Gunsmoke Guests on
James Nusser (1905-1979)

Nusser played the recurring role of the town drunk on Gunsmoke. He also had some other roles.

The Killer, May 26th 1956 - Written by John Dunkel, Story by John Meston, Directed by Robert Stevenson, Guest Cast: Charles Bronson

Big Man, March 25, 1961 Written by John Meston, Directed by Gerald H. Meyer, Guest Cast: John McLiam, Sandy Kenyon, Rayford Barnes, George Kennedy, Jack Chaplain, Ricky Sorenson, Robert G. Anderson, Barney Phillips, Steve Warren, Mathew McCue, Jim Nusser

Reprisal, February 10, 1969 Written by Jack Hawn, Directed by Bernard McEveety, Guest Cast: Joe Don Baker, Jack Lambert, Eunice Christopher, James Nusser, John Pickard, I. Stanford Jolley, Dennis Cross and, as a the Gunsmoke regular character, Howie, the town drunk

Very little is known about James Nusser. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio on May 3, 1905 one of four brothers. He started his acting and performing career in radio and worked with his good friend, actor Jim Backus. He was strongly anti-union and this probably cost him a lot of work. No listing of great character actors would be complete without him. He was best known for his portrayal of Louie Pheeters, the sad-faced, town drunk on the "Gunsmoke" (1955-75) TV series. His look was that of one who had "lived hard" and it enhanced his roles. He'd appeared in a number of films including: "It Should Happen to You" (1954) his film debut; "Hell Canyon Outlaws" (1957) with Dale Robertson; "Hail, Hero!" (1969) with Michael Douglas; "Menace on the Mountain" (1970) as Ben Forrester; "Cahill: U.S. Marshall" (1973) with John Wayne, as a Doctor, his final film. He starred in early Television series such as: "The Lineup"; "Gangbusters"; "Perry Mason", often as a judge and also "The Wild, Wild West." He also appeared in the TV movie "Goodnight, My Love" (1972) as a Night Clerk. His portrayal of Louie Pheeters remains his most memorable. His wife’s name was Allison and they had a son James who was an author but has since died. The senior Nusser was very much anti-union, a fact which affected his acting/casting chances on quite a few occasions. He died on June 8, 1979 of natural causes in Hollywood, California at age 74.

Many Biographies are courtesy of GREAT CHARACTER ACTORS