Claude Akins


Actor
Claude Akins

About

Also Known As
Claude A. Akins
Birth Place
Nelson, Georgia, USA
Born
May 25, 1926
Died
January 27, 1994
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

Husky, masculine character player of stage, film and TV, adept at playing good (and bad) ol' southern boys, ambiguous lawmen and menacing villains. Akins began his film career as a heavy, beginning with his feature debut, "From Here to Eternity" (1953). He continued this trend to varying degrees in major productions like "The Caine Mutiny" (1954), "The Defiant Ones" (1958) and "Inherit t...

Family & Companions

Therese Marie Fairfield
Wife
Registered nurse. Married August 30, 1952; survived him.

Notes

Served as a host of numerous golf tournaments including the Claude Akins/Julius Boros Kansas City Shine Classic in 1978.

Biography

Husky, masculine character player of stage, film and TV, adept at playing good (and bad) ol' southern boys, ambiguous lawmen and menacing villains. Akins began his film career as a heavy, beginning with his feature debut, "From Here to Eternity" (1953). He continued this trend to varying degrees in major productions like "The Caine Mutiny" (1954), "The Defiant Ones" (1958) and "Inherit the Wind" (1960). Akins also fared well portraying rednecks and assorted varmints in numerous Westerns (Howard Hawks' "Rio Bravo" 1959, "Commanche Station" 1960).

TV tended to view the strapping actor in a more admirable light. Akins' first TV pilot was a starring vehicle called "Sam Hill" about an itinerant blacksmith of legendary strength who strode the Old West armed only with a knife and a hammer. Directed by Robert Altman, this unsold pilot was broadcast as a memorable installment of "Bonanza" (NBC, 1961). Akins continued to appear on the small screen in TV-movies, guest shots, and more busted pilots before starring as a sympathetic gypsy trucker in "Movin' On" (1974-76), a likeable series set on the roads of America. For better or worse, Akins may be best remembered for his broad portrayal of the amusingly larcenous Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo on the trucking adventure series "B.J. and the Bear" (NBC, 1979-81), its spin-off "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo" (NBC, 1979-80) and "Lobo" (NBC, 1980-81), The last was a relatively somber revamp of the preceding slapstick "Misadventures...," moved from Orly County Georgia to the mean streets of Atlanta. The down home charm of Akins' voice remained familiar to radio and TV audiences of the late 80s and 90s due to his work as a spokesman for Aamco transmissions. He also continued to appear on TV and in the occasional film. 1992 marked the end of Akins' career in front of the camera: His final TV guest shot was as a ghost of a bumbling Western bank robber on a Joe Dante-directed episode of "Eerie, Indiana"; his last TV-movie found him playing Teddy Roosevelt in the syndicated miniseries "Sherlock Holmes: Incident at Victoria Falls"; and his farewell to features was with a supporting role in "Falling From Grace," the feature directorial debut of musician-actor John Mellencamp.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Seasons of the Heart (1998)
Where Evil Lives (1995)
Jack Devlin
Falling From Grace (1992)
Speck Parks
Mothers, Daughters and Lovers (1989)
Kibby
Monster in the Closet (1987)
If It's Tuesday, It Still Must Be Belgium (1987)
Mo Wyshocki
The Curse (1987)
Nathan Hayes
Manhunt For Claude Dallas (1986)
The Baron and the Kid (1984)
The Concrete Cowboys (1979)
Murder in Music City (1979)
Ebony, Ivory and Jade (1979)
B.J. and the Bear (1978)
Sheriff Lobo
Little Mo (1978)
Yesterday's Child (1977)
Cliff Henley
Tentacles (1977)
Killer on Board (1977)
Tarantulas (1977)
Bert Springer
Kiss Me... Kill Me (1976)
Harry Gant
Medical Story (1975)
Dr Matthews
Timber Tramps (1975)
Eric (1975)
Stanley Swenson
The Death Squad (1974)
Connie Brennan
In Tandem (1974)
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
The Norliss Tapes (1973)
Sheriff Tom Hartley
Skyjacked (1972)
Sgt. Ben Puzo
The Night Stalker (1972)
River of Mystery (1971)
Ernie Dorata
Flap (1970)
Lobo Jackson
The Great Bank Robbery (1969)
Slade
The Devil's Brigade (1968)
Rocky Rockman
Waterhole #3 (1967)
Sgt. Henry Foggers
First To Fight (1967)
Captain Mason
Return of the Seven (1966)
Frank
Incident at Phantom Hill (1966)
Krausman
Ride Beyond Vengeance (1966)
Elwood Coates
The Killers (1964)
Earl Sylvester
A Distant Trumpet (1964)
Seeley Jones
Black Gold (1963)
Chick Carrington
Merrill's Marauders (1962)
Sergeant Kolowicz
Claudelle Inglish (1961)
S. T. Crawford
Comanche Station (1960)
Ben Lane
Inherit the Wind (1960)
Reverend Jeremiah Brown
Yellowstone Kelly (1959)
Sergeant
Porgy and Bess (1959)
Detective
Hound-Dog Man (1959)
Hog Peyson
Rio Bravo (1959)
Joe Burdette
Don't Give Up the Ship (1959)
Lt. Cmdr. Farber
The Defiant Ones (1958)
Mac
Onionhead (1958)
Poznicki
Joe Dakota (1957)
Aaron Grant
The Kettles on Old MacDonald's Farm (1957)
Pete Logan
Hot Summer Night (1957)
Truck driver
The Lonely Man (1957)
Blackburn
The Proud and Profane (1956)
Big soldier
The Burning Hills (1956)
Ben Hindeman
Johnny Concho (1956)
Lem
Battle Stations (1956)
Marty Brennan
The Sharkfighters (1956)
Chief 'Gordy' Gordon
The Sea Chase (1955)
Winkler
Man with the Gun (1955)
Reedy
The Caine Mutiny (1954)
Horrible
Down Three Dark Streets (1954)
Matty Pavelich
Witness to Murder (1954)
Policeman
The Adventures of Hajji Baba (1954)
Aide
Bitter Creek (1954)
Vance Morgan
The Raid (1954)
Lt. Ramsey
The Human Jungle (1954)
George Mandy
Shield for Murder (1954)
Fat Michaels
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Sgt. Baldy Dhom

