• 10 February 1905
  •  Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

John Dierkes


Tall and gaunt American character actor prominent in a number of classic American films. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he attended Brown University and subsequently went to work as an economist for the United States Department of State. In 1941, he joined the American Red Cross and served in Great Britain during the war. There he met director John Huston, who took a liking to Dierkes and recommended that he try Hollywood after the war. Instead, Dierkes went to work for the U.S. Treasury Department, which, coincidentally, sent him to Hollywood to function as technical adviser on the film To the Ends of the Earth (1948). 'Orson Welles' cast him as Ross in his adaptation of Macbeth (1948). Dierkes returned to the Treasury Department, but two years later, Huston called on him to play The Tall Soldier in The Red Badge of Courage (1951). Dierkes took a leave of absence from his job, a leave which lasted for the rest of Dierkes's life. His quiet dignity and distinctive appearance led him to dozens of roles in film and on television. In John Wayne's The Alamo (1960), Dierkes plays a Scot, "Jocko Robertson", named after Dierkes's own maternal grandfather. He died in 1975, and was survived by his wife, two sons, and two daughters.