George Glenn Strange
August 16, 1899
|Died||September 20, 1973 74) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, California, U.S.|
George Glenn Strange (August 16, 1899 – September 20, 1973) was an American actor who appeared in hundreds of Western films. He played Sam Noonan, the bartender on CBS's Gunsmoke television series, and was Frankenstein's monster in three Universal films during the 1940s.
Strange was born in Weed, New Mexico Territory,of Irish and Cherokee ancestry. He spoke Cherokee until he was about 13 years old, but in 1972 he stated "since that time I've had nobody to speak it with, so I’ve lost it."
He grew up on a ranch, and left school after eighth grade, for his father thought he had enough education to work with cattle. When he was 12 he began playing the fiddle at local dances.In 1928 he began performing music on an El Paso radio station. Another early job was heavy-weight boxing, which caused some "cauliflower" damage to his right ear.
Strange competed in the Hoot Gibson rodeo, but was injured when a horse fell on him. After the injury Gibson looked after him, and Strange began playing outlaws in Gibson's western films.
For much of Strange's acting career most of his roles were playing "bad man parts."He had roles in 300 films and 500 television episodes.
In 1932 he had a minor role as part of the Wrecker's gang in a 12-part serial, The Hurricane Express , starring John Wayne. He played numerous small parts in Paramount's popular Hopalong Cassidy film series, usually cast as a member of an outlaw's gang and occasionally as a local sheriff. In 1943, he played a badman in the Hopalong Cassidy movie False Colors . He played the killer Naylor Rand in the 1948 film Red River .
Beginning in 1949, he portrayed Butch Cavendish, the villain responsible for killing all but one of the Texas Rangers in the long-running television series The Lone Ranger . Strange appeared twice as Jim Wade on Bill Williams's syndicated Western series geared to juvenile audiences The Adventures of Kit Carson . He also appeared twice as Blake in the syndicated Western The Cisco Kid . In 1952, he was cast in the role of Chief Black Cloud in the episode "Indian War Party" of the syndicated The Range Rider . In 1954, Strange played Sheriff Billy Rowland in Jim Davis's syndicated Western series Stories of the Century . Strange appeared six times in 1956 in multiple roles on Edgar Buchanan's syndicated Judge Roy Bean . That same year, Strange appeared in an uncredited role as the sheriff in Silver Rapids in the Western movie The Fastest Gun Alive starring Glenn Ford. In 1958, he had a minor part in an episode of John Payne's The Restless Gun , and had an important role in the 1958 episode "Chain Gang" of the Western series 26 Men , true stories about the Arizona Rangers. That same year, he played rancher Pat Cafferty, who faces the threat of anthrax, in the episode "Queen of the Cimarron" of the syndicated Western series, Frontier Doctor . Strange appeared in six episodes of The Rifleman playing the same role in different variations: Cole, the stagecoach driver, in "Duel of Honor"; a stagecoach shotgun guard in "The Dead-eye Kid"; Joey, a stagecoach driver in "The Woman"; and an unnamed stagecoach driver in "The Blowout", "The Spiked Rifle", and "Miss Bertie".
Strange had parts in the ABC Western The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp , plus Annie Oakley , Buffalo Bill, Jr. , Wagon Train and other western television series.He played an Indian Chief in "Rawhide" S2 E8 "Incident of the Haunted Hills" which aired 11/5/1959.
He first appeared on Gunsmoke in 1960 after James Arness asked him "When are you going to do a Gunsmoke? I like to work with big guys."During Gunsmoke's sixth season Strange played a Long Branch customer in "Old Faces" and a cowboy in "Melinda Miles".
Strange began playing Sam Noonan during the seventh season, and continued on in the role for 222 episodes. In 1972 Strange was diagnosed with lung cancer, but worked as long as he was able. Five of his episodes were broadcast after his death. His last appearance was on the November 26, 1973 episode "The Hanging of Newly O’Brien".
In 1944, while Strange was being made up for an action film at Universal, make-up artist Jack Pierce noticed that Strange's facial features and 6'4"height would be appropriate for the role of Frankenstein's monster. Strange was cast in the 1944 film House of Frankenstein in the role created by Boris Karloff in Frankenstein (1931), coached by Karloff personally after hours.
Previous to House of Frankenstein, Strange starred as a Petro, who is turned into a wolf-monster by George Zucco, in The Mad Monster (1943). Another role in a horror film was in 1944's The Monster Maker . He also appeared as "The Giant" in the mystery film The Black Raven (1943).
Strange recounted a personal anecdote in Ted Newsom's documentary, 100 Years of Horror (1996). On the set of House of Dracula (1945), Lon Chaney Jr., got him extremely inebriated. In the scene in which the monster is discovered in a cave, Strange lay immersed for hours in "faked quicksand" (actually cold mud) waiting for the cameras to roll. As Glenn began to get a serious chill, Chaney recommended that alcohol would keep Strange warm. Strange could barely walk straight after the day's shooting.
