He was in born in Joplin, Missouri. He attended the University of Oklahoma, where he was a track star. He served as pilot in the US Navy during the Second World War. In 1945, he married Gerry Stowell, with whom he had three children. In 1948, he tried out for the US Olympic team to compete in the decathlon. After he failed to make the team, his college friend Lonny Chapman convinced him to come to New York to try his hand at acting.
His first role on Broadway came as understudy to Chapman as Turk Fisher in Come Back, Little Sheba. He eventually took over the role from Chapman in the national touring company. Solidifying his choice to become an actor, Weaver entrolled in the Actor's Studio, where he met Shelley Winters. During the start of his acting career, he supported his family by doing a number of odd jobs, including selling vacuum cleaners, tricycles and women's hosiery.
In 1952, Winters aided him in getting a contract from Universal Studios. He made his film debut that same year in the movie The Redhead from Wyoming. Over the next three years, he played roles in a series of movies, but still had to work odd jobs in order to support his family. It was while delivering flowers for one of these jobs that he heard he had landed the role of Chester on the new television series Gunsmoke. He received an Emmy Award in 1959 for Best Supporting Actor (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series.
From 1967-1969, he appeared on the television show Gentle Ben as Tom Wedloe.
He received two Emmy Award nominations for his role on McCloud. In 1974, he was nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series. In 1975, he was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series.
From 1973 to 1975, he was president of the Screen Actors Guild.
In 1978, he played the trail boss R.J. Poteet in the televsion miniseries Centennial on the episode entitled, The Longhorns.
In February 2002, he appeared on the animated series The Simpsons (episode DABF07, The Lastest Gun in the West) as the voice of aging Hollywood cowboy legend Buck McCoy.
His star is on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6930 Hollywood Boulevard.
Dennis Weaver Facts
|Birth Name||Billy Denton Weaver|
|Birthday||June 4, 1924|
|Birthplace||Joplin, Missouri, USA|
|Date of death||February 24, 2006 (Ridgway, Colorado, USA, age 81)|
|Height||6' 2" (1m88) How tall is Dennis Weaver compared to you?|