Walter Lee Barnes (January 26, 1918 – January 6, 1998) was an American football player and actor. He played professional football as a guard in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles and college football at Louisiana State University. Barnes was an actor in both American and European films. He appeared in several films with John Wayne, Lex Barker, and Clint Eastwood.
Barnes on a 1950 Bowman football card
|Born:||January 26, 1918|
Parkersburg, West Virginia
|Died:||January 6, 1998 79) (aged|
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
|Career highlights and awards|
Barnes earned his nickname of "Piggy" from catching a piglet when a boy. Playing football at Parkersburg High School, he was on the unbeaten 1938 team and played in the 1939 North-South Game.
Following military service in the United States Army in World War II as a sergeant, Barnes enrolled at Louisiana State University (LSU) where he became not only a football player but a college weightlifting champion. Following graduation he joined the Philadelphia Eagles football team as a guard before retiring and becoming a coach of football teams of Columbia University and Arizona State University.
While playing for the Eagles, Barnes made time to help his alma mater, LSU, by spying on the practices of the Oklahoma Sooners team prior to the 1950 Sugar Bowl. After being caught by members of the Oklahoma football staff and Biloxi, Mississippi residents, Barnes fled to hide in the house of a former LSU teammate, Elbert Manuel. Both Barnes and Manuel refused Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson's offer to present themselves for identification to clear their names. The spying incident had little to do with the outcome of the game, as Oklahoma beat LSU easily, 35–0.
Barnes was inducted into the Coaches' Association Hall in June 2010.
Barnes entered acting through after appearing several times on The Eagles Nest a local Philadelphia television show. WCAU television placed him on several local shows. His contacts with Walt Silver, a producer for Warner Bros. Television lead him into several appearances on television and films. Some of his more notable appearances included Bronco, Gunsmoke, Cheyenne, Bonanza, Have Gun – Will Travel and Death Valley Days. John Wayne got him a small role as Charlie the Bartender in Rio Bravo.
Tiring of small roles and seeing opportunities overseas, Barnes was one of the many American actors who moved to Italy in the early 1960s. Kirk Douglas recommended him for a role in his The Vikings television spinoff Tales of the Vikings that was filmed for Douglas' production company in Germany. From 1960 to 1969, he was first active in pirate movies, then Karl May film adaptations and Spaghetti Westerns. His popularity in Germany would lead him to receive top billing when his films played there.
Barnes returned to the United States in 1969 and appeared in more films and television series, which included The High Chaparral. His friendship with Clint Eastwood on Rawhide later lead him to several roles in Eastwood's films. He retired from acting in 1987 and became increasingly ill due to his Diabetes. Barnes died on January 6, 1998. He was the father of German former actress Lara Wendel, who was born Daniela Barnes.
Other acting appearances
- Oregon Passage - film (1957) - Sgt. Jed Erschick
- Cheyenne - TV series (1957) - Chris Barlow on episode Top Hand
- Revolt in the Big House - film (1958) - Guard Capt. Starkey
- Death Valley Days - TV (1958) - Blacksmith Gil Calvin in "Thorn of the Rose."
- Westbound - film (1959) - Willis - Stage Depot Cook
- Rio Bravo - film (1959) - Charlie (uncredited)
- Under Ten Flags - film (1960)
- Il carro armato dell'8 settembre - film (1960)
- Robin Hood and the Pirates - film (1960) - Guercio / Orbo
- The Secret of the Black Falcon - film (1961) - Calico Jack
- El secreto de los hombres azules - film (1961) - Matthias
- Romulus and the Sabines - film (1961) - Stilicone
- Queen of the Seas - film (1961) - Captain Poof
- Revenge of the Conquered - film (1961)
- Avenger of the Seven Seas - film (1962) - Van Artz
- Revenge of the Musketeers - film (1963) - Porthos
- Il segno di Zorro - film (1963) - Mario
- Captain Sindbad - film (1963) - Rolf
- Slave Girls of Sheba - film (1963)
- Apache Gold (1963) - Bill Jones
- Among Vultures - film (1964) - Martin Bauman Sr.
- Challenge of the Gladiator - film (1965) - Terenzo
- The Oil Prince - film (1965) - Bill Campbell
- Duel at Sundown - film (1965) - Old McGow
- Winnetou and the Crossbreed - film (1966) - Mac Haller
- The Big Gundown - film (1966) - Brokston
- Clint the Stranger - film (1967) - Walter Shannon
- Feuer frei auf Frankie - film (1967) - Col. O'Connor
- Liebesnächte in der Taiga - film (1967) - Jurij
- Halleluja for Django - film (1967) - Jarret aka Clay Thomas
- The Long Day of Inspector Blomfield - film (1968) - Insp. Fred Lancaster
- Giarrettiera Colt - film (1968) - General
- The Moment To Kill - film (1968) - Bull
- The Magnificent Tony Carrera - film (1968) - Barnes
- Colpo di stato - film (1969)
- Bonanza - TV (1969–1971) - Sheriff Truslow / Weatherby / Emmett J. Whitney / Will Griner
- The Traveling Executioner - film (1970) - Sheriff
- The Christian Licorice Store - film (1971) - P.C. Stayne
- Daddy's Deadly Darling - film (1972) - Doctor
- Mission: Impossible - TV (1972–1973) - Homer Chill / Al
- High Plains Drifter - film (1973) - Sheriff Sam Shaw
- Cahill U.S. Marshal - film (1973) - Sheriff Grady
- Escape to Witch Mountain - film (1975) - Sheriff Purdy
- Mackintosh and T.J. (1975) - Jim Webster
- Emergency! - TV (1977) - Mike Gold
- Day of the Animals - film (1977) - Ranger Tucker
- Another Man, Another Chance - film (1977) - Foster
- Pete's Dragon - film (1977) - Captain
- Every Which Way but Loose - film (1978) - Tank Murdock
- The Dukes of Hazzard - TV (1980) - Jeb McCobb
- Bronco Billy - film (1980) - Sheriff Dix
- Walking Tall - TV (1981) - Carl Pusser
- Smokey Bites the Dust - film (1981) - Sheriff Turner
- Father Murphy - TV (1982)
- North and South - TV miniseries (1985) - Benny Haven
- Stingray - TV (1986) - Daniel Coleman
- Boon - TV (1987) - JCB Driver (final television appearance)
- "Walt Barnes". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
- pp.13-14 Didinger, Ray & Lyons, Robert S. The Eagles Encyclopedia Temple University Press
- p.69 Frayling, Christopher Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone I. B. Tauris Press