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Jock Mahoney (born Jacques Joseph O'Mahoney, February 7, 1919 – December 14, 1989) was an American actor and stuntman. He starred in two western television series, The Range Rider and Yancy Derringer. He played Tarzan in two feature films and was associated in various capacities with several other Tarzan productions. He was sometimes credited as Jack O'Mahoney or Jock O'Mahoney.
Mahoney in The Range Rider
Jacques Joseph O'Mahoney|
February 7, 1919
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
December 14, 1989 (aged 70)|
Bremerton, Washington, U.S.
|Other names||Jack O'Mahoney, Jock O'Mahoney|
|Alma mater||University of Iowa|
Lorraine O'Donnell (m. 19??; div. 19??)|
(m. 1952; div. 1968)
(m. 1969; d. 1989)
|Children||8, including Sally Field (stepdaughter)|
Early life, education and military serviceEdit
After his discharge from the Marine Corps he moved to Los Angeles, California, and for a time was a horse breeder. However, he soon became a movie stuntman doubling for Gregory Peck, Errol Flynn and John Wayne. Director Vincent Sherman recalled staging the climactic fight scene in his 1948 film Adventures of Don Juan and could find only one stuntman who was willing to leap from a high staircase in the scene. That man was Mahoney, who demanded and received $1,000 for the dangerous stunt.
Most of Mahoney's films of the late 1940s and early 1950s were produced by Columbia Pictures. Like many a Columbia contract player, Mahoney worked in the studio's two-reel comedies. Beginning in 1947, writer-director Edward Bernds cast Mahoney in slapstick comedies starring The Three Stooges. Mahoney had large speaking roles in these films, and often played his scenes for laughs. In the Western satire Punchy Cowpunchers (1950), Mahoney, striking a heroic pose, would suddenly get clumsy, tripping over something or taking sprawling pratfalls. Beginning in 1950, Columbia management noticed Mahoney's acting skills and gave him starring roles in adventure serials. He was originally billed as Jacques O'Mahoney, then Jock O'Mahoney.
He succeeded stuntman Ted Mapes as the double for Charles Starrett in Columbia's Durango Kid western series. The Durango Kid often wore a mask covering much of his face, which enabled Mahoney to replace Starrett in the action scenes. Mahoney's daring stunts made it seem that the older Starrett grew, the more athletic he became. Mahoney contributed so much to this series that he was awarded featured billing and major supporting roles as well, first as villains and then as sympathetic characters. By 1952 Columbia was billing him as Jack Mahoney.
When Charles Starrett's contract ran out in the spring of 1952, Columbia decided to replace him with Mahoney, opposite Starrett's sidekick Smiley Burnette. The first film was completed but never released; Columbia abandoned the series in June 1952, bringing an end to its long history of B-Western production.
Cowboy star Gene Autry, then working at Columbia, hired Mahoney to star in a television series. Autry's Flying A Productions filmed 79 half-hour episodes of the syndicated The Range Rider from 1951 to 1953. In 1959 there was a lost episode shown six years after the series ended. He was billed as Jack Mahoney. The character had no name other than Range Rider. His series co-star was Dick Jones, playing the role of Dick West.
For the 1958 television season, he starred in the semi-western Yancy Derringer series for 34 episodes, which aired on CBS. Yancy Derringer was a gentleman adventurer living in New Orleans, Louisiana, after the American Civil War. He had a Pawnee Indian companion named Pahoo Katchewa ('pa-who-kaht'-chee-wah') ("Wolf Who Stands in Water") who did not speak, played by X Brands. Pahoo had saved the life of Derringer, and thereafter was responsible for Derringer's life.
Jock O'Mahoney starred in 64 feature films.
Tarzan films and television seriesEdit
In 1960, he appeared as Coy Banton, a villain in Tarzan the Magnificent, starring Gordon Scott. Mahoney's strong presence, work ethic, and lean (6 foot 4 inch, 220 pound) frame impressed producer Sy Weintraub who wanted a "new look" for the fabled apeman.
