Joe E. Benson

Who guest starred in the most episodes of "The Rifleman?"
Who is your favorite character actor?

 

 

 

'Trail of Hate' - Horse Owner

  'Baranca' as one of Baranca's Angels

 

 

'Dark Day at North Fork' - Townsman

'Dark Day at North Fork' - Bartender

 

 

'The Score Is Even' as Merar

'The Lonesome Bride' as a Townsfolk

71.

'The Prodigal' as the bad dude who Billy St. John shot in the beginning of this episode while trying to collect the money stolen from the bank.

72. 

'The Fourflushers' as a cowboy in town

73.

'The Jailbird' as a cowboy in town

75.

'Nora' as the bartender

76.

'The Hangman' as a cowboy in town

78.

'Woman from Hog Ridge' as a cowboy in town

79.

'Seven' - as one of the prisoners

81. 

'Strange Town' as a barfly in Droshek’s Tavern

84. 

'Miss Milly' as a customer in The General Store

85. 

'Dead Cold Cash' as a cowboy in town

87. 

'The Promoter' as the bartender

90. 

'Miss Bertie' as a card player in the saloon

94. 

'The Actress' - Mills - patron in the saloon at
Willow Springs

95. 

'Face of Yesterday' as a cowboy in the saloon

96. 

'The Wyoming Story' as a cowboy on horse in North Fork & the bartender in La Mesa
98.  'Closer than a Brother' as the bartender at Dillville Saloon & as a townsman outside the North Fork Saloon
100. 'Dark Day at North Fork' as the cowboy who steadiest the horse when Lucas almost gets hit with a wagon
   
101 'The Prisoner' as a cowboy in the saloon

102. 

'Assault' - as a cowboy in town

103. 

'Short Rope for a Tall Man' as Post from the hanging party

104. 

'The Clarence Bibs Story' as a bartender

109. 

'Death Trap' - bartender

110. 

'The Queue' - bartender

113. 

'Sheer Terror' - saloon patron

116. 

'The Decision' as a cowboy in town

118. 

'Honest Abe' as the bartender

121. 

'Long Gun from Tucson' as a member of the Holliver Gang

126. 

'Gunfire' as Gordo henchman

129. 

'A Young Man's Fancy' - stagecoach passenger

131. 

'Two Ounces of Tin' as a cowboy in town

132. 

'The Deadly Image' as the man in the saloon

134. 

'Tinhorn' as a card player at Lucas' table

141. 

'Outlaw's Shoes' as the man in the doctors
office with a broken arm

146. 

'Quiet Night, Deadly Night' as a deputy

147. 

'Death Never Rides Alone' as a cowboy on horseback in North Fork

151. 

'The Most Amazing Man' as a cowboy in town

154. 

'The Anvil Chorus' as a cowboy in town

164. 

'Requiem at Mission Springs' as the prison guard/prisoner
   


Joe E. Benson was born September 7, 1915 in Stamfort, Texas
Birth Name: Joe Eric Benson
He died March 27, 1989 in Thousand Oaks, California
 


Written by Joe's son, Eric.....

Joe was born in Stamfort, Texas in 1915.  He spent time in the Merchant Marines during WWII.  During his early years he did stunt plane parachute jumps and barn storming at small town fairs and air shows throughout Texas and the South.  In 1936 the entire Benson Clan, two brothers, their families, their mother and father packed up and drove to California with Joe driving the family tractor all the way to Van Nuys.  He worked many odd jobs and lived with his first wife, Julie, in a Hollywood studio warehouse where props and stage sets were stored.  He eventually worked for the studios as a set builder. 

His talent as a finish carpenter lead to several remolding jobs with the Hollywood people such as Dan Durayea, William Wilder, Dean Smith, Chuck Connors and many others.  This works along with being on the studio sets and his great "actor looks" lead him to jobs on TV and film, such as "Redneck Zombies" & "Rough Night in Jericho" (movies) - "The Rifleman" - "Perry Mason" - "Untouchables" - "Men from Shiloh" - Arrest & Trial" - "Gunsmoke"

George Lindsay and Joe meet on the set for 'Requiem at Mission Springs’, it was my understanding that it was George’s first role on TV after arriving in Hollywood. They became long lasting friends. Goober told me once that when he first arrived on the set Joe approached him with a cup of coffee . . . reviewed the script with him and discussed the scene set-up. Goober thought Joe was the Director or some other person in charge . . . and was grateful that he was so nice and welcoming to him. Our dad I learned, was a “take charge” kind of guy  . . . not an “IN CHARGE” guy but hated all the wasted time spent on the set while things got organized. I worked for him on several remolding projects and believe me their was no time wasted. He had a wonderful ‘work ethic’. As an example, I once talked to him about my fear of job security, he looked at me, held up his two hands and said “these are your only job security . . .learn to use them and use them well.”

George Lindsay gave the eulogy at Joe's service.
 
He was well liked and respected by all his piers. 

Joe had five children: first child was Diane, mother Julie, then came Sylvia, Rita and Eric, mother Kathleen followed by Randy, mother Marge.

*Joe was a good friend and neighbor of Chuck's.  He lived not too far from Chuck.  He helped Chuck build a tree house for the boys and also help build the addition onto Chuck's house which was later called the den.


Joe E. Benson was in a lot of the episodes but went mostly unaccredited.

I asked Arnold Laven about Joe E. Benson.....Got a question to ask you about Joe E. Benson. I have several episodes that Joe was in, but not credited.  Mostly as a townsfolk, maybe an extra from time to time?  Is this correct?  Do you remember him at all?

Arnold's reply.....Both Arthur and I tried to zero in on the details regarding Joe Benson...best we can remember (going back sixty years) is that he was a professional carpenter and jack-of-all-trades when it came to working on homes...and that he did a lot of work for Chuck on his house...as a result Chuck asked if we could find a small part for Joe on some of the episodes...I'm not sure, but I think Joe told Chuck of his interest in acting...which led to our finding small parts for Joe on the episodes you mentioned...as I remember, Joe was not much of an actor, but he was an awful nice guy....neither Arthur or I are sure whether or not we used Joe as one of the townspeople in different episodes...my guess is that we did...as I seem to remember Joe became part of The Rifleman atmosphere during the latter years.  Thanks Arnold & Arthur!


Joe Benson - continued

*If you see Joe around North Fork other then what is listed here, please get with .

Joe Benson on the set of "The Rifleman"

On Trail with the cast of The Rifleman

Character Actor's Index Page

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