Zane Grey Theater (1956–1961)
Aaron Ruben, Sheldon Leonard, and Andy Griffith were surprised. Where did this 32-year-old father of child actor Ronny Howard find the nerve to chime in and pitch changes to their new CBS sitcom? Where did this guy come from?
Our Dad, Rance Howard, born Harold Beckenholdt (11-17-28), was an Oklahoma farm boy who caught the acting bug at age 12, performing in a Christmas pageant in the town’s one-room schoolhouse.
A brief stint at the University of Oklahoma was highlighted when he met his first wife, Jean, at a scene study class. They married in Kentucky while touring as actors in a children’s theater company and ultimately landed in New York. Dad’s big break came when he was cast as Lindstrom in the original Broadway hit “Mister Roberts.”
The veteran actor died at 77, director Kevin Smith confirmed on Instagram on Wednesday.
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Smith, who worked with Parks on films like Tusk and Red State, wrote a touching tribute to the actor on social media.
"I hate to report that my cinematic muse #michaelparks has passed away. Michael was, and will likely forever remain, the best actor I've ever known," Smith shared. "I wrote both #RedState and @tuskthemovie For Parks, I loved his acting so much. He was, hands-down, the most incredible thespian I ever had the pleasure to watch perform. And Parks brought out the absolute best in me every time he got near my set."
Related: ‘Rob & Big’ Star Christopher 'Big Black' Boykin Dies at 45
Parks was perhaps best known for his roles in Quentin Tarantino films like Kill Bill, and Django Unchained, but broke into the industry in the early '60s with
Smith directed Parks in both his “Tusk” and “Red State,” having relished the longtime actor’s career since first seeing him in Robert Rodriguez’s “From Dusk Till Dawn.” Though Parks’ career stretched back to 1960, when he made his screen debut on TV’s “Zane Grey Theater,” in recent years, the supporting standout had enjoyed a revival at the hands of both Quentin Tarantino (who Smith deemed Parks’ “biggest fan”) and Smith, who continued to craft roles for the singular actor.
I hate to report that my cinematic muse #michaelparks has passed away. Michael was, and will likely forever remain,
Over the course of a show business career lasting more than four decades, Blees amassed a considerable number of credits in television, from “Damon Runyon Theater,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Peter Gunn,” “Zane Grey Theater” and “Kraft Suspense Theater” to the 1985 TV movie “Gidget’s Summer Reunion.” He was a producer of series including “Combat,” “Bonanza” and “Cannon.”
Blees also served for decades on the board of the Motion Picture & Television Fund.
“While my tenure on Mptf’s board overlapped Bob Blees’ for only a few years, it didn’t take long to appreciate his grace and intellect as well as his compassion for the people of our industry,” said Mptf CEO Bob Beitcher. “Bob served
Cooper’s elder son, actor Corbin Bernsen, shared the sad news on Twitter, saying, “She was in peace and without fear. You all have been incredible in your love. In her name, share it today with others.”
Mom passed this morning. She was in peace and without fear. U all have been incredible in your love. In her name share it 2 day with others.—
Corbin Bernsen (@corbinbernsen) May 08, 2013
During the Old Hollywood era, Westerns typically had been B-caliber productions, most of them favoring gunfights and barroom brawls over dramatic substance, and nearly all adhering to Western tropes which ran back to the pre-cinema days of dime novelist Ned Buntline. With the 1960s, however, the genre began to change; or, more accurately, expand, twist, and even invert.
To be sure, there would
A native of San Diego, Grady was cast as a young Mouseketeer on the classic kids' afternoon show, The Mickey Mouse Club. After that, he appeared on several TV shows of the day like Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, Wagon Train, The Rifleman, and The Eleventh Hour.
He was then cast as the middle brother, Robbie Douglas, on My Three Sons. Movie star Fred MacMurray played his dad with Stanley Livingston and Tim Considine (another Mickey Mouse Club vet) playing his younger and older brothers respectively. I Love Lucy's William Frawley rounded out the cast as maternal grandfather "Bub" O'Casey.
When Considine left the sitcom,
In his first feature role, he played a goon in James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause, followed just a year later by a bigger role alongside the young icon -- Jordan Benedict III in Giant. After a decade of short gigs on everything from Zane Grey Theater to The Twilight Zone and Cool Hand Luke, his labor
One of the most impressive film books I've received in the last few years is author C. Courtney Joyner's The Westerners: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Writers and Producers. As with most books from McFarland Publishing, its worth doesn't lie in its modest production values, but rather, in the wealth of historical content. Joyner has amassed a large archive of interviews he has conducted over the years with the creators of many memorable Westerns. As many of these folks have since passed away, the volume becomes even more precious as a research tool. Joyner's interviews include:
Glenn FordWarren OatesVirginia MayoAndrew V. McLaglenHarry Carey JrJulie AdamsA.C. LylesBurt KennedyEd FaulknerAldo SambrellJack ElamAndrew J. FenadyElmore LeonardThe fact is that many of these people were quite available to discuss their lives and careers but few journalists sought them out. Joyner shares the same mission as those of us at
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