Arthur Hunnicutt

Arthur Lee Hunnicutt (February 17, 1910 – September 26, 1979) was an American actor known for his portrayal of wise, grizzled, and old rural characters. He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Big Sky (1952). He was also known for his role in the Western television series Sugarfoot (1957–1961).[1]

Arthur Hunnicutt
Arthur Hunnicutt in Stars in My Crown trailer.jpg
Hunnicutt in Stars in My Crown (1950)
Arthur Lee Hunnicutt

(1910-02-17)February 17, 1910
DiedSeptember 26, 1979(1979-09-26) (aged 69)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeCoop Prairie Cemetery, Mansfield, Arkansas, U.S.
Other namesArthur 'Arkansas' Hunnicutt
Years active1941–1975
Spouse(s)Pauline "Pebbles" Lile
(m. 1940-his death)

Early yearsEdit

On February 17, 1910, Hunnicutt was born in Gravelly, Arkansas. He attended the University of Central Arkansas and Arkansas State Teachers College but dropped out when he ran out of money.[2]


Hunnicutt gained early acting experience in stock theatre and entertained in traveling shows. An article in the September 22, 1940, issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, "There isn't a decent sized medicine show traveling through Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia, Indiana or Mississippi, nor a stock company touring those states, which hasn't had the name of Arthur Hunnicutt on its programs."[3] After eight years of such activity, in 1936 he enrolled in a drama school in Cleveland to study theatrical techniques for a year.[3]

He moved to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, where he joined up with a theatre company. Moving to New York City, he worked in the laundry at the Algonquin Hotel for 17 months before landing roles in Broadway productions.[3] While touring as the lead actor in Tobacco Road, he developed the country character he would later be typecast as throughout his career. Hunnicutt often found himself cast as a character much older than himself.[1]

Hunnicutt's first film was Wildcat (1942).[4] He appeared in a number of films in the early 1940s before returning to the stage. In 1949 he moved back to Hollywood and resumed his film career. He played a long string of supporting role characters—sympathetic, wise rural types, as in The Red Badge of Courage (1951), The Lusty Men (1952),The Kettles in the Ozarks (1955), The Last Command (1955, as Davy Crockett), The Tall T (1957), Cat Ballou (1965, as Butch Cassidy), El Dorado (1966) and The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin.

In 1952, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the Howard Hawks film The Big Sky.[5]

Throughout the '50s, '60s and '70s, Hunnicutt made nearly 40 guest appearances on American television programs. He made two memorable appearances on Perry Mason in 1963: he played orange grower Amos Kennesaw Mountain Keller in "The Case of the Golden Oranges," and prospector Sandy Bowen in "The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito." He also made guest appearances on Bonanza, Cheyenne, Gunsmoke, The Outer Limits, The Rifleman, Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Andy Griffith Show, The Wild Wild West, Adam-12, and The Twilight Zone.[6] In one of his last movies, Moonrunners (1975)—the precursor to The Dukes of Hazzard—he played the original Uncle Jesse.

In his later years, Hunnicutt served as honorary mayor of Northridge, California. He developed tongue cancer.


On September 27, 1979, Hunnicutt died of cancer at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital at age 69.[7] He was buried in the Coop Prairie Cemetery in Mansfield, Arkansas.[2]


