Dennis Weaver

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Dennis Weaver (1924-2006) reminisces about growing up in Missouri during the Great Depression, and remembers working as a migrant worker in his summers. He talks about his move to New York and his early acting experience, on the stage and on television. He describes his move to Hollywood under contract with Universal, and his move from feature films into television in the mid-1950s. Next, he speaks at length about his co-starring role on the long-running classic <i>Gunsmoke</i>, detailing the origins of his character Chester's limp and country bumpkin accent. He also talks about his subsequent work on series including <i>Kentucky Jones</i> and <i>Gentle Ben</i>, and discusses his leading role on NBC's <i>McCloud</i>. Finally, he speaks about his more recent work, from movies made-for-television including <i>Duel</i> to the series <i>Stone</i> and <i>Buck Jones</i>. Henry Colman conducted the interview in Malibu, CA on September 24, 2002.

"The basic message of Gunsmoke was that there's going to be the bad and there's going to be the good.  And most of the time, the good will win out.  That's an old theme. There are no new themes, it's just the way you do them. It's the way you bring fresh characters to that theme."

Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood, education, interest in acting and his first roles in television

Chapter 2

On working in a Pall Mall commercial; on studying acting; on getting a contract with Universal; and on working in various episodic series including Dragnet
On working with Orson Welles in his feature film Touch of Evil
On the concept of Gunsmoke; on being cast as Chester; on developing the character's limp

Chapter 3

On working with cast and crew of Gunsmoke; the production details; on leaving the series and its legacy
On starring in Kentucky Jones
On starring in Gentle Ben
On being cast in McCloud and the concept of the series

Chapter 4

On the production of McCloud
On starring in the TV movie Duel
On starring in the TV movie Amber Waves
On starring in Stone
On starring in Emerald Point, NAS
On starring in Buck James
On his philanthropic efforts with LIFE, a hunger organization
On appearing in Lonesome Dove, The Virginian, and High Noon TV movies

Chapter 5

On his Institute of Ecolonomics which focuses on the interdependence of ecology and economics
On summing up his career, on his acting style, on his advice to aspiring actors, on changes in the industry and the popularity of the western genre, and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Buck James

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Dennis Weaver on starring in Buck James
01:25

Captain Video and His Video Rangers

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Dennis Weaver on the first television shows he appeared in during the late 1940s
02:39

Dragnet

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Dennis Weaver on being a semi-regular on Dragnet
02:05

Duel

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Dennis Weaver on starring in the TV movie Duel
04:40

Emerald Point, N.A.S.

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Dennis Weaver on starring in Emerald Point, NAS
02:08

Gentle Ben

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Dennis Weaver on starring in Gentle Ben
04:14

Gunsmoke

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Dennis Weaver on the concept of Gunsmoke; on being cast as Chester; and on developing the character's limp
11:32
Dennis Weaver on working with cast and crew of Gunsmoke; the production details; on leaving the series and its legacy
16:17

Kentucky Jones

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Dennis Weaver on starring in Kentucky Jones
03:07

Lonesome Dove: The Series

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Dennis Weaver on appearing in Lonesome Dove
01:10

McCloud

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Dennis Weaver on being cast in McCloud and the concept of the series
04:36
Dennis Weaver on the production of McCloud
01:44

Stone

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Dennis Weaver on starring in the short-lived series Stone
02:29
Topics

Bloopers

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Dennis Weaver on the first television shows he appeared in during the late 1940s
02:39
Professions

Actor

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Dennis Weaver on his advice to aspiring actors
01:03
Genres

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Dennis Weaver on starring in the TV movie Duel
04:40

Western Series

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Dennis Weaver on how the western genre will always be with us
00:30
People

James Arness

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On the concept of Gunsmoke; on being cast as Chester; on developing the character's limp
11:32

Amanda Blake

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Dennis Weaver on working with Amanda Blake on Gunsmoke
01:38

Stephen J. Cannell

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Dennis Weaver on starring in the short-lived series Stone
02:29

Valerie Harper

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Dennis Weaver on his philanthropic efforts with LIFE, a hunger organization
02:25

Charlton Heston

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Dennis Weaver on working with Orson Welles in Touch of Evil 
03:46

Esther Shapiro

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Dennis Weaver on starring in Emerald Point
02:18

Sid Sheinberg

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Dennis Weaver on being cast in McCloud and the concept of the series
04:36

Steven Spielberg

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Dennis Weaver on starring in the TV movie Duel
04:40

Jack Webb

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Dennis Weaver on being a semi-regular on Dragnet
02:05

Orson Welles

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Dennis Weaver on working with Orson Welles in Touch of Evil 
03:46

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