Edgar Buchanan

Active - 1940 - 1974  |   Born - Mar 20, 1903   |   Died - Apr 4, 1979   |   Genres - Western, Comedy, Drama, Action, Adventure

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Intending to become a dentist like his father, American actor Edgar Buchanan wound up with grades so bad in college that he was compelled to take an "easy" course to improve his average. Buchanan chose a course in play interpretation, and after listening to a few recitations of Shakespeare he was stagestruck. After completing dental school, Buchanan plied his oral surgery skills in the summertime, devoting the fall, winter and spring months to acting in stock companies and at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. He was given a screen test by Warner Bros. studios in 1940, received several bit roles, then worked himself up to supporting parts upon transferring to Columbia Pictures. Though still comparatively youthful, Buchanan specialized in grizzled old westerners, with a propensity towards villainy or at least larceny. The actor worked at every major studio (and not a few minor ones) over the next few years, still holding onto his dentist's license just in case he needed something to fall back on. Though he preferred movie work to the hurried pace of TV filming, Buchanan was quite busy in television's first decade, costarring with William Boyd on the immensely popular Hopalong Cassidy series, then receiving a starring series of his own, Judge Roy Bean, in 1954. Buchanan became an international success in 1963 thanks to his regular role as the lovably lazy Uncle Joe Carson on the classic sitcom Petticoat Junction, which ran until 1970. After that, the actor experienced a considerably shorter run on the adventure series Cade's County, which starred Buchanan's close friend Glenn Ford. Buchanan's last movie role was in Benji (1974), which reunited him with the titular doggie star, who had first appeared as the family mutt on Petticoat Junction.

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