Split Second (1953)
Year Title Role Notes
1942 Wildcat 'Watchfob' Jones
1942 Riding Through Nevada Arkansas
1942 Silver Queen Newspaper Publisher Brett
1942 Fall In Luke Hatfield
1942 Pardon My Gun Arkansas
1943 The Fighting Buckaroo Arkansas
1943 Law of the Northwest Arkansas
1943 Frontier Fury Arkansas
1943 Robin Hood of the Range Arkansas
1943 Johnny Come Lately Second Tramp
1943 Hail to the Rangers Arkansas
1943 The Chance of a Lifetime Elwood 'Tex' Stewart Uncredited
1944 Riding West Prof. Arkansas Higgins
1944 Abroad with Two Yanks Arkie
1945 Murder, He Says Townsman Uncredited
1949 Lust for Gold Ludi Uncredited
1949 The Great Dan Patch Chet Williams
1949 Pinky Police Chief Anderson Uncredited
1949 Border Incident Clayton Nordell
1950 Stars in My Crown Chloroform Wiggins
1950 A Ticket To Tomahawk Sad Eyes
1950 Broken Arrow Milt Duffield, Mail Superintendent
1950 The Furies Cowhand Uncredited
1950 Two Flags West Sgt. Pickens
1951 Sugarfoot Fly-Up-the-Creek Jones
1951 Passage West Pop Brennan
1951 The Red Badge of Courage Bill Porter
1951 Distant Drums Monk
1952 She Couldn't Say No Odie Chalmers
1952 The Big Sky Zeb Calloway / Narrator
1952 The Lusty Men Booker Davis
1953 Split Second Asa Tremaine
1953 Devil's Canyon Frank Taggert
1953 The French Line 'Waco' Mosby
1954 Beautiful but Dangerous Otey
1955 The Last Command Davy Crockett
1956 The Kettles in the Ozarks Sedgewick Kettle
1956 Cheyenne Hoot Hollister Episode: "Death Deals the Hand"
1957 The Tall T Ed Rintoon
1958 Born Reckless Cool Man
1959–1969 Bonanza Paiute Scroggs / Obie / Salty Hubbard 4 episodes
1960 The Rifleman Nathaniel Cameron Episode: "The Grasshopper"
1960 The Andy Griffith Show Jedediah Wakefield Episode: "A Feud Is a Feud"
1961 My Three Sons George, The Pony Ride Cowboy Episode: "The Horseless Saddle"
1961 Laramie Earl Droody Episode: "Wolf Cub"
1961 The Donna Reed Show Old Man Episode: "One of Those Days"
1962 The Twilight Zone Hyder Simpson Episode: "The Hunt"[6]
1963 The Cardinal Sheriff Dubrow
1963 Perry Mason Amos Kenesaw Mountain Keller Episode: "The Case of the Golden Oranges"
1964 A Tiger Walks Frank Lewis
1964 The Outer Limits Lamont Episode: "Cry of Silence"
1965 Cat Ballou Butch Cassidy
1965 Apache Uprising Bill Gibson
1967 The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin The Referee
1967 The Wild Wild West Doc Gavin Episode: "The Night of the Colonel's Ghost"
1967 El Dorado Bull Harris
1971 The Million Dollar Duck Mr. Purdham
1971 Shoot Out Homer Page (rancher)
1972 The Revengers Free State
1974 Mrs. Sundance Walt Putney
1974 Harry and Tonto Wade Carlton
1974 The Spikes Gang Kid White (aka Billy Blanco)
1975 Moonrunners Uncle Jesse
1975 Winterhawk McClusky (final film role)


  1. ^ a b Cochran, Robert; McCray, Suzanne (February 2, 2015). Lights! Camera! Arkansas!: From Broncho Billy to Billy Bob Thornton (Paperback). University of Arkansas Press. pp. 17, 29, 31, 32, 46, 94. ISBN 9781557286727. ISBN 1557286728.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  2. ^ a b Ware, Hames. "Arthur Lee Hunnicutt (1910–1979)". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Archived from the original on July 2, 2017. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Hunnicutt Has a Good Job". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. September 22, 1940. p. 46. Retrieved July 2, 2017 – via  
  4. ^ Bridges, Ken (March 5, 2017). "Actor, Arkansas Native Arthur Hunnicutt". El Dorado News-Times. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  5. ^ "("Arthur Hunnicutt" search results)". Retrieved July 2, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b Presnell, Don; McGee, Marty (2015). A Critical History of Television's The Twilight Zone, 1959-1964. N.p.: McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 118. ISBN 9781476610382. ISBN 147661038X.
  7. ^ "Arthur Hunnicutt dies of cancer at 68". The San Bernardino County Sun. San Bernardino County. Associated Press. September 27, 1979. p. 8. Retrieved July 3, 2017 – via  

External linksEdit