Jim Davis (actor)

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Jim Davis
Jim Davis Winter Meeting.jpg
Marlin Davis

(1909-08-26)August 26, 1909
DiedApril 26, 1981(1981-04-26) (aged 71)
Northridge, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California
Years active1942–1981
Blanche Hammerer
(m. 1949)
Davis and Mary Castle in TV's Stories of the Century (1954) Jim Davis-Mary Castle in Stories of the Century.jpg
Davis and Mary Castle in TV's Stories of the Century (1954)

Jim Davis (born Marlin Davis, August 26, 1909 – April 26, 1981) was an American actor, best known for his role as Jock Ewing in the CBS primetime soap opera, Dallas , a role he continued until he was too ill from a terminal illness to perform.


Life and career

Born in Edgerton in Platte County in northwestern Missouri, Davis attended high school in Dearborn, and the Baptist-affiliated William Jewell College in Liberty. At WJC, he played tight end on the football team and graduated with a degree in political science. [1] He served in the United States Coast Guard during World War II. [2]

He was known as Jim Davis by the time of his first major screen role, which was opposite Bette Davis in the 1948 melodrama Winter Meeting , [3] [ self-published source? ]. His subsequent film career consisted of mostly B movies, many of them Westerns, although he made an impression as a U.S. Senator in the Warren Beatty conspiracy thriller The Parallax View .

In the episode "Little Washington" of the syndicated television series Death Valley Days , Davis portrayed Mark Tabor, a U.S. Representative from Nevada with aspirations to become governor of the new state. Collectively, Davis appeared 13 times on Death Valley Days. In 1965, Davis played an historical figure, the wagon master Ezra Meeker, who is abandoned by members of his wagon train, who decided to stop the trip to Oregon instead to prospect for gold in the episode "Devil's Gate". [4] In 1967, Davis was cast as the freighter Luke Campbell of Deadwood, South Dakota, in the episode "The Day They Stole the Salamander", a reference to a Salamander Safe. [5] In 1969, Davis played Colonel William G. Butler (1831–1912), who takes revenge on the since ghost town of Helena, Texas, after its citizens refuse to disclose the killer of Butler's son, Emmett. Butler arranges for the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway to bypass Helena; instead Karnes City, south of San Antonio, became the seat of government of Karnes County. [6]

In 1954–1955, Davis starred and narrated the syndicated Western anthology television series Stories of the Century . He portrayed Matt Clark, a detective for the Southwest Railroad, who works to bring notorious gunfighters and outlaws to justice. His costars were Mary Castle and Kristine Miller. Stories of the Century was the first Western series to win an Emmy Award. Among the historical figures featured were John Wesley Hardin, Sam Bass, Doc Holliday, the Dalton Brothers, the Younger Brothers, Belle Starr, Joaquin Murietta, L. H. Musgrove, and Clay Allison. In 1957, he played an outlaw with scruples on Tales of Wells Fargo with Dale Robertson.

From 1958-1960, Davis starred as Wes Cameron opposite Lang Jeffries in the role of Skip Johnson in the syndicated adventure series Rescue 8 . About this time, he guest-starred on the syndicated crime drama, U.S. Marshal , starring John Bromfield.

Davis made two guest appearances on Perry Mason , as George Tabor in the season-six episode of "The Case of the Fickle Filly", and as murder victim Joe Farrell in the 1964, season-eight episode of "The Case of a Place Called Midnight". He also appeared on the Jack Lord adventure series, Stoney Burke . In 1964, Davis played Wyatt Earp in the episode "After the OK Corral" on Death Valley Days; William Tannen played the part of rancher and gunfighter Ike Clanton in the same episode.

