• 9 July 1906
  •  Denver, Colorado, USA

Walter Sande


Chances are you've seen his imposing character face scores of times but couldn't place the name. Colorado-born actor Walter Sande was one of those stern, heavyset character actors in Hollywood everyone recognized but no one could identify. Born in Denver on July 9, 1906, Sande showed an early passion for music as a youth and by his college years managed to start his own band. This led to a job as musical director for 20th Century-Fox's theater chain, which in turn led to acting in films beginning in 1937. Usually providing atmospheric bits with no billing, he made an initial impression in serial cliffhangers as a third-string heavy with the popular The Green Hornet Strikes Again! (1940) and Sky Raiders (1941). His first top featured role, however, would come with The Iron Claw (1941) as Jack "Flash" Strong, a photographer who--uncharacteristically for Walter--served as a comic sidekick to the serial's hero. Best of all would be his role in another serial as Red Pennington, the amusing sidekick to Don Winslow of the Navy (1942). he repeated his role again in Don Winslow of the Coast Guard (1943), the successful sequel. The role of Pennington sparked a long and steady supporting career in movies, usually a step or two behind Hollywood's elite on camera, which included Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not (1944) (prominently featured as the fisherman who tries to cheat Bogie), Gary Cooper in Along Came Jones (1945), Alan Ladd in The Blue Dahlia (1946), Charlton Heston in Dark City (1950) and Spencer Tracy in Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), among hundreds of others. He also lent an an authoritative presence to classic sci-fi films such as Red Planet Mars (1952), The War of the Worlds (1953) and Invaders from Mars (1953), and also had a recurring featured part in the 1940s "Boston Blackie" film series playing Detective Matthews alongside Chester Morris' former thief-turned-crime hero. A prolific supporting player during the "golden age" of TV, Sande worked on nearly every popular western and crime show that aired throughout the 1950s and 1960s. He had a regular series role on The Adventures of Tugboat Annie (1957) as Capt. Horatio Bullwinkle, Annie's tugboat rival, and a recurring one as Inger Stevens' Swedish father, Lars "Papa" Holstrum, on The Farmer's Daughter (1963). Walter Sande died of a heart attack in 1971 at age 65.