August 26, 1909
Edgerton, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||April 26, 1981 (aged 71)|
Northridge, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California|
Jim Davis (born Marlin Davis, August 26, 1909 – April 26, 1981) was an American actor, best known for his role as Jock Ewing in the CBS primetime soap opera, Dallas, a role he continued until he was too ill from a terminal illness to perform.
Born in Edgerton in Platte County in northwestern Missouri, Davis attended high school in Dearborn, and the Baptist-affiliated William Jewell College in Liberty. At WJC, he played tight end on the football team and graduated with a degree in political science. He served in the United States Coast Guard during World War II.
He was known as Jim Davis by the time of his first major screen role, which was opposite Bette Davis in the 1948 melodrama Winter Meeting,[self-published source?]. His subsequent film career consisted of mostly B movies, many of them Westerns, although he made an impression as a U.S. Senator in the Warren Beatty conspiracy thriller The Parallax View.
In the episode "Little Washington" of the syndicated television series Death Valley Days, Davis portrayed Mark Tabor, a U.S. Representative from Nevada with aspirations to become governor of the new state. Collectively, Davis appeared 13 times on Death Valley Days. In 1965, Davis played an historical figure, the wagon master Ezra Meeker, who is abandoned by members of his wagon train, who decided to stop the trip to Oregon instead to prospect for gold in the episode "Devil's Gate". In 1967, Davis was cast as the freighter Luke Campbell of Deadwood, South Dakota, in the episode "The Day They Stole the Salamander", a reference to a Salamander Safe. In 1969, Davis played Colonel William G. Butler (1831–1912), who takes revenge on the since ghost town of Helena, Texas, after its citizens refuse to disclose the killer of Butler's son, Emmett. Butler arranges for the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway to bypass Helena; instead Karnes City, south of San Antonio, became the seat of government of Karnes County.
In 1954–1955, Davis starred and narrated the syndicated Western anthology television series Stories of the Century. He portrayed Matt Clark, a detective for the Southwest Railroad, who works to bring notorious gunfighters and outlaws to justice. His costars were Mary Castle and Kristine Miller. Stories of the Century was the first Western series to win an Emmy Award. Among the historical figures featured were John Wesley Hardin, Sam Bass, Doc Holliday, the Dalton Brothers, the Younger Brothers, Belle Starr, Joaquin Murietta, L. H. Musgrove, and Clay Allison. In 1957, he played an outlaw with scruples on Tales of Wells Fargo with Dale Robertson.
From 1958-1960, Davis starred as Wes Cameron opposite Lang Jeffries in the role of Skip Johnson in the syndicated adventure series Rescue 8. About this time, he guest-starred on the syndicated crime drama, U.S. Marshal, starring John Bromfield.
Davis made two guest appearances on Perry Mason, as George Tabor in the season-six episode of "The Case of the Fickle Filly", and as murder victim Joe Farrell in the 1964, season-eight episode of "The Case of a Place Called Midnight". He also appeared on the Jack Lord adventure series, Stoney Burke. In 1964, Davis played Wyatt Earp in the episode "After the OK Corral" on Death Valley Days; William Tannen played the part of rancher and gunfighter Ike Clanton in the same episode.
Davis appeared 11 times on Gunsmoke and four times each on Daniel Boone, Wagon Train, and Laramie. In the next-to-the-last Laramie episode, entitled "Trapped" (May 14, 1963), he guest-starred with Tommy Sands, Claude Akins, and Mona Freeman. In the story line, Slim Sherman (John Smith) finds an injured female kidnap victim in the woods (Freeman). Dennis Holmes, as series-regular Mike Williams, rides away to seek help, but the kidnappers reclaim the hostage. Slim pursues the kidnappers, but is mistaken as a third kidnapper by the girl's father (Barton MacLane). Sands plays the girl's boyfriend, who had been ordered by her father to stop seeing her. Davis also appeared in an episode of The High Chaparral and in small roles in the 1971 John Wayne vehicles Rio Lobo (1970) and Big Jake (1971).
In 1974, he starred as Marshal Bill Winter in a short-lived ABC Western series The Cowboys, based on a 1972 film of the same name starring John Wayne.
After years of relatively low-profile roles, Davis was cast as family patriarch Jock Ewing on Dallas, which debuted in 1978.
During season four, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, but continued to film the show as long as he could. In many scenes as the season progressed, he was shown seated, and his voice became softer and more obviously affected by his illness. He also wore a wig during the season's latter episodes to conceal his hair loss from chemotherapy.
A season-four storyline regarding the Takapa development and Jock's separation from Miss Ellie was ended abruptly near the end of the season. The writers depicted the couple suddenly leaving to go on an extended second honeymoon in Europe when Davis obviously could no longer continue to work. Their departure in a limousine in the episode "New Beginnings" was Davis' only scene in that episode, and his condition was so poor that close watching reveals (based on his unsynchronized lip movement) that he overdubbed his one last line of dialogue. It was his final appearance on the show; he was absent from the final two episodes of season four.
