69 (passed away Aug. 7th, 1992)
Oct. 20th, 1922
Clayton, Illinois, USA
John Anderson's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Born in Clayton, John Anderson grew up in Quincy and Adams County, Illinois. Prior to a prolific acting career, Anderson served in the United States Coast Guard during World War II where he met artist Orazio Fumagalli who became one of his best lifelong friends.
He was known for several roles, including his recurring and best known role in MacGyver as Harry Jackson, MacGyver's grandfather. Earlier work included appearances on many Western series, including The Californians, Gunsmoke (twelve times), Robert Culp's Trackdown, The Rifleman (eleven times), The Virginian (six times), Laramie (five times), The Big Valley in various roles, Outlaws (twice as Simon Shaw), The Rat Patrol (four times, three as the same character), Perry Mason (three times), Overland Trail, The Legend of Jesse James, an eccentric farmer who jealously guards his prize watermelon with a shotgun in "For the Love of Willadean: A Taste of Melon," part of Disney's "Wonderful World of Color," Man Without a Gun, Hawaii Five-O, and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp as Virgil Earp. He portrayed Franklin D. Roosevelt in the popular TV miniseries Backstairs at the White House (1979). He portrayed the character Kevin Uxbridge in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Survivors". Anderson played the role of Dr. Herbert Stiles in a series arc of CBS's Dallas.
A recurring Twilight Zone actor, he starred in four different episodes, "The Old Man in the Cave", "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville", "The Odyssey of Flight 33", and "A Passage for Trumpet". Standing 6'5Â½" tall (197 cm), he bore a strong resemblance to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, whom he portrayed three times. He was also the uncredited voice of Mark Twain in the Epcot attraction The American Adventure.
Anderson also appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) as "California Charlie", the used car salesman who helps Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), and as Captain Bob Robertson on Emergency! in Season 4, Episode 16 "Smoke Eater".
Anderson also portrayed the Ebonite interrogator in the episode "Nightmare" of the original Outer Limits TV series.
After his death in 1992, he was cremated and his ashes taken out to sea as part of his membership with the Neptune Society.
- The first of his appearances on _"Gunsmoke" (1955)_ (qv), in the episode "Buffalo Man", climaxed with a brutal fistfight between his character, Ben Siple, and 'James Arness' (qv)' Marshal Matt Dillon. This action scene, from its build-up to its dénouement, would become the common sequence upon which generations of budding editors would cut their teeth in film school. This sequence also features 'Jack Klugman' (qv), who would later co-star with Anderson in the classic "A Passage for Trumpet" episode of _"The Twilight Zone" (1959)_ (qv). Shortly before his death, Anderson remarked that it was Klugman who informed him, many years after the filming of their _"Gunsmoke" (1955)_ (qv) episode, that they had become legendary among film editors for their ubiquitous presence in student editing bays.
- Bore a strong resemblance to President 'Abraham Lincoln (I)' (qv) and portrayed him three times.