Happy birthday Clint Walker!
Although he passed away due to congestive heart failure at 90 in 2018, his memory lives on. He was born on May 30, 1927, in Hartford, Illinois. Walker grew up in the Depression era and took countless jobs in numerous areas as a young man. He did everything from golf caddy to manning a riverboat, and carnival attendant. After joining the Merchant Marines during the war, he traveled across the country where he ended up in California.
He took a job as a security officer at Las Vegas’ Sands Hotel. It was there that some of Hollywood’s elite told him that his height and good looks could make him do well in acting. He took a chance and went to Los Angeles. Clint Walker’s first acting role was in 1954 as Tarzan in Jungle Gents.
His first theatrical big break came in 1956 in The Ten Commandments. Ironically, on his way to the audition, he pulled over on the side of the expressway to change a woman’s flat tire. The woman turned out to be the secretary to the director. He ended up getting a minor role in the movie.
He later starred in countless classic films like Send Me No Flowers, None But the Brave, and The Dirty Dozen.
Aside from his acting work, he was known for surviving a horrendous skiing accident in 1971. He was at Mammoth Mountain in California when a ski pole punctured his heart. Walker was actually pronounced dead as he had no recordable pulse or blood pressure. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was saved through surgery that repaired his ventricle.
Clint Walker and Cheyenne Bodie
In 1955, Warner Brothers cast Clint Walker as Cheyenne Bodie in the network’s first Western series, Cheyenne. His character was a cowboy that lived during the post-Civil War era. His backstory explained that Indians killed his parents but later raised him.
Three years after the show’s debut, a contract dispute took place. Clint Walker was away from the show for a time. During that period, the network replaced him with the character Bronco Layne, played by Ty Hardin. Walker returned to his character in 1959 only after his contract was negotiated.
Overall, the show had 108 episodes and concluded in 1962. Every episode his character had a new job and new goal, typically bringing a bad guy to justice.
Clint Walker and the Sunset Serenades released a musical album together. The group released Inspiration in 1959 to rave reviews from fans.