Trained at Northwestern University's drama department, onetime salesman Claude Akins was a Broadway actor when he was selected by a Columbia talent scout for a small role in the Oscar-winning From Here to Eternity (1953). With a craggy face and blunt voice that evoked memories of Lon Chaney Jr., Akins was a "natural" for villainous or roughneck roles, but was versatile enough to play parts requiring compassion and humor. A television actor since the "live" days, Akins achieved stardom relatively late in life via such genial adventure series as Movin' On (1974), B.J. and the Bear (1979), The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (1979) and Legmen (1984). In his last decade, Claude Akins was a busy-and most genial-commercial spokesperson.
by Hal Erickson biography