He died of complications from his illness while season four was being aired.
The decision had already been made prior to Davis' death not to recast the character with another actor. Furthermore, after he died the producers strongly considered leaving his name and photos in the opening credits for the duration of the series.
The Jock Ewing character remained alive off-screen after Davis' death for the last two episodes of season four and the first 11 episodes of season five.
The season-five storyline was that Jock and Ellie stopped briefly in Washington, DC, on their way home to Dallas from their second honeymoon so that Jock could take care of some Ewing Oil-related legislative business. While they were there, the State Department asked Jock to go to South America to drill for oil, and Jock relished the opportunity to relive his wildcatting days, when he first made his fortune in Texas during the Depression. Ellie returned to Dallas, and she and other characters were occasionally shown speaking to him on the telephone when he would call from South America to check on the family.
The fifth-season episode "The Search", which confirmed the character's death in a helicopter crash on his way home to Dallas from South America, was broadcast on January 8, 1982, and contained flashback scenes of the character.
A portrait of Davis in his role as Jock Ewing often appeared as a memorial on Dallas after his death.
In 1949, after two short failed marriages, he met Blanche Hammerer (1918–2009) at the club "Mocambo" on the Sunset Strip. They later married and remained together for more than 30 years, until Davis's death in 1981.
Their only child, daughter Tara Diane Davis (January 15, 1953 – February 9, 1970), was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 17. Davis later became close to his Dallas co-star Victoria Principal, who had a physical resemblance to his late daughter.
Davis died at his home in Northridge, California, on April 26, 1981, aged 71. He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
In February 1960, having already appeared as a guest star on 50 episodes across 20 different television series and having been the series lead of both Stories of the Century and Rescue 8, Davis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6290 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California.
|1942||Keep 'Em Sailing||Joseph Cummins||Short film|
|1942||White Cargo||Seaplane Pilot||Uncredited|
|1942||Stand By for Action||Talker||Uncredited|
|1943||Three Hearts for Julia||Daily Globe Staff Member||Uncredited|
|1943||Pilot #5||Military Policeman||Uncredited|
|1943||Salute to the Marines||Private Saunders||Uncredited|
|1943||Swing Shift Maisie||Investigator||Uncredited|
|1945||What Next, Corporal Hargrove?||Sgt. Hill|
|1946||Up Goes Maisie||Matthews||Uncredited|
|1947||The Beginning or the End||Pilot at Tinian|
|1947||The Romance of Rosy Ridge||Badge Dessark|
|1947||Merton of the Movies||Von Strutt's Assistant||Uncredited|
|1947||The Fabulous Texan||Sam Bass|
|1948||Winter Meeting||Slick Novak|
|1949||Red Stallion in the Rockies||Dave Ryder|
|1949||Yes Sir, That's My Baby||Joe Tascarelli|
|1950||The Savage Horde||Lt. Mike Baker|
|1950||The Cariboo Trail||Bill Miller|
|1950||California Passage||Lincoln Corey|
|1951||Three Desperate Men||Fred Denton|
|1951||Oh! Susanna||Ira Jordan|
|1951||Cavalry Scout||Lt. Spaulding|
|1951||Little Big Horn||Cpl. Doan Moylan|
|1951||Silver Canyon||Wade McQuarrie|
|1951||The Sea Hornet||Tony Sullivan|
|1952||Rose of Cimarron||Willie Whitewater|
|1952||Woman of the North Country||Steve Powell|
|1952||The Big Sky||Streak|
|1952||Ride the Man Down||Red Courteen|
|1953||Bandit Island||Brad Bellows||Short film|
|1953||Woman They Almost Lynched||Cole Younger|
|1953||The President's Lady||Jason Robards||Uncredited|
|1954||The Big Chase||Brad Bellows|
|1954||The Outcast||Major Linton Cosgrave|
