Dennis Weaver



Birth Place
Joplin, Missouri, USA
June 04, 1924
February 24, 2006
Cause of Death


A laconic performer who possessed an Everyman quality that rendered him perfect for the small screen, actor Dennis Weaver was a television mainstay for more than 40 years, appearing in a variety of television movies while starring on two long-running series, "Gunsmoke" (CBS, 1955-1975) and "McCloud" (1970-77). Having started his career in features, Weaver made the jump to television with...

Family & Companions

Gerry Stowell
Married on October 20, 1945.


Weaver has been identified with environmental concerns and built a house completely from recycled materials.


A laconic performer who possessed an Everyman quality that rendered him perfect for the small screen, actor Dennis Weaver was a television mainstay for more than 40 years, appearing in a variety of television movies while starring on two long-running series, "Gunsmoke" (CBS, 1955-1975) and "McCloud" (1970-77). Having started his career in features, Weaver made the jump to television with a few guest appearances before spending several seasons playing the popular Chester Goode on "Gunsmoke." After leaving the show in 1964, he built off that success into a number of false starts until finally hitting his stride as the star of "McCloud," which showcased him as an easygoing cowboy lawman dealing with the stark pessimism of New York City - a role that many associated with Weaver above all others. While on the show, he starred as an unassuming motorist terrorized by a trucker in "Duel" (ABC, 1971), and spent the decades after "McCloud" ended in a series of made-for-TV movies and series like "Cocaine: One Man's Seduction" (NBC, 1983) and "Buck James" (ABC, 1987-88). An avowed environmentalist and champion of liberal causes, Weaver forged a legacy beyond Hollywood that highlighted his unending empathy for his fellow man, all while retaining his stature as a notable performer.

Born June 4, 1924 in Joplin, MO, Weaver was raised by his father, Walter, and his mother, Lenna. Wanting to become an actor from childhood, Weaver excelled in high school drama, as well as athletics. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he earned a degree at the University of Oklahoma and tried out for the U.S Olympic team for the decathlon, only to fail to qualify after a sixth place finish. Weaver headed to New York City following college, where he studied at the famed Actors Studio. He appeared in a stage production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" opposite Shelley Winters, and on Broadway in 1950 as college suitor Turk in "Come Back, Little Sheba" with Shirley Booth. After signing a contract with Universal Studios in 1952, Weaver migrated to Hollywood and made his screen debut in "The Raiders" (1952), though he was dropped by the studio a year later. On the small screen, he landed guest spots on "Dragnet" (syndicated, 1951-54) and "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" (CBS, 1951-59), while having a big year in 1955 with three movies: "The Bridges at Toko-Ri," "Ten Wanted Men" and "Seven Angry Men."

Weaver next landed his most recognizable role; that of the limping, comic-relief deputy Chester Goode on "Gunsmoke" (CBS, 1955-1975). With his trademark twang, Weaver was one of the more popular Dodge City residents and went on to become a major star in a role that won him the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in 1957. While on the show, he played a twitchy motel clerk in Orson Welles' film noir classic, "Touch of Evil" (1958), and was a man trapped inside his own dream for a 1961 episode of "The Twilight Zone" (CBS, 1959-1964). In 1964, Weaver left "Gunsmoke" to star in his own series, "Kentucky Jones" (NBC, 1964-65), where he portrayed a veterinarian who adopts a nine-year-old Chinese orphan. Weaver also starred in the feature "Gentle Giant" (1967), about a bear captured in the Everglades that is saved by a ranger and his son, which was turned into the short-lived series, "Gentle Ben" (CBS, 1967-69). He had his next hit series with "McCloud" (NBC, 1970-77), in which he starred as a cowboy law enforcement officer from New Mexico, who lands a long-running special assignment in New York City, where his typically high-spirited attitude clashes with his pessimistic counterparts. The show lasted a solid seven seasons, with Weaver traversing New York's streets on horseback becoming the show's most lasting image.

