An economics major at the Brown University and the University of Chicago, cadaverous character actor John Dierkes spent the 1930s as an ad-copy writer and as head of an independent polling service. After serving with the Red Cross in World War II, Dierkes worked for the U.S. Treasury; it was in this capacity that he was sent to Hollywood in 1946 to act as technical advisor for MGM's To the Ends of the Earth. A talent scout for Orson Welles spotted Dierkes and convinced him to audition for the part of Ross in Welles' upcoming film version of MacBeth. Dierkes won the part, and remained in Hollywood for the next two decades. He went on to critical acclaim as the Tall Soldier in John Huston's The Red Badge of Courage (1951), topping this assignment with his best screen role, that of "Morgan" in George Stevens' Shane (1953). Suffering from emphysema, John Dierkes gradually cut down on his film and TV appearances in the 1970s; he was last seen in a fleeting role in the Stanley Kramer production Oklahoma Crude (1973).