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Walter Burke 1959

Picture of Walter Burke

Walter Burke (August 25, 1908 (Brooklyn, New York) – August 4, 1984 (Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California)) was a prolific Irish-American character actor, of stage, film, and television. His small stature, and distinctive voice and face, made him easily recognizable in even the most minor of roles, including appearing in one episode of the 1960s sitcom, Hogan's Heroes.

Walter Lawrence Burke was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Irish immigrant parents Patrick Burke and Bessie McNamara. His father worked as a tanner in a shoe factory. Burke had three stepbrothers and one stepsister from his father's first marriage, as well as three brothers and three sisters of his own. At least two other siblings would die in infancy.

Burke began acting on stage as a teenager, making his Broadway debut in Dearest Enemy at the Knickerbocker Theatre during 1925-1926. The following year, 1927, he performed in a musical revue, Padlocks of 1927, at the Shubert Theatre. He joined the American Opera Company's troupe in January 1928, performing a non-singing role in an English-language adaption of Faust. He continued with that company through January 1930, taking part in adaptions of Madame Butterfly and Yolanda of Cyprus at the Casino Theatre. He next appeared on Broadway with Help Yourself in 1937, and over the next ten years appeared in as many plays.

Burke debuted in Hollywood films in 1948, with The Naked City, and the following year had a memorable role in the Oscar-winning film All the King's Men. Burke would appear in twenty-two more films, and three more Broadway productions, but both film and the stage would soon take a backseat to his television work.

In 1951, Burke played a jockey in the early television series, Martin Kane. From then until 1980, he would appear in episodes of 103 different television series, as well as three made for TV movies. Though never a series regular, he often played different roles in multiple episodes of the same shows. In 1959-1960, he appeared five times as Tim Potter in the ABC western series Black Saddle starring Peter Breck. That same season, he appeared on John Cassavetes's detective series Johnny Staccato. He guest starred as Hatfield in the 1961 episode "The Drought" of the syndicated western series Two Faces West. In the 1962-1963 season, he appeared on the CBS anthology, The Lloyd Bridges Show. In the 1965-1966 season, Burke appeared on another ABC western, The Legend of Jesse James.

Burke split most of his later life between Hollywood, where he worked, and his horse ranch in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. While back east, he would sometimes teach dramatics at a local college. A lifelong heavy smoker, he would succumb to emphysema in 1984, while living at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. He is buried in Laurelwood Cemetery in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

