Clint Walker, Dead at 91, Starred in TV Western Cheyenne


Actor Clint Walker and his wife. (1963 File Photo)


Clint Walker, the towering, strapping actor who handed down justice as the title character in the early TV Western Cheyenne, has died.

Mr. Walker died on May 21 of congestive heart failure at a hospital in Grass Valley, Calif., at the age of 91, said his daughter, Valerie Walker.

“He was a warrior, he was fighting to the end,” said Ms. Walker, a retired commercial pilot.

Mr. Walker, whose film credits included The Ten Commandments and The Dirty Dozen, wandered the West after the Civil War as the solitary adventurer Cheyenne Bodie in Cheyenne, which ran for seven seasons starting in 1955.

Born Norman Eugene Walker in Hartford, Ill., he later changed his name to the more cowboyish Clint.

He worked on Great Lakes cargo ships and Mississippi river boats and in Texas oil fields before becoming an armed security guard at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

There, many Hollywood stars, including actor Van Johnson, saw the 6-foot-6, ruggedly handsome Walker and encouraged him to give the movies a try, which Mr. Walker said he did after realizing the money would be better and the bullets would be fake.

He soon found himself under consideration for his first role in The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. He had a meeting with the film’s director, Cecil B. DeMille, but was late after stopping to help a woman change a tire.

“He just exuded power,” Mr. Walker said of Mr. DeMille in a 2012 interview. “He looked me up and down and said, ‘You’re late young man.“’ “I thought, ‘Oh no, my career is over before it even started.’ ”

Mr. Walker explained why he was late and said Mr. DeMille responded, “Yes, I know all about it, that was my secretary.” He was cast as the captain of the pharaoh’s guard in the 1956 movie.

He beat out several big names for the role of Cheyenne, but he speculated that it was because he was already under contract to Warner Bros. for much lower pay than other actors would have demanded.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here