John Dehner Poster


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Overview (4)

Born in Richmond [now Staten Island], New York City, New York, USA
Died in Santa Barbara, California, USA  (emphysema and diabetes)
Birth NameJohn Dehner Forkum
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Unlike many actors, John Dehner's career didn't begin on the stage or on radio. He started out as an animator for Walt Disney Studios, then worked as a disc jockey and a professional pianist. He made his film debut in the 1940s, and has appeared in dozens of films. A tall and distinguished looking man with a rich voice and somewhat flamboyant demeanor, Dehner often was cast as an outlaw leader, crooked banker or saloon owner in westerns and adventure films, although he was occasionally cast against type in comedies, and played a crusading newspaper reporter in the TV series The Roaring 20's (1960).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

He had one of Hollywood's most distinctive faces and a stentorian baritone voice to match. Character actor John Dehner, was born John Forkum in Staten Island, New York, the son of a globe-trotting artist. He attended school in France and Norway, in the process learning to speak four languages fluently. Back in the U.S., he graduated from high school in New York and proceeded to study for a diploma in art at the University of California. Any plans he might have had of following in his father's footsteps were derailed, however, when the acting bug suddenly took hold. In short order, the cash-strapped Dehner relocated to sunny California in search of a job. He worked for a while as a professional pianist and band leader but was then able to finagle a position as an assistant animator with Disney Studios for a salary of $18 a week. Dehner had a hand in several classic feature sequences, including Fantasia (1940) and Bambi (1942), as well as a few Donald Duck and Pluto cartoons. He returned to Disney in later years as a narrator and also played the part of Viceroy Don Esteban in an episode of the TV series Zorro (1957).

After leaving the Disney art department, Dehner did a stint as a public relations officer in the army during World War II and then returned to California as a radio announcer and news editor for stations KMBC and KFWB. In the course of many years, Dehner amassed a remarkable series of radio acting credits, most notably starring as Paladin in "Have Gun - Will Travel" and in similarly popular action programmers like "Gunsmoke" and "Fort Laramie" (this, in spite of turning down several offers to play Marshall Matt Dillon on TV because he did not want to be typecast in westerns!). In films from the mid-40s, Dehner served a lengthy apprenticeship in assorted bit parts before graduating as one of Hollywood's most reliable villains, be they suave gamblers, crooked bankers, grifters or gunslingers. Just as often, his authoritarian demeanour proved perfect casting for stern fathers, military brass or cops. In The Left Handed Gun (1958), Dehner received second billing as Pat Garrett, co-starring opposite Paul Newman's Billy the Kid. On the small screen, he invariably made an impact as guest star in myriad classic TV shows, including Yancy Derringer (1958), Tales of Wells Fargo (1957), The Roaring 20's (1960), Maverick (1957), Bronco (1958), 77 Sunset Strip (1958), Rawhide (1959) and The Doris Day Show (1968) (a regular part during seasons four and five, as Doris's editor Cy Bennett). Dehner appeared in three episodes of The Twilight Zone (1959), reserving one of his best performances (displaying a wonderfully dry comic talent) as the titular huckster in late 1800s Arizona, in the episode "Mr. Garrity and the Graves" (1963).

One of Hollywood's most hard-working character actors, John Dehner died in Santa Barbara, California, on February 4 at the age of 76.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (2)

Evelyn Severance (25 March 1973 - 4 February 1992) ( his death)
Roma Leonore Meyers (22 February 1941 - 1970) ( divorced) ( 2 children)

Trivia (9)

He once appeared in as many as 6 films in one year (1956). Some of these roles were very small, but crucially important to the film (e.g. Mr. Bascombe, the potential robbery victim, in Carousel (1956)).
His television appearances in a single year were sometimes just as frequent as his film appearances. In 1959 alone, he made a total of nine guest appearances in several television series being aired at the time.
Began his show-business career as an artist at Walt Disney Studios.
As a news reporter, earned his radio station a Peabody Award for his coverage of the U.N. conference in San Francisco.
Auditioned three times for the role of Matt Dillon on radio's "Gunsmoke." Turned the role down because he did not want to be typecast as a cowboy.
Attended grammar school in Norway and France and learned to speak four languages.
Earlier in his career he was employed as the musical director of a touring stock company and a bandleader, as well as securing gigs as a professional pianist. He worked as an assistant animator at Disney for $18 a week. He got the job because his father already worked for Disney. Dehner had originally studied art and acting was not his first choice profession.
After World War II, he worked as an announcer and news editor at such California stations as KMPC and KFWB. His work in radio news won him a Peabody Award for his coverage of the first United Nations news conference.
In addition to Dehner's voluminous movie and television work, he was in hundreds of old-time radio shows from the 1940's through the 50's, including over 100 episodes as Paladin on the radio production of "Have Gun Will Travel", which ran in parallel with the TV show of the same name, starring Richard Boone.

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