R.I.P. John Ericson, costar of Ann Francis on Honey West

The actor played Sam Bolt on the hip Sixties detective show. He was 93.

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The 1960s were the golden age of spies and P.I.s on television. Cool, dapper detectives like Peter Gunn, Steve McGarrett, Paul Drake and Mannix worked cases from their enviable cars. Amongst that crowd, Honey West stood out. Anne Francis starred as the title characters, one of the first female detectives on TV. She sported around in a white convertible Shelby Cobra and used gadgets that would make James Bond jealous.

Honey West had a sidekick, Sam Bolt, played by MGM film star John Ericson. Bolt would communicate with West via a radio in her lipstick case. The characters were first introduced in a backdoor pilot on Burke's Law, "Who Killed the Jackpot?" Honey West premiered in the fall of 1965, and captured the same mod spirit as The Avengers. In fact, that British import led to the demise of Honey West. As Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. continually beat Honey West in the ratings, ABC figured it would be cheaper and easier to just air The Avengers instead of producing Honey West on their own dime. Sadly, Honey West lasted just one season.

Born Joachim Alexander Ottokar Meibes in Germany, Ericson and his family fled the Nazi regime to come to America. After studying acting in New York and honing his skills on Broadway, the actor became a contract player with MGM. For the studio, Ericson appeared alongside MeTV stars such as Barbara Stanwyck (1957's Forty Guns) and Fred MacMurray (1958's Day of the Badman).

Before his spotlight role on Honey West, Ericson could be seen in several hit Westerns of the era. He played a lead character alongside Clint Eastwood in the Rawhide tale "Incident Near Gloomy River" and appeared as the title character in the Wagon Train episode "The Dick Richardson Story." Other Westerns on his resume included The Virginian, Gunsmoke, Death Valley Days, The Restless Gun, and Zane Grey Theater.

Elsewhere, Ericson found guest-starring roles on Bonanza, The Invaders, The Fugitive, Police Story, Police Woman, S.W.A.T., Vega$, CHiPs, Fantasy Island and more.

Ericson passed away on May 3 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 93.

 
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cynkgreen 5 months ago
Well I vaguely remember watching the show & thinking it was cool to have a woman PI, but shame on MEtv for not telling us what year that was produced! I'm guessing about 64-66 since I was very young. I just remember my dad being the one who really really liked it! Lol
Pacificsun 13 months ago
Such a shame Honey West didn't last more than 1 season. It was a show quite a bit ahead of it's time, with a female heroine! Anne Francis was both tough and beautiful! This show doesn't get enough credit. But should be run on MeTV rotated with another short-lived show, just for fun!!
Utzaake Pacificsun 13 months ago
MeTV aired Honey West a few years ago, along with The Rogues. Both were produced by Aaron Spelling's Four Star Television and shown on weekends overnight (SA-SU). Got to watch all episodes and they are fun, especially because of Bruce the Ocelot. Once after Bruce was freed from a desk drawer, Sam Bolt complained to him, "Some guard dog you are. You're half-cat, half-chicken." Another time, he wanted to enjoy an evening out with Honey but couldn't because she deferred the decision to Bruce and it was Daktari viewing night.
Tampammm Pacificsun 11 months ago
Yes, a great show indeed! I've seen reruns of it recently on the Decades Channel.
MrsPhilHarris 13 months ago
I wonder how many episodes were made. ME should air it.
Pacificsun MrsPhilHarris 13 months ago
A typical television season in the 60's would've been about 26 weeks. I suggested to MeTV they run it, rotating it with another short-lived show! Any votes for the 2nd one??
BrittReid MrsPhilHarris 13 months ago
They filmed thirty episodes.
BigE Pacificsun 13 months ago
I second it.
MrsPhilHarris Pacificsun 13 months ago
I completely agree. I'll have to think about another show.
jacko3 Pacificsun 13 months ago
Yes - good idea!
teire 13 months ago
He was handsome, she was gorgeous. And the show was a lot of fun.
BrittReid 13 months ago
Honey West.........One of my favorites.
Pacificsun BrittReid 13 months ago
It was memorable. And I was just a kid. Remember her "cat"?
BrittReid Pacificsun 13 months ago
Bruce an Ocelot.
cperrynaples 13 months ago
Ericson was of German heritage, which may explain why he was cast as a Nazi in Bedknobs & Broomsticks!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 13 months ago
PS He first worked with Anne Francis in Bad Day At Black Rock, my favorite Spencer Tracy movie! Ernest Borgnine is a memorable bad guy here!
Jeffrey 13 months ago
Honey West Honey East Honey North Honey South - another woman easy of the eyes - great show:)
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