John Dehner

Active - 1941 - 1986  |   Born - Nov 23, 1915   |   Died - Feb 4, 1992   |   Genres - Western, Drama, Action, Comedy, Adventure

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Starting out as an assistant animator at the Walt Disney studios, John Dehner went on to work as a professional pianist, Army publicist, and radio journalist. From 1944 until the end of big-time radio in the early '60s, Dehner was one of the busiest and best performers on the airwaves. He guested on such series as Gunsmoke, Suspense, Escape, and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, and starred as British news correspondent J.B. Kendall on Frontier Gentleman (1958) and as Paladin in the radio version of Have Gun Will Travel (1958-1960). On Broadway, he appeared in Bridal Crown and served as director of Alien Summer. In films from 1944, Dehner played character roles ranging from a mad scientist in The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters (1954) to Sheriff Pat Garrett in The Left-Handed Gun (1958) to publisher Henry Luce in The Right Stuff (1983). Though he played the occasional lead, Dehner's cocked-eyebrow imperiousness generally precluded any romantic entanglements; he once commented with pride that, in all his years as an actor, he never won nor kissed the heroine. As busy on TV as elsewhere, Dehner was seen regularly on such series as The Betty White Show (1954), The Westerner (1960), The Roaring '20s (1961), The Baileys of Balboa (1964), The Doris Day Show (1968), The Don Knotts Show (1969), Temperatures Rising (1973-1974), Big Hawaii (1977), Young Maverick (1979-1980), and Enos (1980-1981). He also essayed such TV-movie roles as Dean Acheson in The Missiles of October (1974). Working almost up to the end, John Dehner died of emphysema and diabetes at the age of 76.

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