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 Gunsmoke, detailing the origins of his character Chester's limp and country bumpkin accent. He also talks about his subsequent work on series including Kentucky Jones and Gentle Ben, and discusses his leading role on NBC's McCloud. Finally, he speaks about his more recent work, from movies made-for-television including Duel to the series Stone and Buck Jones. 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."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Dennis Weaver on moving to Hollywood to pursue a career in feature films
Dennis Weaver on his Gunsmoke character "Chester's" limp on Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on "Chester's" relationship with "Matt Dillion" on Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on working with Orson Welles and Charlton Heston in Touch of Evil 
Dennis Weaver on starring in the TV movie Duel directed by Steven Spielberg
Dennis Weaver on being cast in McCloud and the concept of the series
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on radio shows he listened to growing up and movies he enjoyed; on his earliest interest in acting
On his earliest experiences with seeing television; on early shows he appeared on including Captain Video and His Video Rangers; on learning method acting

Chapter 2

On appearing in an ad for Pall Mall cigarettes; on studying with Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio; on moving to Hollywood to pursue his career in feature films
On being a semi-regular on Dragnet with Jack Webb; on working with Orson Welles and Charlton Heston in Touch of Evil ;
On the concept of Gunsmoke and on his audition for the show; on his Gunsmoke character "Chester's" limp on Gunsmoke; on "Chester's" relationship with "Matt Dillon" on Gunsmoke

Chapter 3

On working with the cast of Gunsmoke; on directing some episodes of Gunsmoke; on the setting and filming locations of Gunsmoke
On the storylines of Gunsmoke; on his Gunsmoke Emmy Awards, and on working with the writers and producers; on the production schedule for Gunsmoke, and on leaving the series
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 directed by Steven Spielberg; on starring in the short-lived series Stone
On starring in Emerald Point, NAS; on starring in Buck James; on his philanthropic efforts with LIFE, a hunger organization with Valerie Harper
On appearing in Lonesome Dove: The Series; on appearing in The Virginian; on appearing in the made-for-television remake of High Noon
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 his acting style; on his advice to aspiring actors: on changes in the industry and the popularity of the western genre: on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Buck James

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Dennis Weaver on starring in Buck James

Captain Video and His Video Rangers

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Dennis Weaver on early shows he appeared on including Captain Video and His Video Rangers

Dragnet

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Dennis Weaver on being a semi-regular on Dragnet

Duel

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Dennis Weaver on starring in the TV movie Duel directed by Steven Spielberg

Emerald Point, N.A.S.

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Dennis Weaver on starring in Emerald Point, NAS

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Dennis Weaver on his Emmys for Gunsmoke and on working with the writers and producers

Gentle Ben

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Dennis Weaver on starring in Gentle Ben

Gunsmoke

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Dennis Weaver on the concept of Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on auditioning for Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on his Gunsmoke character "Chester's" limp on Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on "Chester's" relationship with "Matt Dillon" played by James Arness on Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on "Chester's" relationship with "Matt Dillion" on Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on working with Amanda Blake as "Miss Kitty" on Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on Milburn Stone as "Doc Adams" on Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on directing some episodes of Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on the setting and filming locations of Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on the storylines of Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on his Gunsmoke Emmy Awards, and on working with the writers and producers
Dennis Weaver on the production schedule for Gunsmoke, and on his directing the series
Dennis Weaver on leaving Gunsmoke

Kentucky Jones

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Dennis Weaver on starring in Kentucky Jones

Lone Ranger, The

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Dennis Weaver on appearing on various series including The Lone Ranger

Lonesome Dove: The Series

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Dennis Weaver on appearing in Lonesome Dove: The Series

McCloud

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Dennis Weaver on being cast in McCloud and the concept of the series
Dennis Weaver on the production of McCloud

Stone

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Dennis Weaver on starring in the short-lived series Stone

Virginian, The

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Dennis Weaver on appearing in The Virginian
Topics

Advice

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Dennis Weaver on his advice to aspiring actors

Emmy Awards

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Dennis Weaver on his Emmys for Gunsmoke and on working with the writers and producers

Television Industry

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Dennis Weaver on his advice to aspiring actors
Dennis Weaver on how television has changed since he started
Professions

Actor

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Dennis Weaver on learning method acting
Dennis Weaver on studying with Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio
Dennis Weaver on his advice to aspiring actors
Dennis Weaver on his acting style

Performers

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Dennis Weaver on learning method acting
Dennis Weaver on studying with Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio
Dennis Weaver on his advice to aspiring actors
Dennis Weaver on his acting style
Genres

Commercials

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Dennis Weaver on appearing in an ad for Pall Mall cigarettes

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Dennis Weaver on being a semi-regular on Dragnet with Jack Webb
Dennis Weaver on being cast in McCloud and the concept of the series
Dennis Weaver on starring in the short-lived series Stone
Dennis Weaver on starring in Emerald Point, NAS

Drama Series

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Dennis Weaver on starring in Kentucky Jones
Dennis Weaver on starring in Gentle Ben

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Dennis Weaver on starring in the TV movie Duel directed by Steven Spielberg

Western Series

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Dennis Weaver on playing "Chester" on Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on playing "Chester" on Gunsmoke
Dennis Weaver on appearing in Lonesome Dove: The Series
Dennis Weaver on appearing in The Virginian
Dennis Weaver on how the western genre will always be with us
People

James Arness

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Dennis Weaver on "Chester's" relationship with "Matt Dillon" played by James Arness on Gunsmoke

Amanda Blake

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Dennis Weaver on working with Amanda Blake on Gunsmoke

Stephen J. Cannell

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Dennis Weaver on starring in the short-lived series Stephen J. Cannell Stone

Valerie Harper

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Dennis Weaver on his philanthropic efforts with LIFE, a hunger organization with Valerie Harper

Charlton Heston

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Dennis Weaver on working with Orson Welles and Charlton Heston in Touch of Evil 

Harry Morgan

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Dennis Weaver on starring in Kentucky Jones with co-star Harry Morgan

Steven Spielberg

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Dennis Weaver on starring in the TV movie Duel directed by Steven Spielberg

Milburn Stone

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Dennis Weaver on Milburn Stone as "Doc Adams" on Gunsmoke

Lee Strasberg

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Dennis Weaver on studying with Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio

Jack Webb

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Dennis Weaver on being a semi-regular on Dragnet with Jack Webb

Orson Welles

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Dennis Weaver on working with Orson Welles and Charlton Heston in Touch of Evil 

All Interviews

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