Cast (Special)

Willie Nelson's Picnic (1987)
Host
The Academy of Country Music's 20th Anniversary Reunion (1986)
Pecos Bill, King of the Cowboys (1986)
Bus Stop (1982)
The Way They Were (1981)
The All-Star Salute to Mother's Day (1981)
Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's All-Star Look at TV's Prime Time Wars (1980)
Sam Hill (1961)
Sam Hill
Way of the West (1958)
Gus Garner

Misc. Crew (Special)

Willie Nelson's Picnic (1987)
Announcer

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Sherlock Holmes: Incident at Victoria Falls (1992)
Grass Roots (1992)
Sheriff Cox
Dream West (1986)
Celebrity (1984)
Uncle Bun Luther
Desperate Intruder (1983)
Carl

Life Events

1944

Served as master sergeant in US Army Signal Corps

1951

TV debut, "Suspense"

1951

Broadway debut as a salesman in "The Rose Tatoo" (also toured with show 1951-52)

1953

Film debut, "From Here to Eternity"

1961

Starred in "Sam Hill", a memorable busted Western pilot, directed by Robert Altman and broadcast as an episode of "Bonanza" on NBC

1992

Final feature credit, "Falling From Grace", the directing bow of John Mellencamp

1992

Final TV guest shot, as the ghost of a Western bank robber on "Eerie, Indiana", directed by Joe Dante

1992

Final TV movie credit, playing Teddy Roosevelt in the syndicated miniseries, "Sherlock Holmes: Incident at Victoria Falls"