During his run on "McCloud," Weaver starred in Steven Spielberg's minor thriller masterpiece, "Duel" (ABC, 1971), playing an unassuming motorist terrorized by the unseen driver of a massive tanker truck. He was next cast as Abraham Lincoln in "The Great Man's Whiskers" (NBC, 1973), a lighter look at the great president's life and times, and as Benjamin Fuller, the professor studying natives, in "Ishi: The Last of His Tribe" (NBC, 1978). After "McCloud" solidified his popularity, he moved on to portray a cop and celebrity best-selling author on the short-lived "Stone" (ABC, 1979-1980), before offering a fine performance as the doctor who treats John Wilkes Booth - not knowing he has just assassinated Lincoln - in "The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd" (CBS, 1980). His common-Joe qualities played well in "Cocaine: One Man's Seduction" (NBC, 1983), in which he was a real estate agent whose life takes a new path after his addiction, after which he went on to head the cast of the primetime serial, "Emerald Point, N.A.S" (CBS, 1983-84), playing a commanding officer of a naval air post. After playing a factory foreman who gives up his job rather than admit he cannot read in "Bluffing It" (ABC, 1986), Weaver was a charming and confident trauma surgeon who nonetheless has troubles at home on the short-lived drama, "Buck James" (ABC, 1987-88). Upon early cancellation of that series, he was a small town sheriff in "Disaster at Silo 7" (ABC, 1989) before reprising his popular cowboy lawman in the made-for-television movie "The Return of Sam McCloud" (CBS, 1989).

Weaver next hosted the syndicated "Backstage at the Zoo" in 1991, a 12-part series about zoos from around the world with an emphasis on conservation. Weaver went on to juggle hosting gigs with his narrative projects, playing the vice president in the satirical "Mastergate" (Showtime, 1992) while hosting such specials as "A Tribute to the Singing Cowboy" (TNN, 1993) and "Ancient Secrets of the Bible, Part II" (CBS, 1993). He was the voice of Robert E. Lee in "Smithsonian's Great Battles of the Civil War" (TLC, 1994), before starring opposite Melissa Gilbert in "Seduction in a Small Town" (ABC, 1997). Weaver's output slowed down in the latter part of the decades with appearances in the television movies "The Virginian" (TNT, 2000) and "High Noon" (TNT, 2000). Following episodes of "The Beast" (ABC, 2001), "Family Law" (CBS, 1999-2001) and "Touched by an Angel" (CBS, 1994-2003), he had his last regular series role on "Wildfire" (ABC Family, 2004-08). Weaver's life and career were cut short on Feb. 24, 2006, after losing his battle with cancer, but he left behind an enduring legacy that included participating in numerous political causes. Weaver was a dedicated environmentalist and human rights activist who served as president of Love is Feeding Everyone (LIFE), which fed 150,000 needy people a week in Los Angeles County, and founded the Institute of Economics, which sought solutions to economic and environmental solutions. He also spoke at the United Nations to fight hunger and pollution, and built a so-called Earthship, a solar-powered house constructed from recycled tires and cans.



Cast (Feature Film)

