The Rifleman
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Claude Akins

Claude Akins appeared in three episodes of The RiflemanThe Safe Guard as Floyd Doniger, he was from Abilene, a Texas Gunfighter who John Hamilton, President of North Fork's Bank, personally hired to guard the safe
Meeting at Midnight as Tom Benton, Lucas' old friend and army commanding officer and now an undercover agent ― Strange Town as Bletch Droshek, the guy Micah was bringing in to stand trial for cold-blooded murder.

Claude served in the US Army Signal Corps during World War II.

A graduate of Northwestern University who was trained in Shakespeare, he Majored in speech and theater.

He first performed at the age of 5 in a church play in which he played a bird.

A former limestone salesman who once acted in exchange for food, he began his rise to Hollywood prominence in supporting roles.  He began his motion picture career as a character actor in tough guy and villain roles.

 Akins moved to Broadway in the late 1940s, where he had a part in the hit play The Rose Tattoo.

His success on Broadway led him to Hollywood in 1953 and a role in the Academy Award-winning film, From Here to Eternity.  More hit films were quick to follow ― The Caine Mutiny (1954), The Defiant Ones
(1958), Inherit the Wind (1960), How the West Was Won (1962) and The Killers (1964.)

Claude Akins, the rugged actor with a Dixie drawl who was best known for his television roles as a truck driver, a colorful rural sheriff which he was co-starring with Frank Converse in Movin' On, a television series about a pair of gypsy truck drivers who plied the nation's highways. 
After Movin' On he did B. J. and the Bear - The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo.  He was a gorilla in Battle for the Planet of the Apes as General Aldo.  He also appeared in The Untouchables several times.  Some of his other television credits included Cannon ― Police Story McCloud Mannix and The Streets of San Francisco.

Akins did radio and television commercials for a variety of products, including PolyGrip, AM/PM Mini-Market, Rollins Truck Leasing and Aamco, the transmission repair chain with the slogan "Double A, [honk, honk], M, C, O", Internal Revenue Service and  Trailways Bus Lines.

Although he appeared mostly in supporting roles in more than 50 movies and 400 television shows, the burly, weather-beaten part-Cherokee from Nelson, Georgia, considered himself "the highest paid unknown" in Hollywood.  He has been in show biz for over forty years.

Claude appeared with Chuck in The Gambler Returns.....Luck of the Draw (1991) ― Branded as Ned Travis - The Vindicator and in Ride Beyond Vengeance (1966).  William Wyler (Big Country) was quoted as saying Ride Beyond Vengeances has one of the greatest fight scenes he ever saw on the screen.  This bar room brawl had so many great reviews!

From Chuck Connors book..... The Man Behind the Rifle by David Fury ~ Ride Beyond Vengeances The four minute fight scene between Chuck and Claude was indeed one of the great screen brawls.  Together they demolished an entire saloon ~ interior and exterior ~ and the immense realism was obtained by doing most of the fight stunts themselves.  It took two full days to film.

I just love this cowboy especially as a bad guy, I bet in real life he was a teddy bear!  I tip my Cowgirl hat to you! 

Claude Akins was born in Nelson, Georgia on May 25, 1926
Birth Name: Claude Marion Akins  
He died January 27, 1994 in Altadena, California, of cancer

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