Filmography Edit

Most Notable TV Guest Appearances Edit

  • Hello, Larry playing "Mr. Vandervellen" in episode: "The Neighbor Dies" (episode # 2.18) 27 February 1980
  • The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams playing "Actor" in episode: "The Littlest Greenhorn" (episode # 2.18) 15 March 1978
  • Insight playing "Jack" in episode: "I Want to Die" 9 May 1977
  • Police Story playing "Riley" in episode: "The Other Side of the Fence" (episode # 3.16) 23 January 1976
  • The Streets of San Francisco playing "Joey Collins" in episode: "Runaway" (episode # 4.14) 18 December 1975
  • Love, American Style playing "Actor" in episode: "Love and the Family Hour" (episode # 4.14b) 5 January 1973
  • The Doris Day Show playing "Actor" in episode: "Jimmy the Gent" (episode # 5.8) 6 November 1972
  • Bonanza playing "Campbell" in episode: "The Twenty-Sixth Grave" (episode # 14.7) 31 October 1972
  • Ghost Story playing "Daniel" in episode: "The Concrete Captain" (episode # 1.2) 22 September 1972
  • Longstreet playing "Virgil Willis" in episode: "The Sound of Money Talking" (episode # 1.24) 2 March 1972
  • Adam-12 playing "Billy Fuller" in episode: "Backup 1-L20" (episode # 4.21) 23 February 1972
  • Night Gallery playing "Jamie" in episode: "Deliveries in the Rear/Stop Killing Me/Dead Weight" (episode # 2.19) 9 February 1972
  • Mission: Impossible playing "Nate Ullstead" in episode: "Image" (episode # 6.17) 15 January 1972
  • Nichols playing "Actor" in episode: "The One Eyed Mule's Time Has Come" (episode # 1.10) 23 November 1971
  • The F.B.I. playing "Charlie Gallo" in episode: "The Natural" (episode # 6.25) 14 March 1971
  • Love, American Style playing "Actor" in episode: "Love and the Heist" (episode # 2.22a) 26 February 1971
  • I Dream of Jeannie playing "The Boss" in episode: "One Jeannie Beats Four of a Kind" (episode # 5.25) 19 May 1970
  • The Virginian playing "Billy Neal" in episode: "The Gift" (episode # 8.24) 18 March 1970
  • It Takes a Thief playing "Stanley" in episode: "Beyond a Treasonable Doubt" (episode # 3.23) 16 March 1970
  • Gunsmoke playing "George Acton" in episode: "Roots of Fear" (episode # 13.15) 15 December 1969
  • The F.B.I. playing "Benny Logan" in episode: "Silent Partners" (episode # 5.5) 12 October 1969
  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town playing "Dylan" in episode: "The Wonderful Old Saloon" (episode # 1.3) 10 October 1969
  • Daniel Boone playing "Hamel" in episode: "Benvenuto... Who?" (episode # 6.3) 9 October 1969
  • The Big Valley playing "Ned Stokely" in episode: "Point and Counterpoint" (episode # 4.26) 19 May 1969
  • The Outsider playing "L.J. Fox" in episode: "Through a Stained Glass Window" (episode # 1.25) 9 April 1969
  • The Guns of Will Sonnett playing "Ollie" in episode: "The Straw Man" (episode # 2.6) 8 November 1968
  • The Guns of Will Sonnett playing "Gideon Stark" in episode: "The Trap" (episode # 2.2) 4 October 1968
  • The Guns of Will Sonnett playing "Loomis" in episode: "A Fool and His Money" (episode # 1.26) 8 March 1968
  • Ironside playing "Smiley" in episode: "All in a Day's Work" (episode # 1.21) 15 February 1968
  • The Big Valley playing "T.J. Dyce" in episode: "Fall of a Hero" (episode # 3.20) 5 February 1968
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea playing "Mickey Moore O'Shaunessy/Patrick Moore O'Shaunessy" in episode: "Terrible Leprechaun" (episode # 4.15) 7 January 1968
  • The Wild Wild West playing "John P. Cassidy" in episode: "Night of the Cut-Throats" (episode # 3.11) 17 November 1967
  • The Big Valley playing "George Gates" in episode: "The Disappearance" (episode # 3.8) 6 November 1967
  • Rango playing "Actor" in episode: "The Rustlers" (episode # 1.17) 5 May 1967
  • Laredo playing "Jake Taggert" in episode: "A Question of Guilt" (episode # 2.23) 10 March 1967
  • Lost in Space playing "Om" in episode: "The Toymaker" (episode # 2.18) 25 January 1967
