Who do you think of as America’s favorite uncle? Your mind went straight to Stamos, didn’t it? That’s alright. There’s nothing wrong with that. Completely understandable to adore John Stamos’ Uncle Jesse from “Full House.” He’s a great actor, and it’s a classic show. But allow us to suggest a different favorite uncle. Here at Outsider, we find Denver Pyle’s character on “Dukes of Hazzard” to be the more iconic Uncle Jesse.
And we’re not just saying that because we’re partial to “Dukes.” Denver Pyle was perhaps the greatest character actor of his generation, in terms of his footprint, at least. The man was prolific. He appeared in so many classic TV shows that it’s difficult to do his career justice.
According to IMDb, the “Dukes of Hazzard” star had 263 acting credits to his name. So many that your finger will get tired trying to scroll through them all. And more than a few of those appearances came on classic shows that we cover extensively here.
The ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Star’s Early Days
Denver Pyle’s career began in the late 1940s. And through the 1950s, he made a name for himself acting in Western TV shows and movies. The work he did during this period included appearances on shows like “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp” and “The Lone Ranger.”
The 1960s is when his career really took off, however. Pyle landed the role of Briscoe Darling on “The Andy Griffith Show,” appearing in six episodes from 1963-1966. The decade also saw Pyle play a number of different characters on the Western classic “Bonanza.”
He wasn’t done there, though. From 1956-1973, Denver Pyle appeared in 14 episodes of “Gunsmoke.” It’s almost as if he was the first guy an iconic show would call when they needed a character actor for a role.
Towards the end of the 1960s, Pyle found himself a regular on “The Doris Day Show.” He appeared in 53 episodes over the show’s first two seasons. In the mid-1970s, he ran into even more major success when he starred as Mad Jack in “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.”
That finally brings us to the “Dukes of Hazzard.” In 1979, Denver Pyle was brought in to play Uncle Jesse on a show that was only supposed to last eight episodes. Well, we know how that turned out. It went from a half-season role to 146 episodes over six years. And he endeared himself to millions as the Uncle of Bo, Luke, and Daisy Duke.
So nothing against John Stamos. But Denver Pyle was the first Uncle Jesse, and we feel that he deserves a little more recognition.