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Jim Davis (actor)

Jim Davis
Jim Davis in Winter Meeting (1948).
Born Marlin Davis
(1909-08-26)August 26, 1909
Edgerton, Platte County
Missouri, U.S.
Died April 26, 1981(1981-04-26) (aged 71)
Northridge, Los Angeles
California, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California
Years active 1942-1981
Spouse(s) Blanche Hammerer (m. 1945; his death 1981)
Children Tara Diane Davis (1953-1970; predeceased her father)

James "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 prime-time soap opera, Dallas, a role which continued until he was too ill from a terminal illness to perform.


  • Life and career 1
    • Dallas and last years 1.1
  • Filmography 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Life and career

Born Marlin Davis in Edgerton in Platte County in northwestern Missouri, he attended Baptist-affiliated William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. Upon becoming an actor, he changed his name to James Davis, which he is credited as for his early screen roles. He shortened his name to Jim Davis as he became better known.

His first major screen role was opposite Bette Davis in the 1948 melodrama Winter Meeting, a lavish failure for which he was lambasted in the press as being too inexperienced to play the part properly. 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 thirteen 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".[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

From 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.

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 Jack Lord adventure series, Stoney Burke. In 1964, Davis, not Hugh O'Brian, 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 eleven 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 along with Tommy Sands, Claude Akins, and Mona Freeman.[4] 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.[5] He also appeared in an episode of 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.

Dallas and last years

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 wore a hairpiece to cover the hair he'd lost from chemotherapy. A season four storyline regarding the Takapa development and Jock's separation from Miss Ellie was ended abruptly at the end of season four. The writers depicted the couple suddenly leaving to go on an extended second honeymoon when it became obvious that Davis 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 died of complications from his illness while season four was being aired.

The writers made the decision not to write his death into the Dallas storyline right away. Initially, plans were made to replace him with another actor but were dropped because of audience awareness and because no suitable actor could be found for the role to be recast.

His character remained offscreen for thirteen episodes after Davis' death, with the storyline explaining that Jock was in South America drilling for oil after taking care of Ewing Oil-related legislative business in Washington, D.C. The fifth season episode "The Search", which confirmed the character's death in a helicopter crash, was broadcast on January 8, 1982 and contained flashback scenes of the character.[6][7] A portrait of Davis in his role as Jock Ewing often appeared as a memorial on Dallas after his death.

From the late 1970s until his death, Davis was also a voice actor, in the commercials for the American Beef Council, voicing the slogan "Beef: It's what's for dinner". He was replaced by Robert Mitchum.

In 1945, Davis wed his wife, the former Blanche Hammerer (1918-2009); their only child, Tara Diane Davis (1953–1970), was killed in an automobile accident at the age of seventeen.[8][9]

Davis, a cancer victim, is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. For his contribution to the television industry, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6290 Hollywood Blvd.