  • Death Valley Days playing "Gopher Burke" in episode: "The Hero of Apache Pass" (episode # 15.11) 24 December 1966
  • The Big Valley playing "Young Billy" in episode: "The Iron Box" (episode # 2.11) 28 November 1966
  • The Fugitive playing "Doc Martin" in episode: "Joshua's Kingdom" (episode # 4.6) 18 October 1966
  • The Lucy Show playing "Cockney" in episode: "Lucy Flies to London" (episode # 5.6) 17 October 1966
  • Perry Mason playing "Private Detective Adams" in episode: "The Case of the Crafty Kidnapper" (episode # 9.29) 15 May 1966
  • The Legend of Jesse James playing "Smiley Jaspers" in episode: "A Burying for Rosey" (episode # 1.34) 9 May 1966
  • Hogan's Heroes playing "Alf the Artist" in episode: "The Safecracker Suite" (episode # 1.27) 25 March 1966
  • Bonanza playing "Jesse Pierson" in episode: "Destiny's Child" (episode # 7.19) 30 January 1966
  • Batman playing "Sparrow" in episode: "The Penguin's a Jinx" (episode # 1.4) 20 January 1966
  • Batman playing "Sparrow" in episode: "Fine Feathered Finks" (episode # 1.3) 19 January 1966
  • I Spy playing "Sax" in episode: "Dragon's Teeth" (episode # 1.5) 13 October 1965
  • The Smothers Brothers Show playing "Al" in episode: "Take a Tramp to Lunch This Week" (episode # 1.2) 24 September 1965
  • Branded playing "Luke" in episode: "A Taste of Poison" (episode # 1.15) 2 May 1965
  • The Munsters playing "Alfred Swanson" in episode: "Movie Star Munster" (episode # 1.28) 1 April 1965
  • Gunsmoke playing "Hieronymus P. 'Harry' Elko" in episode: "Circus Trick" (episode # 10.20) 6 February 1965
  • Bewitched playing "The Great Zeno" in episode: "It's Magic" (episode # 1.16) 7 January 1965
  • Perry Mason playing "Panhandler" in episode: "The Case of the Wooden Nickels" (episode # 8.12) 10 December 1964
  • Mickey playing "Grandpa Toddie" in episode: "For the Love of Grandpa Toddie" (episode # 1.12) December 1964
  • Dr. Kildare playing "Hotel Clerk" in episode: "A Candle in the Window" (episode # 4.7) 5 November 1964
  • The Outer Limits playing "Dr. Frederick Riner" in episiode: "The Mutant" (episode # 1.25) 16 March 1964
  • Death Valley Days playing "Actor" in episode: "Law of the Round Tent" (episode # 2.18) 3 March 1964
  • Arrest and Trial playing "Hoby Osborne" in episode: "The Black Flower" (episode # 1.23) 1 March 1964
  • The Great Adventure playing "Higgins" in episode: "The Night Raiders" (episode # 1.18) 21 February 1964
  • The Outer Limits playing "Invisibles Recruiter" in episode: "The Invisibles" (episode # 1.19) 3 February 1964
  • Grindl playing "Olaf" in episode: "The Mad Bomber" (episode # 1.18) 26 January 1964
  • Gunsmoke playing "Willie" in episode: "Extraditon: Part 1" (episode # 9.10) 7 December 1963
  • Temple Houston playing "Potts" in episode: "Toll the Bell Slowly" (episode # 1.4) 17 October 1963
  • Vacation Playhouse playing "McChesney" in episode: "Maggie Brown" (episode # 1.10) 23 September 1963
  • The Lloyd Bridges Show playing "O'Farrell" in episode: "The Rising Moon" (episode # 1.22) 19 February 1963
  • The Untouchables playing "Mr. Harman" in episode: "Globe of Death" (episode # 4.18) 5 February 1963
  • Empire playing "Micah" in episode: "Where the Hawk Is Wheeling" (episode # 1.18) 29 January 1963
  • 77 Sunset Strip playing "Joe Dolan" in episode: "Terror in Silence" (episode # 5.16) 25 January 1963
  • Fair Exchange playing "Travis" in episode: "'Twas the Fortnight Before Christmas" (episode # 1.14) 21 December 1962
  • The Wide Country playing "Mayhew" in episode: "Good Old Uncle Walt" (episode # 1.12) 13 December 1962
  • Ben Casey playing "Joe Bell" in episode: "The Fireman Who Raised Rabbits" (episode # 2.9) 26 November 1962
  • Fair Exchange playing "Travis" in episode: "To Each His Own" (episode # 1.5) 19 October 1962
  • Thriller playing "Lucas" in episode: "Man of Mystery" (episode # 2.27) 2 April 1962
  • 77 Sunset Strip playing "Riordan" in episode: "The Baker Street Caper" (episode # 4.26) 16 March 1962