In 1962, Mahoney became the thirteenth actor to portray Tarzan when he appeared in Tarzan Goes to India, shot on location in India. A year later, he again played the role in Tarzan's Three Challenges, shot in Thailand. When this film was released, Mahoney, at 44, became the oldest actor to play the jungle king, surpassing Johnny Weissmuller and P. Dempsey Tabler, a record that still stands. Dysentery and dengue fever plagued Mahoney during the shoot in the Thai jungles, and he plummeted to 175 pounds. It took him a year and a half to regain his health. Owing to his health problems and the fact that producer Weintraub had decided to go for a "younger look" for the apeman, his contract was mutually dissolved.
Television guest rolesEdit
In 1960, Mahoney guest-starred in the Rawhide episode "Incident of the Sharpshooter." He also appeared in television guest-starring roles on such series as Batman, the Ron Ely Tarzan series, Hawaii Five-O, Laramie, and The Streets of San Francisco.
Later career and deathEdit
In the 1980s, Mahoney made guest appearances on the television series B. J. and the Bear and The Fall Guy. During the final years of his life he was a popular guest at film conventions and autograph shows. He died of a second stroke in 1989 at the age of 70, two days after being involved in an automobile accident in Bremerton, Washington . His ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.
A tribute to Mahoney entitled "Coming Home" is found on the Internet site of the late marksman Joe Bowman of Houston, a close Mahoney friend. On February 6, 1990, the poem was read at a memorial tribute to Mahoney held at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, California. More than 350 attended, included Bowman. The reading was conducted by Mahoney's widow, Autumn O'Mahoney.
Mahoney was married three times, with three children and five step-children. His first wife was Lorraine O'Donnell, with whom he had two children, Kathleen O'Mahoney and Jim O'Mahoney, before their later divorce. He next married actress Margaret Field in Mexico in 1952. Their daughter, Princess O'Mahoney, was born 6 months later. Margaret Field already had two young children, Richard Field and Sally Field, from her first marriage. Mahoney and Field divorced in June 1968. The following year, he married actress Autumn Russell, who had three children, Carl Botefuhr, Jr., Angela Botefuhr and Andrea Botefuhr. They remained together until his death.
Sally Field, Burt Reynolds and Brian Keith starred in the 1978 film Hooper, in which both Reynolds and Keith played Mahoney-like stuntmen. Keith's character, retired, was named Jocko, and was the father of Field's character. Mahoney's daughter Princess O'Mahoney later became a television and film assistant director. He was a Republican.
In 2018, Sally Field published a memoir entitled In Pieces in which she describes alleged childhood sexual abuse by Mahoney.
- The Doolins of Oklahoma (1949)
- The Blazing Trail (1949)
- Overland Pacific (1954)
- Gunfighters of the Northwest (1954)
- A Day of Fury (1956)
- Away All Boats (1956)
- I've Lived Before (1956)
- Showdown at Abilene (1956)
- Battle Hymn (1957)
- The Land Unknown (1957)
- Joe Dakota (1957)
- The Last of the Fast Guns (1958)
- Money, Women and Guns (1958)
- Tarzan the Magnificent (1960)
- Three Blondes in His Life (1961)
- Tarzan Goes to India (1962)
- California (1963)
- Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963)
- The Walls of Hell (1963)
- Moro Witch Doctor (1964)
- The Glory Stompers (1967)
- Bandolero! (1968)
- The End (1978)
- Freese, Gene (2013). Jock Mahoney: The Life and Films of a Hollywood Stuntman. McFarland. pp. 22–25. ISBN 9780786476893. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Jock Mahoney". joebowman.com. Archived from the original on June 16, 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
- Field, Sally (2018). In Pieces. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-1-5387-6304-9.
- Critchlow, Donald T. (2013). When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 172–173. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
- "Sally Field Opens Up About Sexual Abuse In Memoir". www.hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 2018-09-11.