Jack Starrett

Jack Starrett (November 2, 1936 – March 27, 1989) was an American actor and film director.[1] He is credited as Claude Ennis Starrett Jr. in some of his films.

Jack Starrett
Jack Starrett.jpeg
Claude Ennis Starrett Jr.

(1936-11-02)November 2, 1936
DiedMarch 27, 1989(1989-03-27) (aged 52)
OccupationActor, film director
Years active1961–1987
Spouse(s)Valerie Starrett

Starrett is perhaps best known for his role as Gabby Johnson, a parody of George "Gabby" Hayes, in the 1974 film Blazing Saddles and is also known for his role as the brutal deputy Art Galt in the 1982 action film First Blood. He also played the cruel foreman Swick in The River.

Starrett acted in the biker films The Born Losers, Hells Angels on Wheels (both from 1967), Angels from Hell (1968) and Hell's Bloody Devils (1970), and directed two more: Run, Angel, Run in 1969 and Nam's Angels (1970) as well as the horror film Race with the Devil (1975), that was filmed in his home state of Texas in which he also played a gas station attendant.

Life and careerEdit

Starrett was born Claude Ennis Starrett Jr.[2] He was raised in Refugio, Texas and worked in the oil fields before coming to Hollywood.[3]

Starrett starred in the 1961 film Like Father Like Son as Coach Jennings, and later reprised the role in The Young Sinner in 1965 and Like Father Like Son in 1987.

Valerie Starrett, Jack's wife at one time, said Jack had always wished to direct rather than act. He made an uncredited first attempt at direction when the original director of The Girls from Thunder Strip.[4]

Through his career, Starrett directed feature films and episodes of television programs. In addition, he made guest appearances on TV shows including Hill Street Blues, Hunter, The A-Team, and Knight Rider (in which he made three guest appearances as different characters.) Starrett starred in three short films directed by Tony Schweikle, "Legend of the Durango Kid," "Colorado Rid'n High" and "Nolo Bait." Starrett and Schweikle stayed close friends until the day Starrett died. Jack called Tony on Good Friday complaining he was not feeling well. Asked will he go to a doctor, Jack replied I'll lie here until I get better, it worked dozens of other times. He died on Easter. At his funeral there were several photos of Jack as The Durango Kid. Charles Starrett was his boyhood idol. He turned down Tony's first offer to play the part of Cascade Charlie, but when Schweikle changed the title to The Legend of the Durango Kid, Jack immediately accepted. Charles Starrett played the Durango Kid in many films.

Starrett died from kidney failure in Sherman Oaks, California at the age of 52. At the time of his death he was married to Valerie Starrett. His daughter is Jennifer Starrett, who is also an actress.




Year Title Role Notes
1965 The Young Sinner Coach Jennings
1967 Hells Angels on Wheels Sgt. Bingham
1967 The Born Losers Deputy Fred
1968 Angels from Hell Bingham
1969 The Gay Deceivers Colonel Dixon
1970 Hell's Bloody Devils Rocky
1970 The Girls from Thunder Strip Sheriff
1970 Nam's Angels Chet Davis Uncredited
1970 Cry Blood, Apache The Deacon
1973 Kid Blue Tough Guy
1974 Blazing Saddles Gabby Johnson
1974 The Gravy Train Gentleman Rancher
1975 Race with the Devil Gas Station Attendant
1976 A Small Town in Texas Buford Tyler
1979 The Rose Dee
1982 First Blood Deputy Sergeant Arthur "Art" Galt
1983 Grizzly II: The Concert Papas Unreleased film
1984 The River Swick
1987 Like Father Like Son Coach Jennings Uncredited
1988 Death Chase Lt. MacGrew
1988 Brothers in Arms Father
1989 Family Reunion Charlie
1989 Nightwish Professor
1990 Hollywood Heartbreak Lou Budowski (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1971 Cade's County Wilbur Bain Episode: "The Mustangers"
1977 Nowhere to Hide Gus TV movie
1979 Mr. Horn General George Crook TV movie
1979 Survival of Dana Police Photographer TV movie
1983 Hill Street Blues Farley Episode: "Moon Over Uranus"
1983-1985 Knight Rider Hagen
Lt. George Barth
Three episodes
1985 Wildside General Abraham Wollock Episode: "Well Known Secret"
1985 Hunter Dennis Balzer
Three episodes
1986 The A-Team Wade Blackburn Episode: "The Duke of Whispering Pines"



Year Title
1969 Run, Angel, Run!
1969 House of Zodiac
1970 Nam's Angels
1970 Cry Blood, Apache
1972 The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie
1972 Slaughter
1973 Cleopatra Jones
1974 The Gravy Train
1975 Race with the Devil
1975 The New Spartans
1976 A Small Town in Texas
1976 Hollywood Man
1977 Walking Tall: Final Chapter
1982 Kiss My Grits


Year Title Notes
1969 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Two episodes
1970 Night Chase TV movie
1974 Planet of the Apes Episode: "The Horse Race"
1975-1977 Starsky & Hutch Three episodes
1977 Roger and Hary: The Mitera Target TV movie
1977 Nowhere to Hide [it] TV movie
1978 What Really Happened to the Class of '65? Episode: "Class Underachiever"
1978 Thaddeus Rose and Eddie TV movie
1978 Big Bob Johnson and His Fantastic Speed Circus TV movie
1979 Mr. Horn TV movie
1979 Survival of Dana TV movie
1979 Paris Episode: "Decisions"
1979 A Man Called Sloane Episode: "Sweethearts of Disaster"
1979-1980 The Dukes of Hazzard Two episodes
1980 Beyond Westworld Episode: "The Lion"
1980 Eischied Episode: "Powder Burn"
1981 Hill Street Blues Episode: "Life, Death, Eternity"


  1. ^ Staff report (March 29, 1989). Jack Starrett, 52; Adventure Film Actor, Director. Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ "Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997". Familytreelegends.com.
  3. ^ (April 1, 1989). Jack Starrett, Actor/Director in films, TV. San Jose Mercury News
  4. ^ Valerie Starrett Interview Sixties Cinema

External linksEdit