Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Andrew Duggan

I happened on a broadcast of "Cheyenne" on Encore Westerns the other day, and decided to watch it.  I instantly recognized Andrew Duggan (1923 - 1988) as the villain, so here he is.  The episode was called "The Angry Sky" from 1958, and Duggan played a judge who was also trying to be a great criminal.  Good old Cheyenne Bodie, played by Clint Walker (b. 1927) figured it out in no time.

After some work on Broadway, Duggan started his screen acting career in teleplays in 1949.  I would say that he was best known as a guest star on over 100 TV shows.  He appeared on "Cheyenne" at least six times, but he also worked on the big screen.  He has 174 titles listed on IMDb, so let's look at some highlights. 

His first movie was Patterns (1956) starring Van Heflin (1910 - 1971) and written by Rod Serling (1924 - 1975).  It appears that his early films were mostly B movies with stars like Randolph Scott (1898 - 1987) and Rory Calhoun (1922 - 1999).  In 1958 he is in The Bravados starring Gregory Peck

In 1959 he got his own TV series, "Bourban Street Beat" that lasted only one season.  Still, it was top billing.  Along at this time, he is listed as the trailer narrator for several films, including Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962).  After Bourbon was cancelled, one of it's spin offs, "77 Sunset Strip," provided Duggan with some guest work.  He also was the narrator for PT 109 in 1963.

A bigger hit for Duggan was Seven Days in May (1964) starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.  Later in the 1960s he had a recurring role as Brig. General Ed Britt in "12 O'Clock High."

After playing many high ranking military officials, Duggan finally gets to play the president in James Coburn's spy spoof, In Like Flint (1967).  1969 brought his last starring TV role in "Lancer."  In 1971 he played John Walton in the TV movie, "The Waltons" before it was made into the popular series. 

Speaking of presidents, Duggan played Dwight D. Eisenhower in "Tail Gunner Joe" (1977), Lyndon B. Johnson in The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977), an unnamed president in "A Fire in the Sky" (1978), President Eisenhower again in a TV mini-series "Backstairs at the White House" (1979), and Eisenhower again in his final television role in "J. Edgar Hoover" (1987). 

Somewhere in there he appeared on "M*A*S*H" as Margaret Houlihan's father, Col. Alvin 'Howitzer' Houlihan, and as a character called 'Hacksaw' on "Charlie's Angels."

Andrew Duggan's final movie was A Return to Salem's Lot (1987), which was not rated very good on IMDb.  All in all, I think he had a great career with a lot of varied work.  Although never a big star, he certainly qualifies as a great Bit Actor.  We can even forgive him for mistakes like Frankenstein's Island (1981)!


  1. Andrew Duggan found a niche in a lot of folks' holiday viewing routine when he appeared as the father in "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story" as John Walton, whose arrival through a storm on Christmas Eve is greatly anticipated.

  2. Thanks, Caftan. And that Walton TV movie had a great cast, including Patricia Neal and Edgar Bergen. Many people consider it a Christmas classic up there with It's a Wonderful Life.

  3. Nice tribue to a solid performing actor! I remember him best from LANCER and IN LIKE FLINT. I think he attended college at my alma mater: Indiana University.

  4. Here is an actor who was never a huge star, but he is instantly recognizable. I love my blog subject! Thanks, Rick.

  5. There was a time when Andrew Duggan seemed to be everywhere (that I was watching, anyway) - even as a kid I knew his name. And here I am tonight, watching "Seven Days in May" on TCM and - ta da! - Andrew Duggan in a key supporting role. What a distinctive face, voice, presence he had. He perfect for this paranoiac, conspiracy thriller from 1964.

  6. Yes, Eve, Duggan is kind of a Fritz Weaver sort of character. Another interesting the 1964 World's Fair in New York, Walt Disney presented the Carousel of Progress. Duggan was the model for the animatronic father, and also did the voice. The ride is now at Walt Disney World but the voice has been updated.

  7. Mr. Know-It-All strikes ...

    77 SUNSET STRIP came first. All the WarnerBros. detective shows sprang from that show - in order, Bourbon Street Beat, Hawaiian Eye, Surfside 6.

  8. Dear Mike, you are correct! Duggan appeared on 77 in May of 1959 and Bourbon didn't air until October of that year. I had it backwards. Thanks!

    He did use his "Bourbon Street Beat" character, Cal Calhoun, in 1962 on "77 Sunset Strip" after Bourbon went off the air.


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