• 28 August 1897
  •  Danville, Illinois, USA

Morris Ankrum


A graduate of the University of Southern California School of Law, Morris Ankrum was an attorney and an economics professor before switching careers and joining the theater. He was a veteran stage actor by the time he entered the film industry in the 1930s. His film career spanned from 1933 to 1965 in which played in 276 films and TV shows. Ankrum spent much time in westerns, playing everything from Indian chiefs to crooked town bankers. Among his best remembered parts are his numerous villainous roles in Paramount's highly popular Hoplaong Cassidy film series. The Hoppy films in which he appears include, North of the Rio Grande, Hills of Old Wyoming, Pirates on Horseback, Three Men from Texas, Borderland, Hopalong Cassidy Returns, among others. He was cast in many other films throughout the 30s, 40s, and 50s, his parts varying from small appearances to co-starring roles. He can be seen in low-budgets and box-office hits alike. It was in the 1950s, though, that he hit his popular stride in the genre of science-fiction films, where his gruff, no-nonsense demeanor and authoritative voice perfectly fit the role of the military officer helping scientists fight an outer-space menace, most memorably as Col. Fielding in the classic film Invaders from Mars (1953). He appeared in many genres of television, playing in series such as Bonanza, The Rifleman, Rawhide, Cheyenne, Gunsmoke, The 20th Century Fox Hour, Maverick, Have Gun Will Travel, Sea Hunt, and over a dozen more. Toward the end of his career Ankrum had a recurring role as a judge on the Perry Mason (1957) TV series.