Strange played the monster a third time in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), with Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man and Bela Lugosi in his second screen appearance as Count Dracula. Strange also appeared in character with Lou Costello in a haunted house skit on The Colgate Comedy Hour and made a gag publicity appearance as a masked flagpole-sitter for a local Los Angeles TV show in the 1950s. After weeks of the station teasing the public about the sitter's identity, Strange removed his mask and revealed himself as Frankenstein's monster (actually, yet another mask.) Strange also played a monster in the Bowery Boys horror-comedy Master Minds in 1949, mimicking the brain-transplanted Huntz Hall's frantic comedy movements, with Hall providing his own dubbed voice.
During the wave of monster-related merchandising in the late 1950s and 1960s, Glenn Strange's iconic image often was used for the monster on toys, games, and paraphernalia, most often from his appearance in the Abbott and Costello film. In 1969, The New York Times mistakenly published Boris Karloff's obituary with Glenn Strange's picture as the Frankenstein monster.
On September 20, 1973, at age 74, Strange died of lung cancer in Los Angeles, California. [ citation needed ]Singer Eddie Dean, with whom Strange had collaborated on various songs and opening themes for films, sang at Strange's funeral service as a final tribute. Strange is interred at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery.
Creighton Tull Chaney, known by his stage name Lon Chaney Jr., was an American actor known for playing Larry Talbot in the film The Wolf Man (1941) and its various crossovers, Count Alucard in Son of Dracula, Frankenstein's monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), the Mummy in three pictures, and various other roles in many Universal horror films, making him a horror icon. He also portrayed Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men (1939) and supporting parts in dozens of mainstream movies, including High Noon (1952), and The Defiant Ones (1958).
Andrew Vabre Devine was an American character actor known for his distinctive raspy, crackly voice and roles in Western films, including his role as Cookie, the sidekick of Roy Rogers in 10 feature films. He also appeared alongside John Wayne in films such as Stagecoach (1939), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and How the West Was Won. He is also remembered as Jingles on the TV series The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok from 1951 to 1958, as Danny McGuire in A Star Is Born (1937), and as the voice of Friar Tuck in the Disney Animation Studio film Robin Hood (1973).
Hugh Milburn Stone was an American actor, best known for his role as "Doc" on the CBS Western series Gunsmoke.
Tom London was an American actor who played frequently in B-Westerns. According to The Guinness Book of Movie Records, London is credited with appearing in the most films in the history of Hollywood, according to the 2001 book Film Facts, which says that the performer who played in the most films was "Tom London, who made his first of over 2,000 appearances in The Great Train Robbery, 1903. He used his birth name in films until 1924.
William Albert Henry was an American actor who worked in both films and television.
Tom Tyler was an American actor known for his leading roles in low-budget Western films in the silent and sound eras, and for his portrayal of superhero Captain Marvel in the 1941 serial film The Adventures of Captain Marvel. Tyler also played Kharis in 1940's The Mummy's Hand, a popular Universal Studios monster film.
Trevor Bardette was an American film and television actor. Among many other roles in his long and prolific career, Bardette appeared in several episodes of Adventures of Superman and as Newman Haynes Clanton, or Old Man Clanton, in 21 episodes of the ABC/Desilu western series, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.
Kenne Duncan was a Canadian-born American B-movie character actor. Hyped professionally as "The Meanest Man in the Movies," the vast majority of his over 250 appearances on camera were Westerns, but he also did occasional forays into horror, crime drama, and science fiction. He also appeared in over a dozen serials.
Hank Worden was an American cowboy-turned-character actor who appeared in many Westerns, including many John Ford films such as The Searchers and the TV series The Lone Ranger.
Peter Paul Fix was an American film and television character actor who was best known for his work in Westerns. Fix appeared in more than 100 movies and dozens of television shows over a 56-year career between 1925 and 1981. Fix portrayed Marshal Micah Torrance, opposite Chuck Connors's character in The Rifleman from 1958 to 1963. He later appeared with Connors in the 1966 Western film Ride Beyond Vengeance.
Dan White was an American actor, well known for appearing in Western films and TV shows.
Robert Joseph Wilke was an American film and television actor noted primarily for his roles as villains, mostly in Westerns.
Richard Alexander was an American film character actor.
Harry Lewis Woods was an American film actor.
Max Terhune was an American actor. He appeared in nearly 70 films, mostly B-westerns, between 1936 and 1956. Among these, Terhune starred in The Three Mesquiteers and Range Busters series.
John Samuel Ingram was an American film and television actor. He appeared in many serials and Westerns between 1935 and 1966.
Henry Edward Waller was an American stage, film and television actor. 1 2 3
Allan "Rocky" Lane was an American studio leading man and the star of many cowboy B-movies in the 1940s and 1950s. He appeared in more than 125 films and TV shows in a career lasting from 1929 to 1966. He is best known for his portrayal of Red Ryder and for being the voice of the talking horse on the television series Mister Ed, beginning in 1961.
Dennis Moore was an American actor who specialized in Western films and film serials.
Walter Sande was an American character actor, known for numerous supporting film and television roles.