Wright King

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Wright King
Born (1923-01-11) January 11, 1923 (age 92)
Okmulgee, Okmulgee County
Oklahoma, USA
Residence Calabasas, California
Occupation Actor
Spouse(s) June Ellen Roth King (1948-2008, her death)

Three children:

Wright King, Jr., Michael King, Meegan King (born 1954)

Wright King (born January 11, 1923) is a retired American actor of film and television, a native of Okmulgee in east central Oklahoma.[1] His career extended from 1949 until his retirement in 1987.


King was cast in numerous westerns and is particularly known for his role in the 1951 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Vivien Leigh, and for two guest-starring appearances on Rod Serling's original CBS series, The Twilight Zone, as Paul Carson in "Shadow Play" (1961) and Hecate in "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville" (1963). In 1974, he played U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr., of Georgia in the ABC television film, The Missiles of October, a dramatization of John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.[2]

King made his small screen debut in 1949 as Midshipman Bascomb in the television series, Captain Video and His Video Rangers. In 1950, he appeared on The Ken Murray Show and the religious program, Lamp Unto My Feet. From 1950 to 1951, he was cast in six episodes of The Gabby Hayes Show, one focusing on the outlaw Sam Bass and another on the youthful author Mark Twain. During that same time, he guest starred twice on the former radio series moved to television, Big Town, based on the operation of a metropolitan newspaper. In 1951, he appeared in the episode "The Lucky Touch" of Schlitz Playhouse, a CBS anthology series.

From 1953 to 1954, King played the part of Ernest P. Duckweather in twenty-nine episodes of the ABC version of the science fiction television series, Johnny Jupiter. In 1956, he played the part of "Hans" in the episode "Mystery of Caspar Hauser" of the series Telephone Time, then on CBS. From 1957 to 1958, he was cast twice on the military drama Navy Log, including the part of Joey McAdams in "Home Is a Sailor." He played Bony in "The Squallfish" episode of another 1957 military series, the syndicated The Silent Service, and McKenzie in "The Triton's Cristmas" episode in 1958. He was cast as Jamie Syckles in "The Widow Makers", a 1957 episode of Rod Cameron's State Trooper syndicated television series.

Western roles[edit]

From 1956 to 1958, King was cast in different roles in three episodes of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Cheyenne, starring Clint Walker in the title role. He played the Kiowa Kid in the episode "Ghost of the Cimarron", a reference to an unusual outlaw, Doc Johnson (Vaughn Taylor), who Cheyenne Bodie befriends in order to get his own name cleared with the law. Peter Brown, later of Lawman, appears in this episode as Billy Younger.[3]

On June 9, 1959, he was cast in the lead guest-starring role In "Wolf" of the Cheyenne alternate series, Sugarfoot, with Will Hutchins in the title role. In that episode, Sugarfoot is working as the new foreman at the ranch of Belle Kellogg (Virginia Gregg) when he come into contact with the troublesome but harmless Juf Wilkes (William Fawcett). Coincidentally, while playing the part of Juf Wilkes on Sugarfoot, Fawcett was still cast as the ranch hand Pete Willkey on NBC's Fury series, with Peter Graves and Bobby Diamond. Wilkes' poor family often engages in petty theft to feed themselves, with little said otherwise by sympathetic townspeople. King plays Juf's estranged son, Wolf, who returns home to take over the homestead. In a gunfight, Wolf kills another rancher, Lee Spate (Ted de Corsia), who caused Juf's sudden death by poisoning beef that Juf had killed on Spate's property. Judy Nugent is cast as Charonne; Frank Ferguson as Doc Spooner, and Tommy Ivo as Jed Wilkes, a brother of Wolf's. King also appeared as Rick in "The Hostage", a 1957 episode of another ABC/WB western series, Maverick. In 1961, he played Allen Miller in the episode entitled "The Harrigan" of still another ABC/WB western, Bronco, starring Ty Hardin.

In 1957, King played Private Bennett in the episode "The Obsession" of the syndicated western series, Boots and Saddles. In 1958, he portrayed Mac Kernin in "Desert Passage" of the CBS western series, The Texan, starring Rory Calhoun. In 1959, King played the role of "Clark" in "Warrant for Death" on the syndicated western Tombstone Territory and the role of Woody in "The Vagrants" on another ABC western, The Rebel, starring Nick Adams. In 1960, he was cast as Junior Kavalo in the episode "Judgement Day" of the CBS western Johnny Ringo, starring Don Durant in the title role. That same year he was cast in eleven episodes as Jason Nichols of Steve McQueen's CBS western, Wanted: Dead or Alive. In 1961, he played the part of "Little Dick" on the episode "The Bill Doolin Story" of the NBC western series, Outlaws. He also played Sondberg in "No Luck on Friday" in the same series. He played Will Norris in "Man of Another Breed" of Dale Robertson's Tales of Wells Fargo in 1961.

He was cast five times between 1957 and 1962 on Richard Boone's Have Gun, Will Travel. In 1963, King was cast as Collie Quade in the episode "Incident of the Rawhiders" of the CBS western Rawhide, with Clint Eastwood. From 1955 to 1965, he played different roles in eight episodes of CBS's Gunsmoke, starring James Arness. In 1969, he was cast as Zack Blake in "The Knot" of another CBS western series, Lancer, starring Andrew Duggan.

Other roles[edit]

King's various film roles include those of Jonesy in The Young Guns, Ralph Slater in Stagecoach to Fury, and as a technician in The Bold and the Brave (all 1956), as Ray Johnson in Hot Rod Rumble (1957), as Billy Townsend in The Gunfight at Dodge City and as Noah Pringle in Cast a Long Shadow (both 1959), as Joe in Dangerous Charter (1962), as Brough in King Rat (1965), as chimpanzee surgeon Dr. Galen, the first ape shown speaking more than a single word, in Planet of the Apes (1968), as the district attorney in Finian's Rainbow, starring Fred Astaire in the title role (1968), as an Indian agent in Journey Through Rosebud (1972), and as Dr. Murger in Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973).

Wright in 1961 played Leroy in the "Hazel Makes a Will" of Shirley Booth's NBC situation comedy, Hazel; the next year, he was cast as Bradford in "The Professional Man" of the ABC sitcom, Margie, starring Cynthia Pepper. Hazel and Margie aired in competition in the 1962–1963 season.

In 1961, Wright played Jim Barker in "Portrait of a Man Running" on the CBS detective series, Checkmate, co-starring Doug McClure. In 1962, he played Lee Gregson in "The Case of the Poison Pen-Pal" of the CBS legal drama, Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr. In 1963. he played Sidney Weplo in another Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Bouncing Boomerang".

In 1964, King was cast as Dr. Baines in the 1964 episode "Submarine Sunk Here" of the ABC science fiction series, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Other dramatic roles came on NBC's McCloud and ABC's The Fugitive, Judd for the Defense, The Streets of San Francisco, and The F.B.I. His last television series role was as Jonathon in 1977 to 1978 in three episodes of CBS's Logan's Run, starring Gregory Harrison and based on a novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. During the 1980s, he had only two parts, both in television movies.

King and his wife, June Ellen Roth, spent their later years in Portland, Oregon. They have three sons, including actor Meegan King (born 1954). Since 2013, he has been a resident of the Motion Picture Retirement (MPTF) Home in Calabasas, California.


  1. ^ "Wright King". NNDB. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ "King of the 'Streetcar'". The Times-Picayune. March 22, 2008. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Ghost of the Cimarron: Cheyenne". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved September 6, 2014. 

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