|1954||The Outlaw's Daughter||Marshal Dan Porter|
|1954||Hell's Outpost||Sam Horne|
|1955||The Last Command||Ben Evans|
|1955||The Vanishing American||Glendon|
|1955||Last of the Desperados||Chief Deputy John Poe|
|1956||The Bottom of the Bottle||George Cady|
|1956||The Wild Dakotas||Aaron Baring|
|1956||The Maverick Queen||The Stranger / Jeff Younger|
|1956||Blonde Bait||Nick Randall||Uncredited (USA version)|
|1956||Frontier Gambler||Tony Burton|
|1957||Duel at Apache Wells||Dean Cannary|
|1957||The Quiet Gun||Ralph Carpenter|
|1957||The Badge of Marshal Brennan||Jeff Harlan / The Stranger|
|1957||Monster from Green Hell||Dr. Quent Brady|
|1957||The Restless Breed||Newton|
|1957||The Last Stagecoach West||Bill Cameron|
|1957||Apache Warrior||Ben Ziegler|
|1957||Raiders of Old California||Captain Angus Clyde McKane|
|1958||The Toughest Gun in Tombstone||Johnny Ringo|
|1958||Wolf Dog||Jim Hughes|
|1958||Flaming Frontier||Col. Hugh Carver|
|1958||A Lust to Kill||Marshal Matt Gordon|
|1959||Alias Jesse James||Frank James|
|1960||Noose for a Gunman||Case Britton|
|1960||The Magnificent Seven||Gunman||Uncredited|
|1961||Frontier Uprising||Jim Stockton|
|1961||The Gambler Wore a Gun||Case Silverthorne|
|1964||Iron Angel||Sgt. Walsh|
|1965||Zebra in the Kitchen||Adam Carlyle|
|1966||Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter||Marshal MacPhee|
|1966||El Dorado||Jim Purvis (Bart Jason's foreman)|
|1968||The Road Hustlers||Noah Reedy|
|1968||They Ran for Their Lives||Vince Ballard|
|1969||The Ice House||Jake|
|1970||Five Bloody Graves||Clay Bates|
|1970||Monte Walsh||Cal Brennan|
|1971||Vanished||Capt. Cooledge||TV Movie|
|1971||Big Jake||Head of the Lynching Party|
|1971||Dracula vs. Frankenstein||Sgt. Martin|
|1971||The Trackers||Sheriff Naylor||TV Movie|
|1972||The Honkers||Sheriff Potter|
|1973||One Little Indian||Trail Boss|
|1973||Deliver Us from Evil||Dixie||TV Movie|
|1974||The Parallax View||George Hammond|
|1974||Inferno in Paradise||Rocky Stratton|
|1975||Satan's Triangle||Hal Bancroft||TV Movie|
|1975||The Runaway Barge||Capt. Buckshot Bates||TV Movie|
|1976||Law of the Land||Sheriff Pat Lambrose||TV Movie|
|1977||The Legend of Frank Woods||Deputy|
|1977||Enigma||Colonel Valentine||TV Movie|
|1977||Just a Little Inconvenience||Dave Erickson||TV Movie|
|1977||The Choirboys||Capt. Drobeck|
|1978||Killing Stone||Sen. Barry Tyler||TV Movie|
|1978||Comes a Horseman||Julie Blocker|
|1980||The Day Time Ended||Grant Williams|
|1981||Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy 'Satchel' Paige||Mr. Wilkenson||TV Movie (final film role)|
|1951–1954||Fireside Theatre||Col. Streeter
|1952||Dangerous Assignment||Bill Norton
|1952||Gang Busters||Capt. Bob Stewart||Episode: "The Barrow Gang"|
|1952||The Unexpected||Detective||Episode: "Leopards in Lighting"|
|1952–1953||Cowboy G-Men||Tom Owens
Sheriff Jack Wardlow
Dance / Shafer Henchman
|Episode: "Running Iron"|
Episode: "Silver Shotgun"
Episode: "Stolen Dynamite"
Episode: "Double Crossed"
|1953||Death Valley Days||Congressman Mark Tabor||Season 2, Episode 2, "Little Washington"|
|1953–1969||Death Valley Days||Pony Cragin
Col. William Butler
|9 other episodes|
|1954–1955||Stories of the Century||Matt Clark||39 episodes|
|1955||Cavalcade of America||J. L. Armstrong||Episode: "The Texas Rangers"|
|1957||The Millionaire||Jim Driskill||Episode: "The Jim Driskill Story"|
|1957||Playhouse 90||Sheriff||Episode: "Four Women in Black"|
|1957–1958||The Silent Service||Walter Ruhe||Episode: "Boomerang"|
Episode: "Cargo for Crevalle"
Episode: "The Sea Devil Attacks Puget Sound"
|Tales of Wells Fargo||Al Porter
|Episode: "Two Cartridges"|
Episode: "The Lobo"
Episode: "Don't Wake a Tiger"
|1958||26 Men||Father Diego||Episode: "The Bells of St. Thomas"|
|1958||M Squad||Harry Evans / Mickey Seville||Episode: "The Case of the Double Face"|
