Clint Walker was an American actor who rose to prominence, thanks to his lead role as cowboy Cheyenne Bodie in the western series Cheyenne, an ABC/Warner Bros production that aired from 1955 to 1963. He went on to become a staple in western productions. Clint Walker remained relevant in the entertainment industry until the late 90s when he retired. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 1997, he was honored with the Golden Boot Award.
Clint Walker (Valerie Walker’s Father) Bio
The actor was born on the 30th of May 1927 in Hartford, Illinois. At birth, he was named Norman Eugene Walker, however, upon starting his acting career, his talent agent, Henry Willson named him Jett Norman. He was later renamed Clint by Jack Warner of Warner Bros. Walker’s parents were named Gladys Huldah (née Schwanda) and Paul Arnold Walker. From his maternal side, Walker has Czech roots.
Clint Walker, before he dabbled into acting, was a serial hustler, moving from one odd job to another. His first job was on a riverboat factory after which he enlisted in the United States Merchant Marine during the time when the second world war was coming to an end. Walker was 17 years old at the time.
Subsequently, after his stint with the army, Walker returned to doing odd jobs around the country – from working as a doorman in Nevada’s Sands Hotel to a nightclub bouncer, thanks to his towering 6 feet 6 inches and athletic build, as well as a sheet metal worker elsewhere. While hoping jobs, Walker decided to try acting and got signed with Henry Wilson who at the time was renowned for introducing young talents into the entertainment industry.
Walker’s first film role was an uncredited one alongside the Bowery Boys in the 1954 comedy film Jungle Gents. Walker appeared in a couple of other films before he came under the radar of Warner Bros. who at the time were developing western TV shows. Clint Walker’s towering figure immediately appealed to the producers of the TV series Cheyenne and he was cast as the lead. The lead role of Cheyenne Bodie would become his breakthrough.
In addition to his acting abilities, the producers also harnessed his vocal prowess as Clint Walker sang a number of songs, mostly traditional and ballads which were used in the film soundtrack.
After playing the role for 8 years, Clint Walker became something of a typecast as a western cowboy. His subsequent western films would include; Fort Dobbs (1958), Yellowstone Kelly (1959), Gold of the Seven Saints (1961), and the TV show, 77 Sunset Strip. Clint Walker appeared in the war drama None but the Brave (1965), the only film ever directed by ace musician Frank Sinatra. Walker’s biggest hit after Cheyenne and the best of his career would be the war drama The Dirty Dozen (1967). From the 1970s, Walker made the return to TV and appeared in TV films for the most part until his retirement in 1998.
Is He Dead Or Alive?
Clint Walker was very fortunate to live long to the age of 90. Back in 1971, the actor had a fatal skiing accident and was for a moment pronounced dead by doctors. He was skiing at Mammoth Mountain, California when he fell off a ski lift and had his heart pierced by a ski pole. Shortly after being pronounced dead, a doctor noticed a faint sign of life and rushed the actor to the OR. Fortunately, Walker’s heart was repaired and two months later, he resumed his normal activities.
After Clint Walker retired in 1998, he completely went under the radar, spending most of his time with his family. A year before retirement, in 1997, he had married Susan Cavallari (his third wife) and remained married to her until his death in 2018. Clint Walker passed away on the 21st of May 2018 in a hospital in Grass Valley, California. His daughter Valarie confirmed his death to the media saying that the actor had died of congestive heart failure. He was survived by his third wife and only daughter Valarie born to his first wife, Verna Garver. Valerie Walker is famous for being one of the first female airline pilots.
Clint Walker had a twin sister named Lucy. Unlike Clint, she was not in the entertainment industry, thus, she lived a normal life, away from the media. Lucy passed away in 2000 at the age of 73.
Clint Walker was a movie star at a time when actors didn’t earn so much money. In 2017, a year before he passed, Clint Walker’s wealth was estimated at $5 million.