  • Thriller playing "Croxton" in episode: "The Hollow Watcher" (episode # 2.20) 12 February 1962
  • Follow the Sun playing "Gympy" in episode: "Annie Beeler's Place" (episode # 1.22) 11 February 1962
  • Ben Casey playing "Rabbits" in episode: "The Big Trouble with Charlie" (episode # 1.17) 29 January 1962
  • The Jack Benny Program playing "Actor" in episode: "Jack Gets Passport" (episode # 12.14) 21 January 1962
  • King of Diamonds playing "Hans Stuger" in episode: "The Magic Act" (episode # 1.18) 2 January 1962
  • General Electric Theater playing "L.B. Prentiss" in episode: "A Friendly Tribe" (episode # 10.15) 31 December 1961
  • Lawman playing "Ernie" in episode: "By the Book" (episode # 4.15) 24 December 1961
  • 87th Precinct playing "Danny Gimp" in episode: "Line of Duty" (episode # 1.5) 23 October 1961
  • Perry Mason playing "Jack Grabba" in episode: "The Case of the Missing Melody" (episode # 5.3) 30 September 1961
  • The Lawless Years playing "Miles Miller" in episode: "The Miles Miller Story" (episode # 3.8) 30 June 1961
  • Outlaws playing "Murphy" in episode: " Sam Bass" (episode # 1.23) 4 May 1961
  • The Untouchables playing "Herbie Snow" in episode: "Ring of Terror" (episode # 2.24) 13 April 1961
  • The Best of the Post playing "Actor" in episode: "Groper in the Dark" (episode # 1.23) 8 April 1961
  • The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor playing "Malone" in episode: "Terror on Ice" (episode # 2.29) 7 April 1961
  • Shirley Temple's Storybook playing "Mouse" in episode: "The Return of Long John Silver" (episode # 2.21) 19 February 1961
  • Bonanza playing "Tim O'Brien" in episode: "Bank Run" (episode # 2.19) 28 January 1961
  • Have Gun – Will Travel playing "Actor" in episode: "Shadow of a Man" (episode # 4.20) 28 January 1961
  • Hawaiian Eye playing "Kilgore" in episode: "Talk and You're Dead" (episode # 2.19) 18 January 1961
  • Klondike playing "Sam Bronson" in episode: "Bathhouse Justice" (episode # 1.11) 26 December 1960
  • 77 Sunset Strip playing "Benny Markham" in episode: "The Double Death of Benny Markham" (episode # 3.11) 25 November 1960
  • Lawman playing "Jimmy Fresco" in episode: "Samson the Great" (episode # 3.10) 20 November 1960
  • The Islanders playing "Mesrob" in episode: "Operation Dollar Sign" (episode # 1.5) 30 October 1960
  • Assignment: Underwater playing "Alonzo" in episode: "The Hot Chihuaha" (episode # 1.1) 9 September 1960
  • The Alaskans playing "Jenks" in episode: "The Devil Made Fire" (episode # 1.37) 19 June 1960
  • Bourbon Street Beat playing "Napoleon Gunther" in episode: "Wagon Show" (episode # 1.36) 13 June 1960
  • Perry Mason playing "Jack Blackburn" in episode: "The Case of the Ominous Outcast" (episode # 3.24) 21 May 1960
  • The Alaskans playing "Sid Queed" in episode: "Kangaroo Court" (episode # 1.31) 8 May 1960
  • The Man from Blackhawk playing "Tom Abbott" in episode: "The Harpoon Story" (episode # 1.30) 6 May 1960
  • Rawhide playing "Mr. Dimity" in episode: "Incident of the Deserter" (episode # 2.26) 29 April 1960
  • The Twilight Zone playing "Joe Mizell" in episode: "The Big Tall Wish" (episode # 1.27) 8 April 1960
  • Mr. Lucky playing "Tobias Foss" in episode: "The Tax Man" (episode # 1.19) 27 February 1960
  • Peter Gunn playing "Cliffie Thomas" in episode: "See No Evil" (episode # 2.19) 1 February 1960
  • Gunsmoke playing "Herman Bleeker" in episode: "Hinka Do" (episode # 5.21) 30 January 1960
  • Bourbon Street Beat playing "Wilbur Wick, the chauffeur" in episode: "Kill with Kindness" (episode # 1.14) 4 January 1960
  • Black Saddle playing "Tim Potter" in episode: "The Killer" (episode # 1.13) 1 January 1960
  • This Man Dawson playing "'Jumpy' Higgins" in episode: "Plague" (episode # 1.27) ???? 1960
  • The Man from Blackhawk playing "Tyce" in episode: "Death is the Best Policy" (episode # 1.11) 18 December 1959
