The Rifleman
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Karl Swenson
Actor | Soundtrack | Radio | Theatre

Karl Swenson - The Rifleman

Karl Swenson appeared twice in The Rifleman The Jailbird as Chris Manse, the stepfather of Eli. Karl — The Vision as Nils Svensen the Blacksmith.
How many actors played Nils or was it Niles or Nels? Was it Swenson or was it Svensen?
Karl and Dabbs Greer appeared in The Jailbird together and both went on to be in Little House on the Prairie.

A veteran of the American theater, film, television, and radio whose career spanned four decades, he is probably best remembered for his role as 'Lars Hanson' on NBC television Western drama series Little House On the Prairie from 1974 to 1978.

Karl was of Swedish descent, burly, light-haired character actor Karl Swenson was born in Brooklyn and started his four-decade career on radio. Throughout the late 30s and 40s, his voice could be heard all over the airwaves, appearing in several of daytime serials and mystery dramas. He gave visual life to one of his serial characters, Walter Manning, in Portia Faces Life when it went to TV in 1953. It was during his lengthy work in this medium that he met his wife, stage and radio actress Joan Tompkins. They appeared together throughout their careers on TV and in a few films. He has appeared in Dr. Kildare — Gunsmoke —Maverick — Mission: Impossible — Hawaii Five-O.

He didn't appear in films until age 50+ with minor roles in Kings Go Forth — North to Alaska — The Birds — The Sons of Katie Elder.

His voice was also well utilized in such animated features as The Sword in the Stone as the voice of Merlin.

He also did the Radio Detective Story Hour: Karl Swenson in Mr. Chameleon

Karl met actor Michael Landon on the set of Bonanza in 1959.  Landon remembered him when he began to film Little House on the Prairie.  He cast him in the recurring role of lumber mill owner Lars Hanson, he remained with the show until his death in 1978 of a heart attack. His character on the show also died.

Karl Swenson was born July 23, 1908 in Brooklyn, New York
He died October 8, 1978 in Torrington, Connecticut of a heart attack

Karl Swenson — Find A Grave

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