touring repertory troupe that for four years performed in and around Ojai, California. Chambliss went on to become the manager of the Senior Canyon Mutual Water Company prior to resuming his theater career.

In addition to his work on Gunsmoke, where he eventually settled into the recurring role of storekeeper Mr. Lathrop, he also had a recurring role as riverboat Captain Tom of the "Sultana" on the TV show Yancy Derringer.

He also appeared in two 1958 episodes of Perry Mason: as Phil Reese in "The Case of the Fugitive Nurse," and Fred Haley in "The Case of the Lucky Loser." In 1960 he appeared in Gene Barry's TV Western series Bat Masterson as town undertaker Mr. O’Malley (S2E20). In 1965, he appeared on The Andy Griffith Show in the episode, "Aunt Bee's Invisible Beau", as their butter-and-egg-man.[citation needed] He and wife Erika also appeared together as grandparents in the 1978 TV movie Forever. He also played the role of Zadok Walton, cousin to grandpa Walton, on a Season 8 episode of "The Waltons."

He died on January 8, 1981, in Ojai of colon cancer.


He was married to actress Erika Kapralik (September 6, 1911 – May 14, 1992 in Ojai, California).

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "Brownfield Boy Has Leading Role In Broadway Play To Be Presented In October". Lubbock Morning Avalanche. Texas, Lubbock. October 5, 1939. p. 1. Archived from the original on June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ "Woodrow Chambliss". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2020.

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