Davis appeared 11 times on Gunsmoke and four times each on Daniel Boone , Wagon Train , and Laramie . In the next-to-the-last Laramie episode, entitled "Trapped" (May 14, 1963), he guest-starred with Tommy Sands, Claude Akins, and Mona Freeman. [7] In the story line, Slim Sherman (John Smith) finds an injured female kidnap victim in the woods (Freeman). Dennis Holmes, as series-regular Mike Williams, rides away to seek help, but the kidnappers reclaim the hostage. Slim pursues the kidnappers, but is mistaken as a third kidnapper by the girl's father (Barton MacLane). Sands plays the girl's boyfriend, who had been ordered by her father to stop seeing her. [8] Davis also appeared in an episode of The High Chaparral and in small roles in the 1971 John Wayne vehicles Rio Lobo (1970) and Big Jake (1971).

In 1974, he starred as Marshal Bill Winter in a short-lived ABC Western series The Cowboys , based on a 1972 film of the same name starring John Wayne.

Dallas and last years

After years of relatively low-profile roles, Davis was cast as family patriarch Jock Ewing on Dallas , which debuted in 1978.

During season four, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, but continued to film the show as long as he could. In many scenes as the season progressed, he was shown seated, and his voice became softer and more obviously affected by his illness. He also wore a wig during the season's latter episodes to conceal his hair loss from chemotherapy.

A season-four storyline regarding the Takapa development and Jock's separation from Miss Ellie was ended abruptly near the end of the season. The writers depicted the couple suddenly leaving to go on an extended second honeymoon in Europe when Davis obviously could no longer continue to work. Their departure in a limousine in the episode "New Beginnings" was Davis' only scene in that episode, and his condition was so poor that close watching reveals (based on his unsynchronized lip movement) that he overdubbed his one last line of dialogue. It was his final appearance on the show; he was absent from the final two episodes of season four.

He died of complications from his illness while season four was being aired.

The decision had already been made prior to Davis' death not to recast the character with another actor. [9] Furthermore, after he died the producers strongly considered leaving his name and photos in the opening credits for the duration of the series. [10]

The Jock Ewing character remained alive off-screen after Davis' death for the last two episodes of season four and the first 11 episodes of season five.

The season-five storyline was that Jock and Ellie stopped briefly in Washington, DC, on their way home to Dallas from their second honeymoon so that Jock could take care of some Ewing Oil-related legislative business. While they were there, the State Department asked Jock to go to South America to drill for oil, and Jock relished the opportunity to relive his wildcatting days, when he first made his fortune in Texas during the Depression. Ellie returned to Dallas, and she and other characters were occasionally shown speaking to him on the telephone when he would call from South America to check on the family.

The fifth-season episode "The Search", which confirmed the character's death in a helicopter crash on his way home to Dallas from South America, was broadcast on January 8, 1982, and contained flashback scenes of the character. [11] [12]

A portrait of Davis in his role as Jock Ewing often appeared as a memorial on Dallas after his death.

Personal life

In 1949, after two short failed marriages, he met Blanche Hammerer (1918–2009) at the club "Mocambo" on the Sunset Strip. They later married and remained together for more than 30 years, until Davis's death in 1981. [13]

Their only child, daughter Tara Diane Davis (January 15, 1953 – February 9, 1970), was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 17. Davis later became close to his Dallas co-star Victoria Principal, who had a physical resemblance to his late daughter. [14]


Davis died at his home in Northridge, California, on April 26, 1981, aged 71. [1] He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. [15]


In February 1960, having already appeared as a guest star on 50 episodes across 20 different television series and having been the series lead of both Stories of the Century and Rescue 8, Davis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6290 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California. [16]