  • Johnny Staccato playing "Raymond 'Stash' McGill" in episode: "A Piece of Paradise" (episode # 1.13) 10 December 1959
  • Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond playing "Peter Menzies" in episode: "The Stone Cutters" (episode # 2.12) 8 December 1959
  • Law of the Plainsman playing "Mr. Smith" in episode: "The Gibbet" (episode # 1.9) 26 November 1959
  • Lawman playing "'Specs' Toynby" in episode: "Shadow Witness" (episode # 2.7) 15 November 1959
  • The Lineup playing "Blinky" in episode: "Death of a Puppet" (episode # 6.4) 21 October 1959
  • The Alaskans playing "Jenks" in episode: "The Blizzard" (episode # 1.3) 18 October 1959
  • The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor playing "Wino" in episode: "The Streger Affair" (episode # 1.1) 16 October 1959
  • Zane Grey Theater playing "Gus Henessy" in episode: "Confession" (episode #4.3) 15 October 1959
  • Black Saddle playing "Tim Potter" in episode: "The Freebooters" (episode # 2.1) 2 October 1959
  • Goodyear Theatre playing "Actor" in episode: "Hello, Charlie" (episode # 3.2) 28 September 1959
  • Lawman playing "Whiskey Jimmie" in episode: "Red Ransom" (episode # 1.38) 21 June 1959
  • Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond playing "Sam Barry" in episode: "Front Runner" (episode # 1.21) 8 June 1959
  • Mike Hammer playing "Van" in episode: "See No Evil" (episode #2.23) 4 June 1959
  • Rescue 8 playing "Mike Thompson" in episode: "Left Hook to Hades" (episode # 1.37) 2 June 1959
  • Have Gun – Will Travel playing "Mr. Abbott" in episode: "The Fifth Man" (episode # 2.36) 30 May 1959
  • The Thin Man playing "Actor" in episode: "Dear Dead Days" (episode # 2.31) 29 May 1959
  • Tales of Wells Fargo playing "Marty Saunders" in episode: "The Little Man" (episode # 3.35) 18 May 1959
  • Black Saddle playing "Tim Potter" in episode: "Client: Brand" (episode # 1.18) 16 May 1959
  • Black Saddle playing "Tim Potter" in episode: "Client: Neal Adams" (episode # 1.17) 9 May 1959
  • Gunsmoke playing "Bystander" in episode: "Wind" (episode # 4.28) 21 March 1959
  • Zane Grey Theater playing "Jeff Marker" in episode: "Hanging Fever" (episode # 3.23) 12 March 1959
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents playing "Benny" (as Walter L. Burke) in episode: "Relative Value" (episode # 4.21) 1 March 1959
  • Perry Mason playing "Freddie Green" in episode: "The Case of the Jaded Joker" (episode # 2.18) 21 February 1959
  • Sugarfoot playing "Bartender" in episode: "The Mysterious Stranger" (episode # 2.12) 17 February 1959
  • Yancy Derringer playing "Sneaky Joe" in episode: "Panic in Town" (episode # 1.19) 12 February 1959
  • Black Saddle playing "Tim Potter" in episode: "Client: Starkey" (episode # 1.5) 7 February 1959
  • The Jack Benny Program playing "Inky Green" in episode: "Ernie Kovacs Show" (episode # 9.10) 25 January 1959
  • Peter Gunn playing "Ditto" in epsidoe: "The Torch" (episode # 1.12) 8 December 1958
  • The Alcoa Hour playing "Devlin" in episode: "The Big Vote" (episode # 1.22) 19 August 1956
  • The Alcoa Hour playing "Sam Adams" in episode: "The Archangel Harrigan" (episode # 1.18) 24 June 1956
  • Kraft Television Theatre playing "Steerage Passenger" in episode: "A Night to Remember" (episode #9.26) 28 March 1956
  • Star Tonight playing "Actor" in episode: "The Matrimony Shoppe" (episode # 1.26) 28 July 1955
  • The United States Steel Hour playing "Shorty" in episode: "The Gambler" (episode # 3.2) 20 July 1955
  • The Elgin Hour playing "Armstrong" in episode: "The Bridge" (episode # 1.8) 11 January 1955
  • Danger playing "Actor" in episode: "Knee High to a Corpse" (episode # 5.2) 7 September 1954
  • Armstrong Circle Theatre playing "Actor" in episode: "The Lights Are Bright" (episode # 3.8) 9 December 1952
  • Martin Kane, Private Eye playing "Eddie Stevens" in episode: "A Jockey Is Murdered" (episode # 3.3) 1951

External links Edit

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