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- Who is your favorite Bonanza character?: Adam
I have a confession to make about my very first television crush. It did not involve a Cartwright. Oh, I liked those guys, especially the way they rode up to that catchy theme song behind the burning map, but it was another set of brothers I loved back then. They were rodeo circuit riders. They looked out for each other and helped the helpless, sometimes busted a bronc or two when they weren’t getting busted themselves. One was tall and handsome, the other more rugged with a shy smile and a cute little cleft in his chin. The show was Wide Country. It lasted only one season but I never forgot Andy and Mitch, and I’ve loved Earl Holliman ever since.
As Mitch Guthrie in Wide Country Even before he became Mitch Guthrie, Henry Earl Holliman had an impressive motion picture resume. After studying acting at UCLA and the Pasadena Playhouse, he began his movie career with an uncredited role in the Martin/Lewis comedy Scared Stiff and appeared in 24 films between 1953 and 1962, among them Broken Lance, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet, Giant, The Rainmaker (for which he received a Golden Globe, Best Supporting Actor), Gunfight at the OK Corral, and Last Train from Gun Hill. His co-stars include some of the greatest names in Hollywood -- Spencer Tracy, Richard Widmark, William Holden, Walter Pidgeon, Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Burt Lancaster, Katherine Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn and John Wayne (The Sons of Katie Elder, 1965). He also appeared with a newcomer named Lorne Greene in The Trap (1959). That same year, he starred in a pioneer television pilot, essentially selling the series to the sponsors with his one-man performance in “Where is Everybody”, the premier episode of The Twilight Zone.
Twilight Zone, 1959 Television became Earl Holliman’s bread and butter from the mid-sixties on. Classic tv fans will recognize the face from guest appearances on shows like Bonanza, Twelve O’Clock High, The Virginian, The Fugitive, The F.B.I., Gunsmoke, Marcus Welby, M.D., Alias Smith and Jones, Medical Center, The Streets of San Francisco and numerous network movies. In 1974, he joined the cast of Police Woman starring Angie Dickinson, playing Lt. Bill Crowley until the series ended in 1978. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition of his work in the television industry.
As Sherman Clegg in The Flannel-Mouth Gun (Bonanza, Season 6) The seventies marked a new phase in Mr. Holliman’s life when he became an active participant in the crusade for animal welfare, a cause near and dear to his heart. For over thirty years, he served as president of Actors and Others for Animals. As the Delhi Louisiana native explained in an interview, “I was adopted when I was a week old…and fortunate enough to be raised by people who loved animals and taught me to love animals. As a kid, I had everything.” (Meaning pets, of course, including cats, dogs, a goat, a pig and a chicken that had the misfortune of being caught and eaten by the town sheriff.)
Mr. Holliman continued acting during the eighties and nineties, with Burt Reynolds in Sharkey’s Machine, and in The Thorn Birds with Richard Chamberlain and Barbara Stanwyck. In 1992 he co-starred with Delta Burke in her self-titled television series and made a cameo appearance in Bad City Blues (1999), directed by Michael Stevens, grandson of Giant director George Stevens. His last acting credit is The Perfect Tenant (2000). He was also interviewed in the 2015 PBS documentary Children of Giant.
A lifelong bachelor with no children, Mr. Holliman also served his country in the US Navy (1944-1950) prior to his acting career. He considers himself a lucky man to have made a living doing what he loved. Born the same year as his Flannel-Mouth Gun co-star Pernell Roberts, Earl Holliman turned 88 on September 11, 2016.
The Pet Press http://www.thepetpress-la.com/earl-holliman.html
Actors and Others for Animals http://www.actorsandothers.com/
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