Actor Leif Erickson

Leif Erickson (born William Wycliffe Anderson; October 27, 1911 – January 29, 1986) was an American stage, film, and television actor.

Early life

Erickson was born in Alameda, California, near San Francisco. He worked as a soloist in a band as vocalist and trombone player, performed in Max Reinhardt’s productions, and then gained a small amount of stage experience in a comedy vaudeville act. Initially billed by Paramount Pictures as Glenn Erickson, he began his screen career as a leading man in Westerns.

Military service

Erickson enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II. Rising to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit, he served as a military photographer, shooting film in combat zones, and as an instructor. He was shot down twice in the Pacific, and received two Purple Hearts. Erickson was in the unit that filmed and photographed the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. Over four years service, he shot more than 200,000 feet of film for the Navy.

Acting career

Erickson’s first films were two 1933 band films with Betty Grable before starting a string of Buster Crabbe Western films based on Zane Grey novels. He went on to appears in films such as The Snake Pit, Sorry, Wrong Number, Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd, Invaders from Mars, On the Waterfront, A Gathering of Eagles, Roustabout, The Carpetbaggers, and Mirage.

One of his more notable roles was as Deborah Kerr’s macho husband in the stage and film versions of Tea and Sympathy. He appeared with Greta Garbo, as her brother, in Conquest (1937). He played the role of Pete, the vindictive boat engineer, in the 1951 remake of the famed musical Show Boat. His final appearance in a feature film was in Twilight’s Last Gleaming (1977).

Erickson appeared frequently on television; he was cast as Dr. Hillyer in “Consider Her Ways” (1964) and as Paul White in “The Monkey’s Paw—A Retelling” (1965) on CBS’s The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. He is probably best known, though, for The High Chaparral, which aired on NBC from 1967 until 1971. He portrayed a rancher, Big John Cannon, determined to establish a cattle empire in the Arizona Territory while keeping peace with the Apache. Erickson guest-starred in several television series, including Rawhide, Bonanza (two episodes, 1961-1965), as Aaron Burr in Daniel Boone (two episodes, 1964–1970) Gunsmoke, Marcus Welby, M.D., Medical Center, Cannon, The Rifleman, The Rockford Files, The Rookies, Night Gallery, and the 1977 series Hunter. His final role was in an episode of Fantasy Island in 1984.

Personal life

Erickson was married to actress Frances Farmer from 1936 until 1942. The same day that his divorce from Farmer was finalized, June 12, 1942, he married actress Margaret Hayes. They divorced a month later. He married Ann Diamond in 1945. They had two children, William Leif Erickson (born 1946 – died 1971 in a car accident) and Susan Irene Erickson (born 1950).


Erickson died of cancer in Pensacola, Florida, on January 29, 1986, aged 74.

Selected filmography

  • The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi (1933) as Band Singer with Ted Fio Rito
  • Wanderer of the Wasteland (1935) as Lawrence
  • Nevada (1935) as Bill Ide
  • Drift Fence (1936) as Curley Prentiss
  • Desert Gold (1936) as Glenn Kasedon
  • Girl of the Ozarks (1936) as Tom Bolton
  • College Holiday (1936) as Dick Winters
  • Waikiki Wedding (1937) as Dr. Victor Quimby
  • Conquest (1937) as Paul Lachinski
  • Thrill of a Lifetime (1937) as Howard ‘Howdy’ Nelson
  • The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938) as Bob Hayes
  • Ride a Crooked Mile (1938) as Johnny Simpkins
  • …One Third of a Nation… (1939) as Peter Cortlant
  • Nothing but the Truth (1941) as Tommy Van Dusen
  • The Blonde from Singapore (1941) as Terry Prescott
  • H. M. Pulham, Esq. (1941) as Rodney ‘Bo-Jo’ Brown
  • The Fleet’s In (1942) as Jake
  • Are Husbands Necessary? (1942) as Bill Stone
  • Eagle Squadron (1942) as Johnny M. Coe
  • Pardon My Sarong (1942) as Whaba
  • Night Monster (1942) as Laurie
  • Arabian Nights (1942) as Kamar
  • Blonde Savage (1947) as Steve Blake
  • The Gangster (1947) as Beaumont
  • Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) as Fred Lord
  • The Gay Intruders (1948) as Dr. Harold Matson
  • The Snake Pit (1948) as Gordon
  • Joan of Arc (1948) as Dunois, Bastard of Orleans
  • Miss Tatlock’s Millions (1948) as Dr. Mason
  • The Lady Gambles (1949) as Tony
  • Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949) as Pringle
  • Mother Didn’t Tell Me (1950) as Dr. Bruce Gordon
  • Love That Brute (1950) as Elmdale Military Academy Captain (uncredited)
  • Stella (1950) as Fred Anderson Jr.
  • The Showdown (1950) as Big Mart
  • Three Secrets (1950) as Bill Chase
  • Dallas (1950) as U.S. Marshal Martin Weatherby
  • Fourteen Hours (1951) as Bit Part (uncredited)
  • Show Boat (1951) as Pete
  • The Tall Target (1951) as Stranger
  • Reunion in Reno (1951) as B. Frederick Linaker
  • The Cimarron Kid (1952) as Marshal John Sutton
  • Sailor Beware (1952) as Cmdr. Lane
  • With a Song in My Heart (1952) as General (uncredited)
  • Carbine Williams (1952) as Feder
  • My Wife’s Best Friend (1952) as Nicholas Reed
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952) as Morgan
  • Never Wave at a WAC (1953) as Sgt. Norbert ‘Noisy’ Jackson
  • Born to the Saddle (1953) as Bob Marshall
  • Trouble Along the Way (1953) as Father Provincial aka Ed
  • Trial At tara (1953) as King Laera
  • A Perilous Journey (1953) as Richards
  • Invaders from Mars (1953) as Mr. George MacLean
  • Fort Algiers (1953) as Kalmani
  • Captain Scarface (1953) as Sam
  • Paris Model (1953) as Edgar Blevins
  • On the Waterfront (1954) as Glover, Lead Investigator for Crime Commission
  • Star in the Dust (1956) as George Ballard
  • The Fastest Gun Alive (1956) as Lou Glover
  • Tea and Sympathy (1956) as Bill Reynolds
  • Istanbul (1957) as Charlie Boyle
  • The Vintage (1957) as Louis Morel
  • Kiss Them for Me (1957) as Eddie Turnbill
  • Twilight for the Gods (1958) as Harry Hutton
  • Once Upon a Horse… (1958) as Granville ‘Granny’ Dix
  • Shoot Out at Big Sag (1962) as Sam Barbee
  • A Gathering of Eagles (1963) as Gen. Hewitt
  • Strait-Jacket (1964) as Bill Cutler
  • The Carpetbaggers (1964) as Jonas Cord Sr.
  • Roustabout (1964) as Joe Lean
  • Mirage (1965) as Major Crawford Gilcuddy
  • I Saw What You Did (1965) as Dave Mannering
  • Man and Boy (1971) as Mossman
  • Terror in the Sky (1971) as Marty Treleavan
  • The Mod Squad (1972) as Lt. Jerry Price
  • Night Gallery (1973) as Charlie Wheatland
  • Abduction (1975) as Prescott
  • Winterhawk (1975) as Guthrie
  • Twilight’s Last Gleaming (1977) as Ralph Whittaker – CIA Director
  • External Links

    Actor Leif Erickson – Wikipedia

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