Wright King

Thomas Wright Thornburg King (January 11, 1923 – November 25, 2018), better known as Wright King, was an American film and television actor, a native of Okmulgee in east central Oklahoma.[1] His career spanned the years from 1949 until his retirement in 1987.

Wright King
Thomas Wright Thornburg King

(1923-01-11)January 11, 1923
DiedNovember 25, 2018(2018-11-25) (aged 95)
ResidenceWoodland Hills, California
Years active1949–1987
Spouse(s)June Ellen Roth King (1948-2008, her death)
ChildrenWright King Jr., Michael King, Meegan King (born 1954)

Early life and career

King studied acting at the St Louis School of Theater, where he graduated in 1941, before enlisting in the United States Navy during World War II (1943-1945) where he served in the South Pacific campaign.[2]

King made his small screen debut in 1949 as Midshipman Bascomb in the television series, Captain Video and His Video Rangers.

Throughout his career, he worked in both the United States and in the United Kingdom.[3]

King was cast in numerous westerns and is particularly known for his role in the 1951 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Vivien Leigh (whom his character kisses). Prior to that, he had appeared in the original stage production, a performance which was lauded by drama critic Harold Hobson.[4] In 1958 King appeared as The Kiowa Kid/Nevada Jones on the TV western Cheyenne in the episode "Ghost of the Cimarron."

Other noteworthy film credits included roles in Cast a Long Shadow (1959), King Rat (1965), Planet of the Apes (1968), Finian's Rainbow (1968) and Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973).

In 1974, he played U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell Jr., of Georgia in the ABC television film, The Missiles of October, a dramatization of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.[5]

He appeared in the television series Johnny Jupiter, was in two episodes of the TV series The Silent Service (S01 E10 "The Pampanito" and S01 E20 "The Squailfish") and was the partner of Steve McQueen for a season of Wanted Dead or Alive. He appeared with Richard Boone in Have Gun Will Travel /Season 1 episode "Helen of Abajinan"

Personal life

King married June Ellen Roth in 1948. The couple had their first child the next year.[6]

He died in Canoga Park, Los Angeles on 25 November 2018 at the age of 95.[7][8]


Year Title Role Notes
1951A Streetcar Named DesireNewspaper Collector
1956The Bold and the BraveTechnician Fifth Grade
1956The Young GunsJonesy
1956Friendly PersuasionForagerUncredited
1956Stagecoach to FuryRalph Slader
1957Hot Rod RumbleRay Johnson - Arnie's sidekick
1959The Gunfight at Dodge CityBilly Townsend
1959Cast a Long ShadowNoah Pringle
1962Dangerous CharterJoe
1965King RatBrough
1968Planet of the ApesDr. Galen
1968Finian's RainbowDistrict Attorney
1972Journey Through RosebudIndian Agent
1973Invasion of the Bee GirlsDr. Murger
1987House Made of DawnFather Olguin(final film role)


  1. "Wright King". NNDB. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  2. "Ex-Mt. Vernonite Wright King in "Streetcar" Cast". Mt. Vernon Register News. March 27, 1952. p. 6. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  3. "Wright King In Grenada Movie". Mt. Vernon Register News. December 7, 1956. p. 8. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  4. "Mt. Vernon Actor Is Praised by London Critic". Mt. Vernon Register News. December 15, 1949. p. 2. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  5. "King of the 'Streetcar'". The Times-Picayune. March 22, 2008. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  6. "Births". Mt. Vernon Register News. November 22, 1949. p. 2. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  7. "Find Local Obituaries Online". Dignity Memorial. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  8. "Wright King, Actor in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and 'The Twilight Zone,' Dies at 95". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
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