Weaver died today from cancer. He was probably best known as Sam McCloud in the TV Series ‘McCloud’ which ran from 1970 to 1977. He started his career much earlier though.
Weaver was a struggling actor in Hollywood in 1955, earning $60 a week delivering flowers when he was offered $300 a week for a role in a new CBS television series, “Gunsmoke.” By the end of his nine years with “Gunsmoke,” he was earning $9,000 a week.
When Weaver first auditioned for the series, he found the character of Chester “inane.” He wrote in his 2001 autobiography, “All the World’s a Stage,” that he said to himself: “With all my Actors Studio training, I’ll correct this character by using my own experiences and drawing from myself.”
The result was a well-rounded character that appealed to audiences, especially with his drawling, “Mis-ter Dil-lon.”
At the end of seven hit seasons, Weaver sought other horizons. He announced his departure, but the failures of pilots for his own series caused him to return to “Gunsmoke” on a limited basis for two more years. The role brought him an Emmy in the 1958-59 season.
In 1966, Weaver starred with a 600-pound black bear in “Gentle Ben,” about a family that adopts a bear as a pet. The series was well-received, but after two seasons, CBS decided it needed more adult entertainment and cancelled it.
I’ll remember Dennis Weaver best as a guy being chased by a truck in the Steven Spielberg movie ‘Duel’.
I was very young when I first watched this made for TV movie. What freaked me out the most was the ending…the truck going over the cliff, the door swinging open, and the question – Did the driver get out? Is he still on the loose?