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Denver Pyle (1920-1997)
Denver Pyle

Poor Pearl, December 22, 1956 Written by John Meston, Story by Sam Peckinpah, Directed by Andrew McLaglen, Guest Cast: Constance Ford, Denver Pyle, Michael Emmett

Liar From Blackhawk, June 22, 1957 Written by John Meston, Story by David Victor and Herbert Little, Guest Cast: Denver Pyle, Strother Martin, John Doucette

Mike Blocker, February 28, 1959 Written by John Meston, Directed by Jesse Hibbs, Guest Cast: Denver Pyle, Grant Williarns, Norma Crane

The Wake, November 5, 1960 Written by John Meston, Directed by Gerald H. Mayer, Guest Cast: Denver Pyle, Anne Seymour, George Selk, Joel Ashley, Gregg Schilling, Michael Hinn, Clem Fuller

Us Haggens, December 8, 1962 Written by Les Crutchfield, Directed by Andrew McLaglen, Guest Cast: Ken Curtis, Denver Pyle, Elizabeth MacRae

The Odyssey Of Jubal Tanner, May 18th, 1963 Written by Paul Savage, Directed by Andrew McLaglen, Guest Cast: Beverly Garland, Peter Breck, Gregg Palmer, Denver Pyle

No Hands, February 8, 1964 Written by John Meston, Directed by Andrew McLaglen, Guest Cast: Strother Martin, Denver Pyle, Kevin Hagen, Rayford Barnes, Wright King

The Violators, October 17, 1964 Written by John Dunkel, Directed by Harry Harris, Guest Cast: Denver Pyle, James Anderson, Arthur Batanides, Michael Pate, Amzie Strickland, Garry Walberg, Martin Blaine

Deputy Festus, January 16, 1965 Written by Calvin Clements, Directed by Harry Harris, Guest Cast: Denver Pyle, Royal Dano, Carl Reindel, Shug Fisher, Don Beddoe, Bill Zuckert

Byline, April 9, 1966 Written by Les Crutchfield, Directed by Allen Reisner, Guest Cast: Chips Rafferty, Dabbs Greer, Denver Pyle, Ted de Corsia, Stefan Amgrim, Maudie Prickett, Gertrude Flynn

The Goldtakers, September 24, 1966 Written by Clyde Ware, Directed by Vincent McEveety, Guest Cast: Martin Landau, Roy Jenson, Brad Weston, William Bramley, Denver Pyle, John Boyer, Charles Francisco

Mad Dog, January 14, 1967 Written by Jay Simms, Directed by Charles Rondeau; Guest Cast: George Lindsey, Denver Pyle, Hoke Howell, George Murdock, Iggie Wolfington, Sammy Reese, Iggie Wolfington, Butch Patrick, Dub Taylor

Baker's Dozen, December 25, 1967 Written by Charles Joseph Stone, Directed by Irving Moore, Guest Cast: Denver Pyle, Peggy Rea, Harry Lauter, Harry Carey, Mitzi Hoag, Sam Greene, Phyllis CoghIan, Ed McReady

Shadler, January 15, 1973 Written by Jim Byrnes, Directed by Arnold Laven, Guest Cast: Earl Holliman, Diana Hyland, Denver Pyle, Linda Watkins, John Davis Chandler, Alex Sharp

His was a most recognizable face in films and on television for many years although in recent years he had more facial hair and a grizzled look. Tall, burly and light-haired with a pair of beady, squinty eyes, he was a fixture in westerns as a sidekick or villain but versatile enough for contemporary roles. He was born Denver Dell Pyle (named for his parents favorite city) in Bethune, Colorado on May 11, 1920 the son of farmers Ben and Maude Mae Pyle. He grew up in Colorado but decided farming was not for him and as a young man struck out on his own. He worked as an oil field roustabout in Oklahoma and other odd jobs including a shrimp boat worker in Texas. By 1940 he had made it to Hollywood where he worked at NBC as a page. He served in the Navy during World War II and was wounded off Guadalcanal. He returned to Los Angeles and worked as a riveter at a plant there. A co-worker who was a deaf mute urged him to try acting after hearing stories of his exploits as an oil rigger and he entered community theatre. He studied under Maria Ouspenskaya and Michael Chekhov while working odd jobs on the side. He appeared in over 75 films including: "Where the North Begins" (1947) as a thug Jim 'Rocky' Rockwell, his film debut; "Train to Alcatraz" (1948) as Hutchins; "Streets of San Francisco" (1949) as Ed Quinn; "Johnny Guitar" (1954) as Posseman; "To Hell and Back" (1955) with Audie Murphy, as Thompson; "Ten Wanted Men" (1955) as Dave Weed; "China Doll" (1958) as Col. Wiley; "The Horse Soldiers" (1959) as Jackie Jo; "The Alamo" (1960) with John Wayne, as Thimblerig, the Gambler; "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962) as Amos Carruthers; "Cheyenne Autumn" (1964) as Sen. Henry; "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) as Frank Hamer; "Cahill: United States Marshal" (1973) as Denver; "Escape to Witch Mountain" (1975) as Uncle Bene and "Maverick" (1994) with Mel Gibson, as Old Gambler, his last theatrical film. On TV he is best remembered as Briscoe Darling, a hillbilly on "The Andy Griffith Show" (1963-68) and as Uncle Jesse on "The Dukes of Hazzard" (1979-85). He also appeared as a regular on "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955-56) as Ben Thompson; "Code 3" (1957) as Sgt. Murchison; "Tammy" (1965-66) as Grandpa Tarleton; "The Doris Day Show" (1968-70) as Buck Webb and "Karen" (1975) as Dale Busch. He appeared in TV movies and guest starred on such TV series as: "The Lone Ranger"; "The Range Rider"; "You Are There"; "Annie Oakley"; "Gunsmoke"; "The Adventures of Jim Bowie"; "Perry Mason"; "Kung Fu"; "Twilight Zone"; "Dallas" and "L.A. Law." He died on December 25, 1997 of lung cancer in Burbank, California at age 77.

Many Biographies are courtesy of GREAT CHARACTER ACTORS