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Thomas Wright Thornburg King (January 11, 1923 – November 25, 2018), better known as Wright King, was an American film and television actor, a native of Okmulgee in east central Oklahoma.[1] His career spanned the years from 1949 until his retirement in 1987.

Wright King
Wright King in Suspense (Death Drum).jpg
Thomas Wright Thornburg King

(1923-01-11)January 11, 1923
DiedNovember 25, 2018(2018-11-25) (aged 95)
ResidenceWoodland Hills, California
Years active1949–1987
Spouse(s)June Ellen Roth King (1948-2008, her death)
ChildrenWright King Jr., Michael King, Meegan King (born 1954)


Early life and careerEdit

King studied acting at the St Louis School of Theater, where he graduated in 1941, before enlisting in the United States Navy during World War II (1943-1945) where he served in the South Pacific campaign.[2]

King made his small screen debut in 1949 as Midshipman Bascomb in the television series, Captain Video and His Video Rangers.

Throughout his career, he worked in both the United States and in the United Kingdom.[3]

King was cast in numerous westerns and is particularly known for his role in the 1951 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Vivien Leigh (whom his character kisses). Prior to that, he had appeared in the original stage production, a performance which was lauded by drama critic Harold Hobson.[4]

Other noteworthy film credits included roles in Cast a Long Shadow (1959), King Rat (1965), Planet of the Apes (1968), Finian's Rainbow (1968) and Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973).

In 1974, he played U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell Jr., of Georgia in the ABC television film, The Missiles of October, a dramatization of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.[5]

He appeared in the television series Johnny Jupiter, was in two episodes of the TV series The Silent Service (S01 E10 "The Pampanito" and S01 E20 "The Squailfish") and was the partner of Steve McQueen for a season of Wanted Dead or Alive. He appeared with Richard Boone in Have Gun Will Travel /Season 1 episode "Helen of Abajinan"

Personal lifeEdit

King married June Ellen Roth in 1948. The couple had their first child the next year.[6]

He died in Canoga Park, Los Angeles on 25 November 2018 at the age of 95.[7][8]


Year Title Role Notes
1951 A Streetcar Named Desire Newspaper Collector
1956 The Bold and the Brave Technician Fifth Grade
1956 The Young Guns Jonesy
1956 Friendly Persuasion Forager Uncredited
1956 Stagecoach to Fury Ralph Slader
1957 Hot Rod Rumble Ray Johnson - Arnie's sidekick
1959 The Gunfight at Dodge City Billy Townsend
1959 Cast a Long Shadow Noah Pringle
1962 Dangerous Charter Joe
1965 King Rat Brough
1968 Planet of the Apes Dr. Galen
1968 Finian's Rainbow District Attorney
1972 Journey Through Rosebud Indian Agent
1973 Invasion of the Bee Girls Dr. Murger
1987 House Made of Dawn Father Olguin (final film role)


  1. ^ "Wright King". NNDB. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  2. ^ "Ex-Mt. Vernonite Wright King in "Streetcar" Cast". Mt. Vernon Register News. March 27, 1952. p. 6. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  3. ^ "Wright King In Grenada Movie". Mt. Vernon Register News. December 7, 1956. p. 8. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  4. ^ "Mt. Vernon Actor Is Praised by London Critic". Mt. Vernon Register News. December 15, 1949. p. 2. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  5. ^ "King of the 'Streetcar'". The Times-Picayune. March 22, 2008. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  6. ^ "Births". Mt. Vernon Register News. November 22, 1949. p. 2. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  7. ^ "Find Local Obituaries Online". Dignity Memorial. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Wright King, Actor in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and 'The Twilight Zone,' Dies at 95". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 May 2019.

External linksEdit