1942 Cairo SergeantUncredited
1942 Northwest Rangers MountieUncredited
1942Keep 'Em SailingJoseph CumminsShort film
1942 White Cargo Seaplane PilotUncredited
1942 Tennessee Johnson ReporterUncredited
1942 Stand By for Action TalkerUncredited
1943 Three Hearts for Julia Daily Globe Staff MemberUncredited
1943 Pilot #5 Military PolicemanUncredited
1943 Salute to the Marines Private SaundersUncredited
1943 Swing Shift Maisie InvestigatorUncredited
1945 What Next, Corporal Hargrove? Sgt. Hill
1946 Up Goes Maisie MatthewsUncredited
1946 Gallant Bess Harry
1947 The Beginning or the End Pilot at Tinian
1947 The Romance of Rosy Ridge Badge Dessark
1947 Merton of the Movies Von Strutt's AssistantUncredited
1947 The Fabulous Texan Sam Bass
1948 Winter Meeting Slick Novak
1949 Red Stallion in the Rockies Dave Ryder
1949 Hellfire Gyp Stoner
1949 Yes Sir, That's My Baby Joe Tascarelli
1949 Brimstone Nick Courteen
1950 The Savage Horde Lt. Mike Baker
1950 Hi-Jacked Joe Harper
1950 The Cariboo Trail Bill Miller
1950 The Showdown Cochran
1950 California Passage Lincoln Corey
1951 Three Desperate Men Fred Denton
1951 Oh! Susanna Ira Jordan
1951 Cavalry Scout Lt. Spaulding
1951 Little Big Horn Cpl. Doan Moylan
1951 Silver Canyon Wade McQuarrie
1951 The Sea Hornet Tony Sullivan
1952 Rose of Cimarron Willie Whitewater
1952 Woman of the North Country Steve Powell
1952 The Big Sky Streak
1952 Ride the Man Down Red Courteen
1953Bandit IslandBrad BellowsShort film
1953 Woman They Almost Lynched Cole Younger
1953 The President's Lady Jason RobardsUncredited
1954 Jubilee Trail Silky
1954 The Big Chase Brad Bellows
1954 The Outcast Major Linton Cosgrave
1954 The Outlaw's Daughter Marshal Dan Porter
1954 Hell's Outpost Sam Horne
1955 Timberjack Poole
1955 The Last Command Ben Evans
1955 The Vanishing American Glendon
1955 Last of the Desperados Chief Deputy John Poe
1956 The Bottom of the Bottle George Cady
1956 The Wild Dakotas Aaron Baring
1956 The Maverick Queen The Stranger / Jeff Younger
1956 Blonde Bait Nick RandallUncredited (USA version)
1956 Frontier Gambler Tony Burton
1957 Duel at Apache Wells Dean Cannary
1957 The Quiet Gun Ralph Carpenter
1957 The Badge of Marshal Brennan Jeff Harlan / The Stranger
1957 Monster from Green Hell Dr. Quent Brady
1957 The Restless Breed Newton
1957 The Last Stagecoach West Bill Cameron
1957 Apache Warrior Ben Ziegler
1957 Raiders of Old California Captain Angus Clyde McKane
1958 The Toughest Gun in Tombstone Johnny Ringo
1958 Wolf Dog Jim Hughes
1958 Flaming Frontier Col. Hugh Carver
1958 A Lust to Kill Marshal Matt Gordon
1959 Alias Jesse James Frank James
1960 Noose for a Gunman Case Britton
1960 The Magnificent Seven GunmanUncredited
1961 Frontier Uprising Jim Stockton
1961 The Gambler Wore a Gun Case Silverthorne
1964 Iron Angel Sgt. Walsh
1965 Zebra in the Kitchen Adam Carlyle
1966 Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter Marshal MacPhee
1966 El Dorado Jim Purvis (Bart Jason's foreman)