|1958–1960||Rescue 8||Wes Cameron||78 episodes|
|General Electric Theater||Fitz
|Episode: "The Castaway"|
Episode: "Journey to a Wedding"
|1959||U.S. Marshal||Harvey Granger||Episode: "Federal Agent"|
|1959||Yancy Derringer||Bullet Pike||Episode: "Two Tickets to Promontory"|
|1960||Markham||Neal Holland||Episode: "The Snowman"|
|1960||The Tall Man||Bob Orringer||Episode: "Forty-Dollar Boots"|
Episode: "The Lonely Star"
|Episode: "Trail Drive"|
Episode: "Shadow of the Past"
Episode: "The Dispossessed"
|Wagon Train||Gabe Henry
|Episode: "The Candy O'Hara Story"|
Episode: "The Eve Newhope Story"
Episode: "The Jim Whitlow Story"
Episode: "The Melanie Craig Story"
Episode: "The Guest of Honor
|1961||The Deputy||Trace Phelan||Episode: "The Lonely Road"|
|1961||Coronado 9||Barton Kincaid||Episode: "Gone Goose"|
|1961||Outlaws||Steed||Episode: "The Brothers"|
|1961||Gunslinger||Jeb Crane||Episode: "New Savannah"|
|1961||The Aquanauts||Sam Hogarth||Episode: "The Diana Adventure"|
|1961||Whispering Smith||Sam Chandler||Episode: "The Homeless Wind"|
|Episode: "The Gift"|
Episode: "Lothario Larkin"
Episode: "The Arrival of Eddie"
|1962||Thriller||The Marshal||Episode: "'Til Death Do Us Part"|
|1962||Lassie||Ed Bates||Episode: "Quick Brown Fox"|
|1962||Stoney Burke||Shep Winters||Episode: "Cousin Eunice"|
|1962||Have Gun – Will Travel||Al Long||Episode: "The Treasure"|
|Perry Mason||George Tabor
|Episode: "The Case of the Fickle Filly"|
Episode: "The Case of a Place Called Midnight"
|Rawhide||Sheriff Sam Jason||Episode: "The Greedy Town"|
Episode: "The Pursuit"
|1963||The Donna Reed Show||Red||Episode: "Pioneer Woman"|
|1963||Alcoa Premiere||Tim||Episode: "Jenny Ray"|
|1964||The Littlest Hobo||Danny Kilgarren||Episode: "Double-Cross"|
|1965||The Lucy Show||Cardenas||Episode: "Lucy Goes to Vegas"|
|1965||Laredo||Sheriff Wes Cottrell||Episode: "The Golden Trail"|
|Episode: "One Way Out"|
Episode: "Salute the Soldier Briefly"
Episodes: "The Assassins: Part 1 & 2"
|1966||The Time Tunnel||Col. Jim Bowie||Episode: "The Alamo"|
|Episode: "River Passage"|
Episode: "The Ordeal of Israel Boone"
Episode: "A Pinch of Salt"
Episode: "The Road to Freedom"
|1967||Hondo||Krantz||Episode: "Hondo and the Eagle Claw"|
Episode: "Hondo and the War Cry"
Episode: "Hondo and the War Hawks"
|1967||Cimarron Strip||Clo Vardeman||Episode: "The Search"|
|1968||The Guns of Will Sonnett||Sheriff Hawks||Episode: "The Warriors"|
|1968||The Virginian||McKinley||Episode: "The Heritage"|
|1970||The High Chaparral||Robbins||Episode: "New Hostess in Town"|
|1971||The Men from Shiloh||Roper||Episode: "The Politician"|
|1972||Night Gallery||Abe Bennett||Episode: "The Waiting Room"|
|1972||The Bold Ones: The New Doctors||Peter Merlino||Episode: "Discovery at Fourteen"|
|1972||The Sixth Sense||Anson Beige||Episode: "Echo of a Distant Scream"|
|1972||The F.B.I.||Ellis Bengston||Episode: "The Runner"|
|1972||The Wonderful World of Disney||Col. Porter||Episode: "The High Flying Spy" Part 1|
|1973||Cannon||Henry Rawdon||Episode: "The Seventh Grave"|
|1973||Kung Fu||Joe Walker
|Episode: "The Soul is the Warrior"|
Episode: "The Well"
|1973||Banacek||Ed McKay||Episode: "If Max is So Smart, Why Doesn't He Tell Us Where He Is?"|
|The Streets of San Francisco||Reid Bradshaw
|Episode: "Shattered Image"|
Episode: "The Hard Breed"
|1974||The Cowboys||Marshal Bill Winter||12 episodes|
|1975||Caribe||David Mayfield||Episode: "Lady Killer"|
|1976||The Blue Knight||Daniels||Episode: "Death Echo"|
|1976||The Quest||Marshal Pulman||Episode: "Prairie Woman"|
|1977||The Oregon Trail||J. D. Price||Episode: "Evan's Vendetta"|
|1977||Hunter||Raymond Spencer||Episode: "The Hit"|
|1978||Project U.F.O.||Earl Clay||Episode: "Sighting 4002: The Joshua Flats Incident"|
|1979||The Wonderful World of Disney||Pop Apling||Episode: "Trail of Danger" Parts 1 & 2|
|1978–1981||Dallas||Jock Ewing||77 episodes (final TV role)|