John Pickard (American actor)

John M. Pickard (June 25, 1913 August 4, 1993)[1] was an American actor who appeared primarily in television westerns.

John M. Pickard
Born(1913-06-25)June 25, 1913
DiedAugust 4, 1993(1993-08-04) (aged 80)
Rutherford County, Tennessee, U.S.
Cause of deathAttacked by a bull
Other namesJack Pickard
Years active19361987
Spouse(s)Ann M. Pickard (?-1993, his death) 1 child

Early life

Pickard was born in Lascassas in Rutherford County, near Murfreesboro in Middle Tennessee. He graduated from the Nashville Conservatory in Nashville, Tennessee. His first acting roles were small parts in films, mostly uncredited, beginning in 1936 as a dueling soldier in the picture Mary of Scotland, based on the 16th century queen, Mary of Scotland.

From 1942 to 1946, Pickard served in the United States Navy, having been the model for naval recruitment posters during World War II.


Pickard returned to acting after the war and appeared in supporting roles in scores of westerns and action dramas before landing the starring role in the syndicated television series, Boots and Saddles, set on an Arizona fort in the late 19th century. His second film role, also uncredited, came in John Wayne's Wake of the Red Witch (1948).

Pickard's first television guest-starring roles were in crime dramas in 1951 and 1952, respectively -- Racket Squad, with Reed Hadley, and Boston Blackie. In 1954, he guest starred on the legal drama, The Public Defender, again with Reed Hadley. He was also cast on the syndicated western anthology series, Stories of the Century, with Jim Davis, and later on Davis' other series, Rescue 8, based on stories of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Pickard appeared on Hopalong Cassidy and in 1956 on the CBS children’s western My Friend Flicka. That same year he was cast in another anthology series, Navy Log, and in an episode of Jack Webb's NBC series, Dragnet. He appeared in a 1956 episode of the TV Series The Lone Ranger entitled "Trouble at Tylerville".

From 1957 to 1958, he filled the lead role of Captain Shank Adams on Boots and Saddles, with episodes set in the Arizona Territory on a United States Army fort. Afterwards, Pickard guest starred in many more westerns including the role of the gunfighter Johnny Ringo on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, starring Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp.[2] Pickard also appeared as Derr in the series Official Detective 1958 episode "The Policeman's Gun".[3]

Other appearances were on Tales of the Texas Rangers, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, Yancy Derringer, Wagon Train, Johnny Ringo, Tales of Wells Fargo, The Texan, The Rebel, Laramie, The Rifleman, Empire, Rawhide, The Wild Wild West, and The Virginian. From 1960 to 1975, he appeared in twelve episodes of the long-running CBS western, Gunsmoke, with James Arness, who in 1955 had beaten out Pickard for the series lead as Marshal Matt Dillon.

In 1959, Pickard was cast, uncredited, as a Mississippi River pirate in the episode "The Unwilling" of the NBC western series, Riverboat, starring Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds. In the story line, businessman Dan Simpson, played by Eddie Albert, attempts to open a general store in the American West despite a raid from river pirates who stole from him $20,000 in merchandise. Debra Paget is cast in this episode as Lela Russell, and Russell Johnson, as Darius.[4]

In 1961, Pickard had brief recurring role of Sergeant Major Murdock in the short-lived CBS western Gunslinger, starring Tony Young.

In addition to roles in westerns, Pickard also guest starred in several dramatic series. He made four appearances on Perry Mason, all as law-enforcement officials. Other television series' include Lassie, The Twilight Zone, Ben Casey, Ironside, Mission: Impossible, and Cannon.

In 1969, he appeared as Frank Ross in another John Wayne film, True Grit. Pickard's final on-screen appearances was in a 1987 episode of the CBS detective series, Simon and Simon.


On August 4, 1993, Pickard, at the age of 80, was killed by a bull on the family farm in Rutherford County, Tennessee. He was survived by his wife, Ann M. Pickard, and one adult child, three grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. His interment was at his family cemetery in Lascassas.[5]

Selected filmography


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