Gunsmoke Guests on
Chill Wills (1903-1978)

Abe Blocker, November 24, 1962 Written by John Meston, Directed by Andrew McLaglen, Guest Cast: Chill Wills, Wright King, Miranda Jones, Harry Carey, Jr

A Hat, October 16, 1967 Written by Ron Bishop, Directed by Robert Totten, Guest Cast: Chill Wills, Gene Evans, Tom Simcox, N.M. Wynant, Robert Sorrells

A Noose For Dobie Price, March 4, 1968 Written by Anthony Ellis, Directed by Richard Sarafian, Guest Cast: Chill Wills, Robert Donner, Sheldon Allman, Shug Fisher, E. J. Andre, Rose Hobart, Owen Bush, Michael Greene

Chill Wills was a multi-talented actor with an abundance of credits. Born Chill Theodore Wills on July 18, 1903 in Seagoville, Texas and named jokingly for the weather, he began entertaining in early childhood as a singer with his four brothers. He appeared in tent shows, vaudeville and stock companies throughout the southwest. He had an unusual but charming foghorn type voice and eventually formed the singing group Chill Wills and the Avalon Boys which appeared in many western films including Laurel & Hardy's "Way Out West" (1937). Later, after disbanding the group, he began a long and successful acting career. He was most often cast as a cantankerous, shifty, wayward character in films, many of which were westerns. He also had the dubious distinction of being the "voice" of Francis the Talking Mule in that film series. His film roles include: "Bar 20 Rides Again" (1935) as a Background Singer, his film debut; "Allegheny Uprising" (1939) as McCammon; "Boom Town" (1940) as Harmony Jones; "The Westerner" (1940) as Southeast Wyatt; "Tugboat Annie Sails Again" (1940) as Shiftless; "Honky Tonk" (1941) as The Sniper; "Tarzan's New York Adventure" (1942) as Montford, an Animal Trainer; "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944) as Mr. Neely; "The Yearling" (1946) as Buck Forrester; "Giant" (1956) as Uncle Bawley Benedict; "The Alamo" (1960) as Beekeeper; "McLintock!" (1963) as Drago; "The Cardinal" (1963) as Monsignor Whittle; "The Rounders" (1965) as Jim Ed Love; "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" (1973) as Lemuel and "Mr. Billion" (1977) as Col. Clayton T. Winkle, his last theatrical film. He also starred on two TV series: "Frontier Circus" (1961-62) as Col. Casey Thompson and on "The Rounders" (1966-67) as Jim Ed Love. He also guested on many TV series including "Gunsmoke"; "Wagon Train"; "The Virginian"; "Night Gallery" and "The Hallmark Hall of Fame." He died of cancer on December 15, 1978 in Encino, California at age 75.

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