Videos

Movie Clip

Merrill's Marauders (1962) - Take The Point Kolowicz (Claude Akins) reminds Stock (Ty Hardin) he's the platoon leader, causing him to order Bullseye (Peter Brown) to the point, Merrill (Jeff Chandler) in command, re-enacting an actual battle in 1944 Burma, in Samuel Fuller's Merrill's Marauders, 1962.
Merrill's Marauders (1962) - My Big Nightmare Merrill (Jeff Chandler), expecting relief after having completed his mission in 1944 Burma, gets bad news from Stilwell (John Hoyt), his troops (Ty Hardin, Peter Brown, Will Hutchins, Claud Akins, Charles Briggs et al) already celebrating, in Samuel Fuller's Merrill's Marauders, 1962.
Flap (1970) - Holy Last Resting Place At a loose tribal meeting, Anthony Quinn (title character, “Flapping Eagle”) is charged with stealing a bulldozer, when lawyer Wounded Bear (Victor Jory) steps in, Anthony Caruso the chairman, Don Collier the plaintiff, Victor French the cop, Claude Akins a pal, in Flap, 1970, Carol Reed directing.
Flap (1970) - Us Indians Only Got One Speed Sir Carol Reed directing his follow-up to his Academy Award win for Oliver!, on Central Ave. (also Route 66) in downtown Albuquerque, Anthony Quinn his Native American title character, Claude Akins and Tony Bill his pals in make-up, Victor French the nasty cop, in Flap, 1970.
Burning Hills, The (1956) - Don't Let Him Go Soft! Rancher Sutton (Ray Teal) has been shot and chews out son Jack (Skip Homeler) and crew (Claude Akins, Earl Holliman, Tyler MacDuff) on local politics, in The Burning Hills, 1956.
Defiant Ones, The (1958) - Old Fashioned Prayer Meeting Caught trying to steal food at a Southern work camp, handcuffed escaped cons Cullen (Sidney Poitier) and Joker (Tony Curtis) look like they'll be lynched at the whim of crew boss Mac (Claude Akins), until Big Sam (Lon Chaney Jr.) intervenes, in Stanley Kramer's The Defiant Ones, 1958.
Inherit The Wind (1960) - Heaven Has Chosen Us Early events, teacher Cates (Dick York) is apprehended, and civic leaders (Claude Akins the preacher, Philip Coolidge the mayor, Wendell Holmes the banker) fret, in Stanley Kramer's film based on the "Scopes Monkey Trial" and the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee play, Inherit The Wind, 1960.
Onionhead (1958) - Too Much Yeast Annoyed and still-training Coast Guard assistant chef Woods (Andy Griffith) demands help from underlings Gutsell (Joey Bishop) and Poznicki (Claude Akins), in Onionhead, 1958.
Comanche Station (1960) - Opening, Cody Opening credits and first sequence from the last collaboration between director Budd Boetticher and star Randolph Scott (as "Jefferson Cody"), Comanche Station, 1960, shot near Lone Pine, California.
Comanche Station (1960) - Seemed Like A Good Idea Cody (Randolph Scott) and Mrs. Lowe (Nancy Gates) converse on social matters following his having purchased her back from the Comanches, in Budd Boetticher's Comanche Station, 1960.
Comanche Station (1960) - That Amount of Money... One long take in undiluted Budd Boetticher directorial style as Cody (Randolph Scott) and Lane (Claude Akins) discuss the bounty on Mrs. Lowe (Nancy Gates) in Comanche Station, 1960.
Comanche Station (1960) - Anything For Bounty Big action sequence sandwiched between Mrs. Lowe (Nancy Gates) finding out from Lane (Claude Akins) that Cody (Randolph Scott) failed to mention the reason he rescued her, in Budd Boetticher's Comanche Station, 1960.

Trailer

Return Of The Seven (1966) -- Theatrical Trailer Yul Brynner does return as Chris and Robert Fuller pretends to be Steve McQueen (“Vin”) but the others are all recruited anew, with more Elmer Bernstein music and a variation on the plot, Burt Kennedy directing in John Sturges’ stead, in the first sequel (to The Magnificent Seven, 1960), from the Mirisch company and United Artists, shot Spaghetti-Western style in Spain, Return Of The Seven, 1966.
Tentacles - (Original Trailer) A giant octopus attacks a seaside resort in Tentacles (1977) starring John Huston and Shelley Winters.
Down Three Dark Streets - (Original Trailer) An FBI Agent takes on the three unrelated cases of his dead partner to track down his killer in Down Three Dark Streets (1954).
Devil's Brigade, The - (Original Trailer) Experienced Canadian soldiers and misfit Americans join to beat the Nazis in The Devil's Brigade (1968).
Don't Give Up The Ship - (Original Trailer) Jerry Lewis cannot remember what happened to the WWII battleship he commanded in Don't Give Up The Ship (1959).
Rio Bravo - (Original Trailer) A sheriff (John Wayne) enlists a drunk (Dean Martin), a kid (Ricky Nelson) and an old man (Walter Brennan) to help him fight off a ruthless cattle baron in Rio Bravo (1959), directed by Howard Hawks.
Witness To Murder - (Original Trailer) Barbara Stanwyck fights to convince the police that she is a Witness To Murder (1954).
Inherit the Wind -- (Original Trailer) In the twenties, a schoolteacher creates a national furor by teaching evolution in his class in Inherit the Wind (1960), directed by Stanley Kramer and starring Spencer Tracy and Fredric March.
Defiant Ones, The - (Original Trailer) Two convicts, a white racist and an angry black, escape while chained to each other. Starring Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis.
Merrill's Marauders - (Original Trailer) A grizzled U.S. general leads his men against the Japanese in Burma during World War II in Merrill's Marauders (1962).
Hot Summer Night - (Original Trailer) A hotshot reporter risks his life to land an interview with a notorious gangster in Hot Summer Night (1957) starring Leslie Nielsen.

Family

Ernest Marion Akins
Father
Police officer.
Anna Maude Akins
Mother
Claude Marion Akins Jr
Son
Resides in Baltimore MD; survived him.
Wendy Marie Doneger
Daughter
Resides in Fairfield, CT; survived him.
Michelle Marion Johnson
Daughter
Resides in Idylwild, CA; survived him.

Companions

Therese Marie Fairfield
Wife
Registered nurse. Married August 30, 1952; survived him.

Bibliography

Notes

Served as a host of numerous golf tournaments including the Claude Akins/Julius Boros Kansas City Shine Classic in 1978.