Clint Walker

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his nearly three-hour Archive interview, Clint Walker (1927-2018) talks about the many odd jobs he held before embarking on a film and television career. He tells how he ventured out to Hollywood and landed a role in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments," and how the role led to other film projects and eventually a contract with Warner Brothers. Walker then details the series for which he's best know, Cheyenne, in which he played the title character, "Cheyenne Bodie." He describes auditioning for the role, how he kept in shape, and the many stunts he performed on the program. He outlines the show's production schedule, speaks about his co-stars and famous guest-stars, and explains the importance of Cheyenne as television's first hour-long Western. He explains why he believes Westerns were so popular in the 1950s and why their popularity waned. Walker then talks of his famous contract dispute with Jack Warner, chronicles how Ty Hardin came to play the lead in Cheyenne, and gives his reasons for returning and then ultimately leaving the program. He talks about other film and television appearances, including those in "The Night of the Grizzly," the made-for-television movie Yuma, and the series Kodiak. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on September 21, 2012 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"I think they had all the leading men available in Hollywood to test for 'Cheyenne' two days in a row and they had me test with them. The first day I was very, very nervous. I could see all these people that I'd seen in pictures over the years and I thought, 'I don't stand a chance.' The second day I thought, 'I'm not going to get the job anyway so why don't I just relax and enjoy it.' Which I did. Then the next thing I heard about four days later was Jack Warner reviewed all the stuff, pointed to me and said, 'That is 'Cheyenne.''"

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Clint Walker on advice to aspiring actors
Clint Walker on getting cast in "The Dirty Dozen"
Clint Walker on realizing how famous he was
Clint Walker on the legacy of Cheyenne
Clint Walker on 1974's Kodiak
Clint Walker on Cheyenne being one of the first successful Westerns
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and influences; on Jack Warner giving him the name "Clint"; on odd jobs he held over the years and his fascination with tools
On his high school years and working on a river-boat; on serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II; on how he got to Hollywood
On getting a role in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments"; on his first film job; on getting a contract at Warner Brothers and winning the lead in Cheyenne
On the premise of Cheyenne; on doing film roles while also doing a TV show; on shooting the first episode of Cheyenne; on his character, "Cheyenne Bodie"

Chapter 2

On his hat and ensemble as "Cheyenne Bodie"; on what he had in common with "Cheyenne"; on heading up a parade in his hometown; on his approach to acting
On the format, guest stars, and stunts on Cheyenne; on a typical production day and fellow actors who appeared on the show
On his height, Cheyenne's shooting schedule, and the birth and appeal of the Western genre
On the producers, directors, and showrunners on Cheyenne; on shooting on location and on the backlot; on how he stayed in shape
On wanting to do features; on Ty Hardin becoming the lead in Cheyenne when Walker had a contract dispute and Hardin spinning off in Bronco

Chapter 3

On difficult shooting circumstances on Cheyenne; on contract negotiations with Jack Warner and wanting to do features
On favorite episodes and storylines on Cheyenne; on fame
On the popularity and subsequent demise of television Westerns; on attending memorabilia events
On guest-starring on other television series; on his role in the film "The Dirty Dozen"; on the favorite of his feature films - "The Night of the Grizzly"
On appearing in Aaron Spelling's TV movie Yuma; on 1974's Kodiak; on playing "Cheyenne Bodie" in projects other than Cheyenne
On his skiing accident and how it affected him; on current (2012) projects; on his proudest achievements and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Bronco

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Clint Walker on Ty Hardin becoming the lead in Cheyenne when Walker had a contract dispute and Hardin spinning off in Bronco

Cheyenne

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Clint Walker on winning the starring role in Cheyenne as part of the new WB television lineup: King's Row, Casablanca, and Cheyenne
Clint Walker on the premise, setting, and sound effects of Cheyenne
Clint Walker on the theme song to Cheyenne
Clint Walker on his tall stature helping him in certain instances, and hindering in others
Clint Walker on his schedule while shooting Cheyenne; on performing at rodeos and not getting a cut of Cheyenne merchandising 
Clint Walker on his approach to playing "Cheyenne Bodie" on Cheyenne
Clint Walker on shooting the first episode of Cheyenne
Clint Walker on his character, "Cheyenne Bodie", on Cheyenne; on riding horses
Clint Walker on how "Cheyenne" dressed
Clint Walker on the format, guest stars, and stunts on Cheyenne
Clint Walker on a typical production day on Cheyenne; on "Smitty" leaving the show
Clint Walker on actors who appeared on Cheyenne
Clint Walker on how his height affected his performance on Cheyenne
Clint Walker on the typical shooting schedule on Cheyenne; on rehearsal and improvisation
Clint Walker on Cheyenne being the first hour-long Western on television and the advantages over half-hour Westerns
Clint Walker on the popularity of Cheyenne; on the popularity of Westerns
Clint Walker on the producers, showrunners, and directors on Cheyenne
Clint Walker on location and backlot shooting on Cheyenne
Clint Walker on how he stayed in shape on Cheyenne; on the popularity of Westerns
Clint Walker on Ty Hardin becoming the lead in Cheyenne when Walker had a contract dispute and Hardin spinning off in Bronco
Clint Walker on working with stuntman Hal Needham on Cheyenne
Clint Walker on not complaining during an uncomfortable staged fight with Leslie H. Martinson on the set of Cheyenne
Clint Walker on favorite episodes and storylines on Cheyenne
Clint Walker on the legacy of Cheyenne; on questions he still gets from fans

