Gene Evans


Gene Evans

Film actor Gene Evans (July 11, 1922 - April 1, 1998) began his acting career while serving in World War II, performing with a theatrical troupe of GIs in Europe. Evans, raised in Colton, California, made his film debut in 1947 and ended up appearing in dozens of movies and television programs. He specialized in playing tough guys like cowboys, sheriffs, convicts and Army sergeants.

Evans is renown in appearing in many films produced, directed, and written by Samuel Fuller. In his memoirs "A Third Face", Fuller described meeting Evans when casting his Korean War film "The Steel Helmet" in 1950. Fuller threw an M1 Garand rifle at Evans who caught it and inspected it as a soldier would as Evans had been an Army engineer in the war. Fuller kept Evans, refusing John Wayne for the role [ Fuller, Samuel "A Third Face My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking" 2002 Alfred A Knopf] and fighting to keep him despite Robert L. Lippert and his partner wanting Larry Parks for the role. Fuller walked off the film and didn't return until Evans was reinstated. [ibid p.258-259] Evans also appeared in Fuller's "Fixed Bayonets!", "Hell and High Water (film)", "Shock Corridor" and lost 30 pounds to play the lead in "Park Row (film)".

In the mid-50's he played Ken's father Rob McLoughlin on the 1955 "My Friend Flicka (TV series)", opposite Anita Louise as his wife. The near-sighted actor rarely wore his thick glasses in films, but did wear them while playing a doctor in the B-movie "Donovan's Brain" (1953). Evans played in one episode of Dallas (TV series) in January 1979. In that episode he played the role of Garrison Southworth.

He retired to a farm in Tennessee following his role as an evil sheriff in the original "Walking Tall".

In the late 1980s, Evans appeared on stage as the gruesome Papa in the stage production Papa is All, directed by playwright Tommy F. Scott, in Jackson, Tennessee.

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