Norman Eugene “Clint” Walker is a retired USA actor, and a part-time singer, who is probably still best known for his role as cowboy Cheyenne Bodie, star of the TV western series “Cheyenne”, starting in 1955 through 1963, made by ABC/Warner Bros.
Early Life and Education
Clint Walker was born in Hartford, Illinois on 30 May 1927, the son of a Czech mother Gladys Huldah and Paul Arnold Walker; Clint had a twin sister Lucille (1927-2000). He dropped out of school to work in a factory, and later he joined the US Navy as a Marine Merchant during the last few months of World War II when he was still only 17 years old. After he left the military, he worked in a variety of jobs in Texas, Nevada and California.
Walker’s acting career started off as Henry Willison’s client – Henry gave him a nickname “Jett Norman” and cast him with a role in “Bowery Boys”. Later, in Los Angeles he was hired by Cecil DeMille for an appearance in “The Ten Commandments”. This was just enough for Warner Brothers studios to acknowledge his potential, as the studios were producing western TV series at the time. In June 1955 Walker’s good looks helped him get the main role in the TV series called “Cheyenne”, in which he played Cheyenne Bodie, a heroic wandering cowboy in the era of post-American civil war. That role gave him the opportunity to show his charisma and turned him into a TV western legend. In 1958, Warner Brothers gave him a lead role in “Fort Dobbs”, and then in 1959 the main role in “Yellowstone Kelly”. “Cheyenne” episodes were transformed into feature films, and Walker also guest-starred in the “Maverick” and “77 Sunset Strip” TV series. Warner’s gave a third shot to Walker with “Gold of the Seven Saints” in 1961, with his co-star Roger Moore who also had a contract with Warner Brothers. “Cheyenne” ended in 1963.
Career After “Cheyenne”
In 1964 Walker starred in Kraft Suspense Theatre, and later in 1965 Frank Sinatra gave him a role in “None But the Brave” war drama, the only piece Sinatra ever directed. Walker also fought a grizzly bear in “The Night of the Grizzly” in 1966, but his most profound role which lifted him up to the stars was in the war drama movie “The Dirty Dozen” in 1967, in which he played a convict Samson Posey. His return to Westerns was with the movie “More Dead Than Alive” in 1969. He also had several support roles in Western comedies “Sam Whiskey” and “The Great Bank Robbery” during 1969.
In the 1970’s he played many characters in “Phynx”, and starred in the movie “Yuma” 1971, followed in 1972 with roles in “Hardcase” and “The Bounty Man”. Walker then co-starred with Telly Savalas in “Pancho Villa” in 1972, and several other TV series during the 1970’s – “Baker’s Hawk”in 1976, and support roles in “Snowbeast” in 1977 and “The White Buffalo” in 1977. The Canadian film “Deadly Harvest” also featured him in 1977, and then a support role in “Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women” in 1979.
During the 1980’s, Walker had roles in “Hysterical” in 1983, “The Love Boat” in 1985 and a lead role in “The Serpent Warriors” also in 1985. “The All American Cowboy” was also filmed in 1985, in which he again had a significant part. In 1991 he starred in “The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw”, and “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues” in 1998.
Clint Walker married Verna Garver in 1948, but they divorced in 1968 having had a daughter, Valerie in 1950, who became a pioneer in female airline piloting. In 1974 Walker married again, to Giselle Hennessy who unfortunately died 20 years later in 1994. but that didn’t stop Walker from trying to keep his love life intact. In 1997 he married Susan Cavallari, and eventually they became permanent residents of Grass Valley, California.
During a skiing vacation in Mammoth Mountain, California in May 1971, Clint Walker barely survived an accident, falling from a ski elevator and being pierced through the heart by a ski pole – hospital officials pronounced him dead, but the doctor suddenly found faint signals of life, so he was rushed to the operating theater, and operated on successfully. Only two months afterwards, Walker was already back to work, filming in Spain. In total, Clint Walker played in over 40 movies and TV series throughout his long career, mostly in the western genre.
Honors and Achievements
Clint Walker received a “Golden Boot” award in 1997. In 2004, he was acknowledged as a great Western performer, and took his place in the “Hall of Great Western Performers” at the “National Cowboy & Western Heritage” museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
A star was dedicated to Clint Walker on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1505 Vine Street close to the crossroad with Sunset Boulevard.
How rich is Clint Walker?
Sources estimate that his net worth is around $4 million, not the richest cowboy of them all, but he certainly is one of the most recognizable ones. Nowadays, he enjoys the fruits of his long-lasting career, peacefully at his home.
Social Media Presence
Perhaps unfortunately for all his fans and followers, Clint Walker doesn’t have a registered page or profile on any of the main social media sites, which is perhaps unsurprising considering he is 90 years old.