Jack Benny Program, The

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Clint Walker on guest-starring on The Jack Benny Show
Topics

Bloopers

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Clint Walker on being overly tired on the set of Cheyenne and misspeaking a line about gun butts.

Characters & Catchphrases

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Clint Walker on his approach to playing "Cheyenne Bodie" on Cheyenne
Clint Walker on his character, "Cheyenne Bodie", on Cheyenne; on riding horses

Fame and Celebrity

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Clint Walker on fame

Memorable Moments on Television

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Clint Walker on guest-starring on The Jack Benny Show

Pop Culture

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Clint Walker on the theme song to Cheyenne
Clint Walker on his approach to playing "Cheyenne Bodie" on Cheyenne
Clint Walker on his character, "Cheyenne Bodie", on Cheyenne; on riding horses

TV Theme Songs

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Clint Walker on the theme song to Cheyenne

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Clint Walker on the legacy of Cheyenne

Television Industry

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Clint Walker on Ty Hardin becoming the lead in Cheyenne when Walker had a contract dispute and Hardin spinning off in Bronco
Clint Walker on fame

War

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Clint Walker on serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II

World War II

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Clint Walker on serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II
Professions

Actor

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Clint Walker on his approach to acting

Performers

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Clint Walker on his approach to acting
Genres

Western Series

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Clint Walker on winning the starring role in Cheyenne; on the setting, premise, and theme song  
Clint Walker on his approach to playing "Cheyenne Bodie"; on the ins and outs of the character, and shooting the first episode of Cheyenne
Clint Walker on Cheyenne being one of the first successful Westerns; on Westerns as a format
Clint Walker on his ensemble, format, guest stars, and stunts on Cheyenne; on a typical production day
Clint Walker on the producers, directors, and showrunners on Cheyenne; on shooting on location and on the backlot; on how he stayed in shape
Clint Walker on Ty Hardin becoming the lead in Cheyenne when Walker had a contract dispute and Hardin spinning off in Bronco
Clint Walker on the popularity and subsequent demise of television Westerns
Clint Walker on favorite episodes, storylines, and fan reactions to Cheyenne
People

Lucille Ball

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Clint Walker on working with Lucille Ball

Richard Bare

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Clint Walker on his favorite directors on Cheyenne - Richard Bare

Jack Benny

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Clint Walker on guest-starring on The Jack Benny Show

Dan Blocker

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Clint Walker on actors who appeared on Cheyenne - Dan Blocker

Cecil B. DeMille

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Clint Walker on getting a role in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments"

Angie Dickinson

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Clint Walker on actors who appeared on Cheyenne - Angie Dickinson

James Drury

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Clint Walker on sitting next to James Drury (The Virginian) at memorabilia events

Jack Elam

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Clint Walker on actors who appeared on Cheyenne - Jack Elam

James Garner

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Clint Walker on actors who appeared on Cheyenne - James Garner

Dennis Hopper

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Clint Walker on actors who appeared on Cheyenne - Dennis Hopper

Roy Huggins

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Clint Walker on the producers and showrunners of Cheyenne - Roy Huggins

Leslie H. Martinson

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Clint Walker on not complaining during an uncomfortable staged fight with Leslie H. Martinson on the set of Cheyenne

Hal Needham

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Clint Walker on working with stuntman Hal Needham on Cheyenne

Aaron Spelling

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Clint Walker on appearing in Aaron Spelling's TV movie Yuma

Jack L. Warner

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Clint Walker on getting a contract at Warner Brothers
Clint Walker on winning the starring role in Cheyenne as part of the new WB television lineup: King's Row, Casablanca, and Cheyenne
Clint Walker on his contract dispute and leaving Cheyenne
Clint Walker on contract negotiations with Jack Warner and wanting to do features

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