R.I.P. Stuart Whitman, star of Cimarron Strip and Highway Patrol

The TV Western and war movie actor was 92.

Image: The Everett Collection

In the late Sixties, the creators of Gunsmoke looked to bring another tough marshal to the small screen. Cimarron Strip followed the law-keeping of U.S. Marshal Jim Crown on the borderlands beyond the Kansas Territory. The Western cast an Oscar-nominee in the lead as Crown.

Stuart Whitman had earned a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his work in The Mark (1961), a psychological drama about an ex-con. The following year, Whitman appeared in The Longest Day, a role he fatefully stumbled into after delivering some cigars to producer Darryl F. Zanuck. Zanuck cast him in the picture.

The San Francisco native was a familiar face in Westerns and War World II films of the era, titles like The Decks Ran RedThe Day and the Hour and Rio Conchos. A onetime boxer and Army man himself, Whitman slid into tough-guy roles with ease.

On television, Whitman landed his first significant recurring role as Sergeant Walters on Highway Patrol. Series lead Broderick Crawford enjoyed the company of Whitman and invited him onto the show whenever his buddy needed the paycheck.

Cimarron Strip at last gave Whitman a headlining role on the level of a James Arness, though the series only lasted one season. It faced competition from Batman, Bewitched and Daniel Boone.

In the Seventies, Whitman appeared in cult B-movies like Crazy Mama and popped up several times on Fantasy Island. A decade later, he landed another regular role as comic book icon Jonathan "Pa" Kent on Superboy.

Whitman passed away on Monday after a battle with skin cancer, a longtime friend told TMZ. He was 92.

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15 Comments

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George 10 days ago
Was amazing in lead role of The "Grandpa " Steve Kozara story. He nailed it. R.I.P. my friend.
TroyLowe 14 days ago
He did a great job as cult leader Jim Jones in "Guyana Cult of the Damned".
Chloe 18 days ago
I have a DVD copy of him in Irwin Allen's, "City Beneath the Sea".
jacko3 18 days ago
GOD Be With Stuart Whitman .. another fine actor!
JudyClavel 18 days ago
He was the handsome cowboy in "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines." RIP Mr. Whitman
GaryGoltz 18 days ago
He was terrific on 'Highway Patrol' and a close friend of David Janssen's of 'The Fugitive'.
GaryGoltz GaryGoltz 16 days ago
YouTube Link - https://youtu.be/CaYCH-X8cjs
slim115W 18 days ago
Always liked Stuart, he was a very good character actor. RIP Stuart.
texasluva 19 days ago
So sad to hear about actors and people from the past that entertained millions. I remember him in The Comancheros when it came on TCM some years ago. From the great era of cinema. He has over 180 credits through the years. R.I.P Stuart Whitman.
harlow1313 19 days ago
I love "Night of the Lepus," with its giant blood-thirsty killer bunnies. Now that's horror.
Barry22 harlow1313 19 days ago
Those wascaly wabbits! Wasn't DeForest Kelly in that movie also?
Greg Barry22 18 days ago
Yes as was the other Enterprise Doc Paul Fix
Tresix 19 days ago
I remember him as Jonathan Kent on “Superboy”. I could have seen him growing to become Glen Ford in “Superman” in the movie.
George Tresix 10 days ago
He would have but they caught him stealing from the Craft food trucks. 5 times no less. Unfortunately it was not to be.
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