Year Title Role Notes
1942 Cairo Sergeant
1942 Northwest Rangers Mountie
1942 Keep 'Em Sailing Joseph Cummins Short film
1942 Tennessee Johnson Reporter
1942 White Cargo Seaplane Pilot
1942 Stand By for Action Talker
1943 Three Hearts for Julia Daily Globe Staff Member
1943 Pilot #5 Military Policeman
1943 Salute to the Marines Private Saunders
1943 Swing Shift Maisie Investigator
1945 What Next, Corporal Hargrove? Sgt. Hill
1946 Up Goes Maisie Matthews
1946 Gallant Bess Harry
1947 The Beginning or the End Pilot
1947 The Romance of Rosy Ridge Badge Dessark
1947 Merton of the Movies Von Strutt's Assistant
1947 The Fabulous Texan Sam Bass
1948 Winter Meeting Slick Novak
1949 Red Stallion in the Rockies Dave Ryder
1949 Hellfire Gyp Stoner
1949 Yes Sir, That's My Baby Joe Tascarelli
1949 Brimstone Nick Courteen
1950 The Savage Horde Lt. Mike Baker
1950 Hi-Jacked Joe Harper
1950 The Cariboo Trail Miller
1950 The Showdown Cochran
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 The Big Sky Streak
1952 Woman of the North Country Steve Powell
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
1954 Jubilee Trail Silky
1954 The Big Chase Brad Bellows
1954 The Outcast Major Linton Cosgrave
1954 Outlaw's Daughter Marshal Dan Porter
1954 Hell's Outpost Sam Horne
1955 Timberjack Poole
1955 The Last Command Ben Evans
1955 Last of the Desperados Chief Deputy John Poe
1955 The Vanishing American Glendon
1956 The Bottom of the Bottle George Cady
1956 The Wild Dakotas Aaron Baring
1956 Blonde Bait Nick Randall
1956 The Maverick Queen The Stranger / Jeff Younger
1956 Frontier Gambler Tony Burton
1957 The Quiet Gun Ralph Carpenter
1957 Duel at Apache Wells Dean Cannary
1957 The Badge of Marshal Brennan Jeff Harlan / The Stranger
1957 The Restless Breed Newton
1957 Monster from Green Hell Dr. Quent Brady
1957 Apache Warrior Ben Ziegler
1957 The Last Stagecoach West Bill Cameron
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
1967 Fort Utah Scarecrow
1968 They Ran for Their Lives Vince Ballard
1968 The Road Hustlers Noah Reedy
1969 The Ice House Jake
1970 Five Bloody Graves Clay Bates
1970 Monte Walsh Cal Brennan
1970 Rio Lobo Riley
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
1972 Bad Company Marshal
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 Drobeck
1978 Killing Stone Sen. Barry Tyler TV movie
1978 Comes a Horseman Julie Blocker
1979 The Day Time Ended Grant
1981 Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy 'Satchel' Paige Mr. Wilkenson TV movie
Year Title Role Notes
1951-1954 Fireside Theater Col. Streeter
Wesley Dean
9 episodes
1952 Dangerous Assignment Bill Norton
Walter Norton
Lt. Makam
5 episodes
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"
1953-1969 Death Valley Days Pony Cragin
Luke Campbell
The Sheriff
Col. William Butler
10 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
Sam Horne
Jonus Sawyer
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
Cole Treuitt
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"
Laramie Hake Ballard
Ben McKittrick
Jim Genoway
Episode: "Trail Drive"
Episode: "Shadow of the Past"
Episode: "The Dispossessed"
Episode: "Trapped"

Wagon Train Gabe Henry
Dan Ryan
Clyde Hubble
Rudd Basham
Episode: "The Candy O'Hara Story"
Episode: "The Eve Newhope Story"
Episode: "The Jim Whitlow Story"
Episode: "The Melanie Craig Story"
1961 Manhunt Catlin
Episode: "Kidnapped"
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"
Bonanza Sam Wolfe
Sam Butler
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
Joe Farrell
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"
Branded Malachi Murdock
James Swaney
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"
Daniel Boone Carpenter
Sam Ralston
Scud Tumbrill
Rafe Carson
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"
1966-1974 Gunsmoke Wes Cameron
Sheriff Shackwood
Amos Carver
Dave Carpenter
Luke Rumbaugh
11 episodes
1967 Cimarron Strip Clo Vardeman Episode: "The Search"
1968 The Guns of Will Sonnett Sheriff Hawks Episode: "The Warriors"
The Virginian McKinley
Episode: "The Heritage"
Episode: "The Politician"
1970 The High Chaparral Robbins Episode: "New Hostess in Town"
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
Sheriff Grogan
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
Roy Johnson
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 Series regular; 77 episodes


  1. ^ "Death Valley Days"Devil's Gate on .  
  2. ^ "Death Valley Days"The Day They Stole the Salamander on . Internet Movie Data Base. April 28, 1967. Retrieved July 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Death Valley Days"The Oldest Law on . Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved July 16, 2015. 
  4. ^ : "Trapped", May 14, 1963"Laramie". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved September 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ : "Trapped", May 14, 1963"Laramie". Retrieved September 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ Episode Guide Ultimate Dallas web site
  7. ^ [2] Dallas Jim Davis 1909-1981
  8. ^ Jim Davis, NNDB. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  9. ^ "Tara Diane Davis".  

External links

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