1967 Fort Utah Scarecrow
1967Border Lust
1968 The Road Hustlers Noah Reedy
1968They Ran for Their LivesVince Ballard
1969 The Ice House Jake
1970Five Bloody GravesClay Bates
1970 Monte Walsh Cal Brennan
1970 Rio Lobo Riley
1971VanishedCapt. CooledgeTV Movie
1971 Big Jake Head of the Lynching Party
1971 Dracula vs. Frankenstein Sgt. Martin
1971 The Trackers Sheriff NaylorTV Movie
1972 The Honkers Sheriff Potter
1972 Bad Company Marshal
1973 One Little Indian Trail Boss
1973 Deliver Us from Evil DixieTV Movie
1974 The Parallax View George Hammond
1974Inferno in ParadiseRocky Stratton
1975 Satan's Triangle Hal BancroftTV Movie
1975The Runaway BargeCapt. Buckshot BatesTV Movie
1976Law of the LandSheriff Pat LambroseTV Movie
1977 The Legend of Frank Woods Deputy
1977EnigmaColonel ValentineTV Movie
1977 Just a Little Inconvenience Dave EricksonTV Movie
1977 The Choirboys Capt. Drobeck
1978Killing StoneSen. Barry TylerTV Movie
1978 Comes a Horseman Julie Blocker
1980 The Day Time Ended Grant Williams
1981 Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy 'Satchel' Paige Mr. WilkensonTV Movie (final film role)
1951–1954 Fireside Theatre Col. Streeter
Wesley Dean
9 episodes
1952 Dangerous Assignment Bill Norton
Walter Norton
Lt. Makam
5 episodes
1952 Gang Busters Capt. Bob StewartEpisode: "The Barrow Gang"
1952 The Unexpected DetectiveEpisode: "Leopards in Lighting"
1952–1953 Cowboy G-Men Tom Owens
Sheriff Jack Wardlow
Dance / Shafer Henchman
Episode: "Running Iron"
Episode: "Silver Shotgun"
Episode: "Stolen Dynamite"
Episode: "Double Crossed"
1953 Death Valley Days Congressman Mark TaborSeason 2, Episode 2, "Little Washington"
1953–1969 Death Valley Days Pony Cragin
Luke Campbell
The Sheriff
Col. William Butler
9 other episodes
1954–1955 Stories of the Century Matt Clark39 episodes
1955 Cavalcade of America J. L. ArmstrongEpisode: "The Texas Rangers"
1957 The Millionaire Jim DriskillEpisode: "The Jim Driskill Story"
1957 Playhouse 90 SheriffEpisode: "Four Women in Black"
1957–1958 The Silent Service Walter RuheEpisode: "Boomerang"
Episode: "Cargo for Crevalle"
Episode: "The Sea Devil Attacks Puget Sound"
Tales of Wells Fargo Al Porter
Sam Horne
Jonus Sawyer
Episode: "Two Cartridges"
Episode: "The Lobo"
Episode: "Don't Wake a Tiger"
1958 26 Men Father DiegoEpisode: "The Bells of St. Thomas"
1958 M Squad Harry Evans / Mickey SevilleEpisode: "The Case of the Double Face"
1958–1960 Rescue 8 Wes Cameron78 episodes
General Electric Theater Fitz
Cole Treuitt
Episode: "The Castaway"
Episode: "Journey to a Wedding"
1959 U.S. Marshal Harvey GrangerEpisode: "Federal Agent"
1959 Yancy Derringer Bullet PikeEpisode: "Two Tickets to Promontory"
1960 Markham Neal HollandEpisode: "The Snowman"
1960 The Tall Man Bob OrringerEpisode: "Forty-Dollar Boots"
Episode: "The Lonely Star"
Laramie Hake Ballard
Ben McKittrick
Jim Genoway
Episode: "Trail Drive"
Episode: "Shadow of the Past"
Episode: "The Dispossessed"
Episode: "Trapped"

