RIP OTR writer/actor/director Herb Ellis, aged 96


courtesy the Old Time Radio Lovers website

December 28, 2018

“Sorry to report the passing of Old Time Radio actor-director Herb Ellis (Dragnet). Our mutual friend Peggy Webber just posted: “Many of our excellent actors have passed recently. But we have just lost one of the ones most deserving of being called an actor He was and is Herb Ellis. He died this morning at his home in San Gabriel [CA]. May God rest his soul. He was an angel to all who knew him. Never have so many owed so much to one man. He never sought credit. But did so much behind the scenes.”

Actor Herb Ellis was born January 17, 1921. Ellis was a frequent collaborator of Jack Webb; in fact, the two co-wrote a television pilot called Joe Friday, Room Five that ultimately formed the basis for Dragnet. Ellis was the first actor to play Officer Frank Smith on Dragnet; he played the role for eight episodes before Ben Alexander stepped in for the duration of the show’s run. Ellis appeared in other background roles on Dragnet as well as on Dangerous Assignment, Escape, and Tales of the Texas Rangers. Ellis also did a single-episode stint as Archie Goodwin opposite Sydney Greenstreet in The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe.

On television, Ellis appeared on the 1967 version of Dragnet, as well as The Fugitive, The Andy Griffith Show, and (seen above opposite Craig Stevens) in a recurring role on Peter Gunn.

ELLIS, Herb (Herbert Siegel)

Born: 1/7/1921, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.

Died: 12/26/2018, San Gabriel, California, U.S.A.

Herb Ellis’ westerns – actor:

Frontier (TV) – 1956 (Nelson)

The Sheriff of Cochise (TV) – 1956

Riverboat (TV) – 1960 (Papite Roger)

U.S. Marshal (TV) – 1960 (Deputy Sheriff ‘Stoney’ Stone

Iron Horse (TV) – 1967 (Trundle)

Hang ‘Em High – 1968 (Swede)



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here