Home on the Range (2004)
The Virginian (2000)
Sam Balaam
High Noon (2000)
Mart Howe
Submerged (2000)
Escape From Wildcat Canyon (1998)
Martin Flint
Seduction in a Small Town (1997)
Stolen Women: Captured Hearts (1997)
Captain Robert Farnsworth
Greyhounds (1994)
Mastergate (1992)
The Return of Sam McCloud (1989)
Disaster at Silo 7 (1988)
Walking After Midnight (1988)
Bluffing It (1987)
Jack Duggan
A Winner Never Quits (1986)
Going for the Gold: The Bill Johnson Story (1985)
Wally Johnson
Cocaine: One Man's Seduction (1983)
Eddie Gant
Don't Go To Sleep (1982)
The Day the Loving Stopped (1981)
Aaron Danner
The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd (1980)
Dr Samuel A Mudd
Amber Waves (1980)
Elroy "Bud" Burkhardt
Stone (1979)
The Ordeal of Patty Hearst (1979)
Ishi: The Last of His Tribe (1978)
The Islander (1978)
Gable Mcqueen
Intimate Strangers (1977)
Terror on the Beach (1973)
Neil Glynn
Female Artillery (1973)
Deke Chambers
The Great Man's Whiskers (1973)
Abraham Lincoln
Rolling Man (1972)
What's the Matter with Helen? (1971)
Linc[oln] Palmer
The Forgotten Man (1971)
Lieutenant Joe Hardy
Duel (1971)
Mission Batangas (1968)
Chip Corbett
Gentle Giant (1967)
Tom Wedloe
Duel at Diablo (1966)
Willard Grange
Way ... Way Out (1966)
The Gallant Hours (1960)
Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Jefferson Lowe III
Touch of Evil (1958)
The night man
Storm Fear (1956)
Chief Crazy Horse (1955)
Maj. Carlisle
Ten Wanted Men (1955)
Sheriff Clyde Gibbons
Seven Angry Men (1955)
John Brown, Jr.
The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1955)
Air intelligence officer
Dangerous Mission (1954)
Dragnet (1954)
Capt. Lohrman
The Mississippi Gambler (1953)
Julian Conant
The Man from the Alamo (1953)
The Golden Blade (1953)
It Happens Every Thursday (1953)
President of Jr. Chamber of Commerce
The Redhead from Wyoming (1953)
Matt Jessup
The Lawless Breed (1953)
Jim Clements
The Nebraskan (1953)
Capt. DeWitt
Law and Order (1953)
Frank Durling
War Arrow (1953)
Column South (1953)
The Raiders (1952)
Dick Logan
Horizons West (1952)
Dandy Taylor

Producer (Feature Film)

The Return of Sam McCloud (1989)
The Return of Sam McCloud (1989)
Co-Executive Producer

Music (Feature Film)

Amber Waves (1980)
Stone (1979)

Cast (Special)

Intimate Portrait: Linda Gray (2003)
Hopalong Cassidy: Public Hero #1 (2001)
The 2001 Genesis Awards (2001)
14th Annual Genesis Awards (2000)
SAG Awards Show (1999)
At Home With Dennis Weaver (1999)
Reconstructing Evil (1999)
John Denver: The E! True Hollywood Story (1998)
A Colorado Christmas (1998)
CBS: The First 50 Years (1998)
Steven Spielberg: An Empire of Dreams (1998)
50 Years of Television: A Celebration of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Golden Anniversary (1997)
The American Film Institute Salute to Steven Spielberg (1995)
Ancient Secrets of the Bible, Part II (1993)
A Tribute to the Singing Cowboy (1993)
Earth and the American Dream (1993)
What About Me? I'm Only 3! (1992)
Miracles and Other Mysteries (1991)
Earth '90: Children and the Environment (1990)
Farm Aid IV (1990)
Great Adventurers and Their Quests: Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade (1989)
Sea World's All-Star, Lone Star Celebration (1988)
Memories Then & Now (1988)
Sex Symbols: Past, Present and Future (1987)
A Star-Spangled Celebration (1987)
Amy Grant... Headin' Home For the Holidays (1986)
The 38th Annual Emmy Awards (1986)
The Wildest West Show of the Stars (1986)
CBS Tournament of Roses Parade (1984)
Country Top 20 (1981)
Host (Part 1)
The John Denver Special (1976)
Swing Out, Sweet Land (1976)
Lola (1976)

Music (Special)

Amy Grant... Headin' Home For the Holidays (1986)
Song Performer ("Sleighride")

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Pearl (1978)

Life Events


Co-starred on Broadway in "Come Back, Little Sheba"; later toured in the part


Signed to a contract by Universal; dropped after one year


Feature debut, "The Raiders"


Had early TV appearance in an episode of "Dragnet"


Co-starred as Chester Goode on the CBS Western "Gunsmoke"; won Emmy


Offered a fine supporting turn as a very nervous motel clerk in "Touch of Evil"


Made unsold musical pilot "TV Tonight"; sang and danced in the program


Appeared in feature film "Gentle Giant"


Made TV-movie debut, "Duel", directed by Stephen Spielberg


Starred opposite Debbie Reynolds in the feature thriller "What's the Matter With Helen?"


