Forrest Tucker

Biography

Forrest Tucker (February 12, 1919 – October 25, 1986) was an American actor in both movies and television from the 1940s to the 1980s. Tucker, who stood 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) and weighed 200 pounds (91 kg), appeared in nearly 100 action films in the 1940s and 1950s. Forrest Meredith Tucker was born in Plainfield, Indiana, a son of Forrest A. Tucker and his wife Doris Heringlake. He began his performing career at age 14 at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, pushing the big wicker tourist chairs by day and singing "Throw Money" at night. After his family moved to Washington, D.C., Tucker attracted the attention of Jimmy Lake, the owner of the Old Gayety Burlesque Theater, by winning its Saturday night amateur contest on consecutive weeks. After his second win, Tucker was hired full time as master of ceremonies at the theatre. However, his initial employment there was short-lived; it was soon discovered that Tucker was underage. Lying about his age, Tucker then joined the United States Army cavalry. He was stationed at Fort Myer in Virginia, but was discharged when his age became known. He returned to work at the Old Gayety after his 18th birthday. When Lake's theatre closed for the summer in 1939, Tucker travelled to California and began auditioning for movie roles. He was cast as Wade Harper in The Westerner (1940), which starred Gary Cooper. He stood out in a fight scene with Cooper and was signed to Columbia Pictures. In 1941, he played his first lead in Emergency Landing, and the following year he co-starred in the classic Keeper of the Flame. Tucker served again with the Army in World War II, reaching the rank of Second Lieutenant. He resumed his acting career at the war's end, appearing in the classic 1946 film The Yearling and stealing a few scenes from Errol Flynn in Never Say Goodbye the same year. In 1948, Tucker left Columbia and signed with Republic Pictures. At Republic, he made his breakthrough in Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), as Corporal Thomas, a Marine with a score to settle with John Wayne's Sergeant Stryker. Graduating to top billing, Tucker starred in numerous action films during the 1950s, including Rock Island Trail (1950), California Passage (1950), Rage at Dawn (1955, where he played Frank Reno),The Abominable Snowman (1957), The Quiet Gun (1957), and The Crawling Eye (1958). The year 1958 brought another turning point in Tucker's career, when he won the role of Beauregard Burnside, Mame's first husband in Auntie Mame, which was the highest grossing U.S. film of the year. Tucker showed a flair for light comedy under the direction of Morton Da Costa that had largely been unexplored in his previous roles in westerns and science fiction films. Tucker was cast as "Professor" Harold Hill by director Da Costa in the national production of The Music Man and played the role 2,008 times over the next five years, including a 56 week run at the legendary Shubert Theatre in Chicago. Following his Music Man run, Tucker starred in the Broadway production of Fair Game for Lovers (1964) and then turned to television for his most famous role, starring as frontier capitalist Sgt. Morgan O'Rourke in F Troop (1965 - 1967). Though F Troop lasted only two seasons on ABC, the series has been in constant syndication since, reaching three generations of viewers. (Ironically, two of his Gunsmoke episodes feature Tucker in his cavalry uniform again, as another comic sergeant who in one scene "marries" Miss Kitty.) He appeared in many television series, including ABC's Channing a drama about college life during the 1963-1964 season. In 1961, he appeared on NBC in Audie Murphy's short-lived western series Whispering Smith. Following F Troop, Tucker returned to films in character parts (Barquero and Chisum, both 1970) and occasional leads (1975's The Wild McCullochs). On television, Tucker was a frequent guest star, including a total of six appearances on Gunsmoke and the recurring role of Jarvis Castleberry, Flo's estranged father on the 1976-1985 TV series, Alice and its spinoff, Flo. Tucker was a regular on three series after F Troop: Dusty's Trail (1973) with Bob Denver; The Ghost Busters (1975-76) which reunited him with F Troop co-star Larry Storch; and Filthy Rich playing the second Big Guy Beck. (1982-83). He continued to be active on stage as well, starring in the national productions of Plaza Suite, Show Boat, and That Championship Season. Tucker returned to the big screen after an absence of several years, in the Cannon Films action film Thunder Run (1986), playing the hero, trucker Charlie Morrison. His feature film comeback unfortunately was short-lived. He died from lung cancer and emphysema on October 25, 1986, five months after the film's theatrical release. He was interred in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. Tucker married three times, to Sandra Jolley (divorced) [1], to Marilyn Johnson on March 28, 1950, and after her death in 1960 to Marilyn Fisk on October 23, 1961. He had a daughter (Pamela Tucker) by his second marriage, and a son (Forrest Sean Tucker) by his third.