Wagon Train Gabe Henry
Dan Ryan
Clyde Hubble
Rudd Basham
Episode: "The Candy O'Hara Story"
Episode: "The Eve Newhope Story"
Episode: "The Jim Whitlow Story"
Episode: "The Melanie Craig Story"
1961 Manhunt Catlin
Episode: "Kidnapped"
Episode: "The Guest of Honor
1961 The Deputy Trace PhelanEpisode: "The Lonely Road"
1961 Coronado 9 Barton KincaidEpisode: "Gone Goose"
1961OutlawsSteedEpisode: "The Brothers"
1961 Gunslinger Jeb CraneEpisode: "New Savannah"
1961 The Aquanauts Sam HogarthEpisode: "The Diana Adventure"
1961 Whispering Smith Sam ChandlerEpisode: "The Homeless Wind"
Bonanza Sam Wolfe
Sam Butler
Episode: "The Gift"
Episode: "Lothario Larkin"
Episode: "The Arrival of Eddie"
1962 Thriller The MarshalEpisode: "'Til Death Do Us Part"
1962 Lassie Ed BatesEpisode: "Quick Brown Fox"
1962 Stoney Burke Shep WintersEpisode: "Cousin Eunice"
1962 Have Gun – Will Travel Al LongEpisode: "The Treasure"
Perry Mason George Tabor
Joe Farrell
Episode: "The Case of the Fickle Filly"
Episode: "The Case of a Place Called Midnight"
Rawhide Sheriff Sam JasonEpisode: "The Greedy Town"
Episode: "The Pursuit"
1963 The Donna Reed Show RedEpisode: "Pioneer Woman"
1963 Alcoa Premiere TimEpisode: "Jenny Ray"
1964 The Littlest Hobo Danny KilgarrenEpisode: "Double-Cross"
1965 The Lucy Show CardenasEpisode: "Lucy Goes to Vegas"
1965 Laredo Sheriff Wes CottrellEpisode: "The Golden Trail"
Branded Malachi Murdock
James Swaney
Episode: "One Way Out"
Episode: "Salute the Soldier Briefly"
Episodes: "The Assassins: Part 1 & 2"
1966 The Time Tunnel Col. Jim BowieEpisode: "The Alamo"
Daniel Boone Carpenter
Sam Ralston
Scud Tumbrill
Rafe Carson
Episode: "River Passage"
Episode: "The Ordeal of Israel Boone"
Episode: "A Pinch of Salt"
Episode: "The Road to Freedom"
1967 Hondo KrantzEpisode: "Hondo and the Eagle Claw"
Episode: "Hondo and the War Cry"
Episode: "Hondo and the War Hawks"
1966–1974 Gunsmoke Wes Cameron
Sheriff Shackwood
Amos Carver
Dave Carpenter
Luke Rumbaugh
11 episodes
1967 Cimarron Strip Clo VardemanEpisode: "The Search"
1968 The Guns of Will Sonnett Sheriff HawksEpisode: "The Warriors"
1968 The Virginian McKinleyEpisode: "The Heritage"
1970 The High Chaparral RobbinsEpisode: "New Hostess in Town"
1971 The Men from Shiloh RoperEpisode: "The Politician"
1972 Night Gallery Abe BennettEpisode: "The Waiting Room"
1972 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Peter MerlinoEpisode: "Discovery at Fourteen"
1972 The Sixth Sense Anson BeigeEpisode: "Echo of a Distant Scream"
1972 The F.B.I. Ellis BengstonEpisode: "The Runner"
1972 The Wonderful World of Disney Col. PorterEpisode: "The High Flying Spy" Part 1
1973 Cannon Henry RawdonEpisode: "The Seventh Grave"
1973 Kung Fu Joe Walker
Sheriff Grogan
Episode: "The Soul is the Warrior"
Episode: "The Well"
1973 Banacek Ed McKayEpisode: "If Max is So Smart, Why Doesn't He Tell Us Where He Is?"
The Streets of San Francisco Reid Bradshaw
Roy Johnson
Episode: "Shattered Image"
Episode: "The Hard Breed"
1974 The Cowboys Marshal Bill Winter12 episodes
1975 Caribe David MayfieldEpisode: "Lady Killer"
1976 The Blue Knight DanielsEpisode: "Death Echo"
1976 The Quest Marshal PulmanEpisode: "Prairie Woman"
1977 The Oregon Trail J. D. PriceEpisode: "Evan's Vendetta"
1977 Hunter Raymond SpencerEpisode: "The Hit"
1978 Project U.F.O. Earl ClayEpisode: "Sighting 4002: The Joshua Flats Incident"
1979 The Wonderful World of Disney Pop AplingEpisode: "Trail of Danger" Parts 1 & 2
1978–1981 Dallas Jock Ewing 77 episodes (final TV role)

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