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James Philbrook (October 22, 1924—October 24, 1982) was an American actor who appeared in supporting roles in three short-lived television series between 1959 and 1963: The Islanders on ABC and The Investigators and The New Loretta Young Show, both on CBS. He also appeared in several major films, as Bruce King in I Want to Live! (1958) and Henri in Woman Obsessed, both with Susan Hayward, and as Colonel Tall in the 1964 war picture The Thin Red Line, with Jack Warden.[1]

James Philbrook
Born(1924-10-24)October 24, 1924
Davenport, Scott County, Iowa, United States
or Lebanon, Pennsylvania
DiedOctober 24, 1982(1982-10-24) (aged 58)
Years active1957-1975
Spouse(s)Frances Cassling


Early yearsEdit

Philbrook was born in Davenport, Iowa,[note 1][2] the son of Roland F. Philbrook, a clergyman.[3] He attended St. Ambrose University and the University of Iowa, eventually completing an electrical engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1946.[2]

A December 26, 1962, newspaper article reported on Philbrook's varied occupational experiences: "At various times, he's been a miner, a rodeo performer, a gym instructor, a writer, a photographer — you name, he's done it with various degrees of success."[4]

Military serviceEdit

Philbrook was an aviation electronics specialist for the Navy for four years during the Korean War.[4] He was stationed in Africa, the Aleutian Islands, China, Europe, and India.[2]

Early rolesEdit

Philbrook's first screen role was at the age of thirty-two on CBS's Alfred Hitchcock Presents as a town clerk in the 1957 episode "The West Warlock Time Capsule", with Henry Jones in the starring role. A few months later, Philbrook appeared in "The Les Rand Story" of NBC's western series, Wagon Train, with Eduard Franz in the episode lead role. He also appeared in the 1957 episode "Decoy" of the syndicated western series Man Without a Gun, starring Rex Reason. In 1958, Philbrook guest starred in two ABC and Warner Brothers western series, Maverick, starring James Garner and Diane Brewster, in the role of Sloan in the episode "The Seventh Hand" and Sugarfoot as Smokey in "A Wreath for Charity Lloyd". He portrayed Clem Harrison in the 1958 episode "Manhunt" of ABC's Broken Arrow, starring John Lupton and Michael Ansara.[5]

In 1958, Philbrook played Charles Stewart in the episode "Hit and Run" of the syndicated television series, How to Marry a Millionaire, based on the earlier Marilyn Monroe film and starring Barbara Eden and Merry Anders. In 1959, Philbrook appeared as Yancey Lewis in "Return to Friendly" of the CBS western The Texan, starring Rory Calhoun. He starred too as Hank in "The Trap" of the syndicated series Rescue 8, starring Jim Davis and Lang Jeffries. He also appeared as Bender in the 1959 episode "Domestic Katy" of the CBS sitcom. The Ann Sothern Show. That same year, he appeared as an unidentified man, with Sothern and Pat Carroll, in the CBS anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson.[5] Later that year, Philbrook made his first of two guest appearances on Perry Mason as murderer Harry Jonson in "The Case of the Lame Canary." He also appeared as Politician Harrison Burke in the 1963 episode, "The Case of the Velvet Claws."

Philbrook procured his first recurring role in a series as Zack Malloy on The Islanders,[6]:512 with co-star William Reynolds (born 1931) in the role of Sandy Wade. The two played owners of an airplane that can land in water. The series is set in the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Diane Brewster appeared in a few of the twenty-five episodes of the series. Reynolds later co-starred on ABC's war drama, The Gallant Men (1962–1963) and with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., on The F.B.I. from 1967-1973.[5]

After The Islanders, Philbrook portrayed Steve Banks, a New York City insurance investigator, in all thirteen episodes of The Investigators,[6] with co-stars James Franciscus, Mary Murphy as Maggie Peters, and Alan Austin as Bill Davis.[5]

Later careerEdit

Philbrook appeared five times in different roles from 1958-1961 on the original NBC The Loretta Young Show, also called the Letter to Loretta anthology series. Among those roles are Mike Roberts in "A Visit to Sao Paulo" and Wainwright Tyler in "Doesn't Everybody?" In 1962, he was cast as magazine publisher and romantic interest of Loretta Young on The New Loretta Young Show. The couple married in the twenty-sixth and final episode of the series. Young played Christine Massey, a widowed mother of seven children, some grown, and Philbrook, according to the story line, adapted to the idea of becoming a stepfather to so many. Actors playing the Massey children included twins Dack Rambo and Dirk Rambo, Beverly Washburn, and Sandy Descher.[5]

Philbrook's other appearances were as Jim Costain in the 1961 segment "Triple C" of NBC's anthology series The Barbara Stanwyck Show and as McWhorter in the 1962 episode "Inger, My Love" on Bonanza. He appeared in two 1965 films, as Adam Hyde in Finger on the Trigger and as James "Ace" Ketchum in Son of a Gunfighter.[5]

Philbrook starred in the 1962 film The Wild Westerners and the 1966 spaghetti western Two Thousand Dollars for Coyote.

Philbrook's last English language role was as Dr. Keller in the 1966 episode "The Blind Man's Bluff Raid" of ABC's The Rat Patrol, a World War II drama starring Christopher George. His last film roles were in some dozen foreign westerns, primarily through 1969, with two others in 1975.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Philbrook was married to the former Frances Cassling. They had four children.[7]


Philbrook died in Los Angeles, California.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1958 From Hell to Texas Bartender Uncredited
1958 In Love and War Sue's Boyfriend Uncredited
1958 I Want to Live! Bruce King
1959 Warlock Cade Uncredited
1959 Woman Obsessed Henri
1962 The Wild Westerners Marshal Jim McDowell
1964 The Thin Red Line Col. Tall
1965 Finger on the Trigger Adam Hyde
1965 Son of a Gunfighter James 'Ace' Ketchum
1966 Sound of Horror Dr. Pete Asilov
1966 The Drums of Tabu Bill Harrigan
1966 El arte de casarse Col. W. P. Morgan (segment "Profesor de matrimonio")
1966 Two Thousand Dollars for Coyote Sam Foster
1967 Los 7 de Pancho Villa Sheriff of Cerezo
1968 Ballad of a Bounty Hunter Don Ramon
1969 La muchacha del Nilo James
1970 El último día de la guerra Lt. Poole
1975 The Killer is Not Alone Don Enrique Nieto
1975 Si quieres vivir… dispara Sam (final film role)


  1. ^ An article in The Republic newspaper on September 16, 1961, reported that Philbrook was "born in Lebanon, Pa."


  1. ^ "James Philbrook biography by Hal Erickson". Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "'Investigators' Bows on CBS Oct. 5". The Republic. Indiana, Columbus. September 16, 1961. p. 24. Retrieved June 22, 2017 – via  
  3. ^ Strum, Jan (June 19, 1963). "Advice of an Actor on Acting: 'Don't'". The Daily Times. Iowa, Davenport. p. 1. Retrieved June 22, 2017 – via  
  4. ^ a b Grant, Hank (December 26, 1962). "Actor Won't Cry 'Foul'". The Decatur Herald. Illinois, Decatur. p. 15. Retrieved June 22, 2017 – via  
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "James Philbrook". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 509. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  7. ^ "Philbrook". The Daily Times. Iowa, Davenport. June 19, 1963. p. 2. Retrieved June 22, 2017 – via  

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