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Noble Willingham

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Also Known As: Noble Henry Willingham Jr. Died: January 17, 2004
Born: August 31, 1931 Cause of Death: died of natural causes
Birth Place: Mineola, Texas, USA Profession: actor, steam fitter, schoolteacher, oil field roustabout

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Solidly built, strong-featured character actor, prolific in film and TV, whose authority figures and blustery professional types often rely on his Texas-flavored image. Born in a small Texas town, Willingham worked in oil fields as a roustabout and steam fitter, and after college and graduate studies became a schoolteacher. A longstanding interest in acting led to a small role in the acclaimed TV-movie "My Sweet Charlie" (1970) and when Peter Bogdanovich brought his crew to Texas to work on "The Last Picture Show" (1971), Willingham was one of the locals cast in a small part. Soon thereafter, he moved to Los Angeles to further his acting career.With his rough speaking voice and often gruff manner, Willingham soon carved a niche in small supporting roles in "Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York" (1975, as, appropriately, a school principal), "The Boys in Company C" (1977, as a sergeant), and "First Monday in October" (1981, as a Nebraska attorney). He was inactive in features for a time in the mid-1980s as TV work expanded. He had previously tried series like "The Texas Wheelers" (1974-75) and "When the Whistle Blow" (1980), and TV-movies including "Black Bart" (1975) and "The Gambler" (1980)....

Solidly built, strong-featured character actor, prolific in film and TV, whose authority figures and blustery professional types often rely on his Texas-flavored image. Born in a small Texas town, Willingham worked in oil fields as a roustabout and steam fitter, and after college and graduate studies became a schoolteacher. A longstanding interest in acting led to a small role in the acclaimed TV-movie "My Sweet Charlie" (1970) and when Peter Bogdanovich brought his crew to Texas to work on "The Last Picture Show" (1971), Willingham was one of the locals cast in a small part. Soon thereafter, he moved to Los Angeles to further his acting career.

With his rough speaking voice and often gruff manner, Willingham soon carved a niche in small supporting roles in "Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York" (1975, as, appropriately, a school principal), "The Boys in Company C" (1977, as a sergeant), and "First Monday in October" (1981, as a Nebraska attorney). He was inactive in features for a time in the mid-1980s as TV work expanded. He had previously tried series like "The Texas Wheelers" (1974-75) and "When the Whistle Blow" (1980), and TV-movies including "Black Bart" (1975) and "The Gambler" (1980). Mid-80s small screen work included miniseries like "Dream West" (1986, as President James Polk) and telefilms like "Shooter" (1988).

The film role that gained Willingham increased attention and larger parts in the future came with a striking portrayal of the sympathetic general in "Good Morning, Vietnam" (1987). He has continued to play small parts which call on his Southwestern accent to add color, but he has also appeared in such high-profile fare as "City Slickers" (1991), "The Distinguished Gentleman" (1992), and "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" (1994).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Corndog Man, The (1998) Ace Barker
2.
3.
 Up Close and Personal (1996) Buford Sells
4.
 Deadly Reunion (1995) C D Parker
6.
 Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) Riddle
7.
 Woman With A Past (1994) Chairman
8.
 The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) Zebulon Cardozo
9.
 Men Don't Tell (1993) Pete Riley
10.
 Fire in the Sky (1993) Sheriff Blake Davis
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as a roustabout and a steam fitter in the oil fields of Texas; later became a schoolteacher
1970:
Played a supporting role in the TV-movie, "My Sweet Charlie"
1971:
While working as a teacher, was one of the locals cast in a small role for some of the on-location shooting in Texas of the Peter Bogdanovich film, "The Last Picture Show"
1972:
Moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting career
1973:
Was cast again by Bogdanovich in his second feature film, "Paper Moon"
1974:
First TV series in regular role, as the sheriff on the ABC comedy, "The Texas Wheelers"
1978:
First TV miniseries, "The Critical List"
1980:
Played Bulldog on the ABC sitcom, "When the Whistle Blows"
1982:
Last feature credit for almost five years, "Independence Day"
1983:
Played Warren Jarvis, the mayor of the Texas town of Cutter, on the short-lived CBS medical drama series, "Cutter to Houston"
1987:
Returned to features with roles in "La Bamba" and "Summer Heat", both shot in 1986
1987:
Played one of most prominent and attention-getting supporting roles up to that time in "Good Morning, Vietnam"
1988:
Played Ned Sanders on the short-lived CBS drama series, "Blue Skies"
:
Played Duke Howard on the NBC sitcom, "Ann Jillian"
:
Played C.D. Parker on the CBS action drama series, "Walker, Texas Ranger", replacing Gailard Sartain, who played the role during the late 1992-1993 season when it premiered; left role to pursue career in politics
1999:
Starred in the independent film "The Corndog Man"
2000:
Ran for Congress on the Republican ticket from the first district in East Texas
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

North Texas State University: Denton , Texas -
Baylor University: Waco , Texas -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Doris Humphrey. Were high school sweethearts; married in 1955; divorced in 1983; deceased.
companion:
Patti McGlohen. College administrator. Born c. 1948.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Noble Henry Willingham. Railroad worker, farmer. Died in 1973.
mother:
Ladelle Willingham. Died of breast cancer c. 1947.
daughter:
Stori Willingham. Educational psychologist. Born May 15, 1965.

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