Cast as Abraham Lincoln in "The Great Man's Whiskers" (NBC)


Released album, "Dennis Weaver"


Hosted the syndicated series "Backstage at the Zoo"


Appeared in TNT TV remake of "The Virginian"


Had recurring role on the ABC summer series "The Beast"


Movie Clip

Gallant Hours, The (1960) -- (Movie Clip) Put That Ice Pick Away Admiral Halsey (James Cagney) gets the skinny on Yamomoto from Commander Pulaski (Vaughn Taylor) then diverts aide Lowe (Dennis Weaver) and doctor Keys (Walter Sande) in producer-director Robert Montgomery's bio-pic The Gallant Hours, 1960.
Gallant Hours, The (1960) -- (Movie Clip) Three Men In That Squad Will Survive Pacific commander Admiral Halsey (James Cagney) visiting with soldiers at Guadalcanal, with aide "Andy" (Dennis Weaver) and producer-director Robert Montgomery narrating, in The Gallant Hours, 1960.
Gallant Hours, The (1960) -- (Movie Clip) 22 November, 1945 Martial and reverent opening from producer-director and narrator Robert Montgomery, introducing James Cagney as Admiral "Bull" Halsey, in The Gallant Hours, 1960.
Duel (1971) -- (Movie Clip) Chuck's Cafe Pace of editing, noise and music increases as the demon truck is now openly out to get driver Dave (Dennis Weaver) in Steven Spielberg's TV movie Duel, 1971.
Duel (1971) -- (Movie Clip) Flammable The first encounter between driver Dave (Dennis Weaver) in his red Plymouth Valiant and a nasty looking tanker truck, with radio entertainment, from Steven Spielberg's TV movie Duel, 1971.
Duel (1971) -- (Movie Clip) Opening Credits The P.O.V. seems to be the hood of a car cruising through L.A., with extensive A-M radio accompaniment, in the opening titles from Steven Spielberg's T-V movie Duel (1971), starring Dennis Weaver.
Duel (1971) -- (Movie Clip) Passing Lane Dave Mann (Dennis Weaver) in his red Plymouth Valiant discovers the ill intentions of the unseen truck driver in Steven Spielberg's celebrated TV movie Duel, 1971.
Duel (1971) -- (Movie Clip) You Never Know In an extraordinary long take, a sample of internal monologue from the rattled Dave (Dennis Weaver) who soon discovers the killer truck isn't gone, in Steven Spielberg's Duel, 1971.
Seven Angry Men -- (Movie Clip) An Eye For An Eye Abolitionist John Brown (Raymond Massey) and sons (including Jeffrey Hunter, Guy Williams, Dennis Weaver) receive information and take revenge, reflecting historic events in Seven Angry Men, 1955, produced by Walter Mirisch.
Seven Angry Men -- (Movie Clip) No Blood Has Been Shed Rev. White (Leo Gordon) and band visit John Brown (Raymond Massey) and free-staters at Osawatomie, backed by younger Browns (including Guy Williams, Larry Pennell, Jeffrey Hunter and Dennis Weaver as nervous John Jr.) in Seven Angry Men, 1955.



Walter Weaver
Lenna Weaver
Rick Weaver
Producer. Born c. 1949.
Robby Weaver
Actor. Born c. 1953.
Rusty Weaver
Music engineer. Born c. 1959.


Gerry Stowell
Married on October 20, 1945.



Weaver has been identified with environmental concerns and built a house completely from recycled materials.