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Known For
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Auntie Mame

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside

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The Abominable Snowman

Tom Friend

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Rage at Dawn

Frank Reno

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Sands of Iwo Jima

Pfc. Al Thomas

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The Crawling Eye

Alan Brooks

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Walking Tall 3

Grandpa Pusser

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The Wackiest Wagon Train In The West

Wagonmaster Callahan (archive footage)

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A Real American Hero

Carl Pusser

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Three Violent People

Deputy Commissioner Cable

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Fort Massacre

McGurney

Starring In
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Timestalkers

Texas John Cody

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Thunder Run

Charlie Morrison

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It Came From Hollywood

(archive footage)

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A Real American Hero

Carl Pusser

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Das verrückte Wildwest Rennen

Mike Fink

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Walking Tall 3

Grandpa Pusser

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The Wackiest Wagon Train In The West

Wagonmaster Callahan (archive footage)

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Cancel My Reservation

Reese

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Alias Smith And Jones - Series 1 - Complete

Deputy Harker Wilkins

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Barquero

Mountain Phil

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Chisum

Lawrence Murphy

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The Night They Raided Minsky's

Trim Houlihan

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F Troop (Television Favorites Compilation)

Sgt. Morgan O'Rourke / ... (65 episodes, 1965-1967)

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Counterplot

Brock Miller

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Auntie Mame

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside

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The Crawling Eye

Alan Brooks

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Gunsmoke in Tucson

John Brazos

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The Strange World of Planet X

Gil Graham

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Fort Massacre

McGurney

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The Deerslayer

Harry March

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The Quiet gun

Sheriff Carl Brandon

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The Abominable Snowman

Tom Friend

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Stagecoach to Fury

Frank Townsend

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Three Violent People

Deputy Commissioner Cable

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Finger man

Dutch Becker

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Rage at Dawn

Frank Reno

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Break in the Circle

Capt. Skip Morgan

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Laughing Anne

Jem Farrell

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Pony Express

Wild Bill Hickok

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Ride the Man Down

Sam Danfelser

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Montana Belle

Mac

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Hurricane Smith

Dan McGuire

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Mördersyndikat San Francisco

Charley Pignatalli

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Die roten Teufel von Arizona

Lt. Tom Blaine

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Bugles in the Afternoon

Donavan

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Oh! Susanna

Lieutenant Colonel Unger

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Warpath

Sgt. O'Hara

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The Wild Blue Yonder

Maj. Tom West

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Crosswinds

Gerald 'Jumbo' Johnson

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The Nevadan

Tom Tanner

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Rock Island Trail

Reed Loomis

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California Passage

Mike Prescott

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Hellfire

Marshal Bucky McLean

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Sands of Iwo Jima

Pfc. Al Thomas

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The Last Bandit

Jim Plummer

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Brimstone

Sheriff Henry McIntyre

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Two Guys from Texas

'Tex' Bennett

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Coroner Creek

Ernie Combs

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Gunfighters

Ben Orcutt

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The Yearling

Lem Forrester

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Never Say Goodbye

Fenwick Lonkowski

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The Man Who Dared

Larry James

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Renegades

Frank Dembrow

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Keeper of the Flame

Geoffrey 'Geoff' Midford

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Parachute Nurse

Lt. Tucker

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My Sister Eileen

Sandhog (uncredited)

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Emergency Landing

Jerry Barton

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The Westerner

Wade Harper

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