Friday, March 1, 2019

Morgan Woodward Dead at 93

Actor Morgan Woodward, known for playing "The Man with No Eyes" in Cool Hand Luke and a recurring guest role on Dallas, died Friday on February 22 morning at his home in California, the Fielder House Museum in Arlington, Texas. He was 93.

Thomas Morgan Woodward was born in Fort Worth, Texas, September 16, 1925. He was educated in the public schools of Arlington, graduated from high school in 1944, then enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps Pilot Training Program. This was natural, as he had been flying since the age of sixteen.

Following World War II, Woodward entered Arlington State College, where he majored in music and drama. During this period, Woodward began his professional career with the renowned Margo Jones Repertory Theatre in Dallas. His ultimate goal however, was the Metropolitan Opera. Later, the slow emergence of grand opera in America convinced him that this was not a promising career to pursue.

In 1948, Woodward transferred to the University of Texas and changed his major to Business Administration specializing in Corporate Finance, with a minor in music and drama. In addition to a full course of study, he had his own weekly radio show, a dance band, as well as a barber shop quartet. Some of his classmates during that time were Fess Parker, Jayne Mansfield, Rip Torn, Kathy (Mrs.Bing) Crosby, L.Q. Jones, Pat Hingle, Barbara Berry, in addition to Tommy Jones and Harvey Schmidt, co-authors of "The Fantastics" and "110 In The Shade", plus other outstanding Broadway musicals.

After graduating in 1951 with a BBA Degree, Woodward enter the University of Texas Law School. However, his Studies were interrupted when he was recalled to active duty with the Air Force and sent to Korea with the Military Air Transport Command. Following the Korean War, Woodward came to the attention of the late Walt Disney, who summoned him from Texas late in 1955 to do "The Great Locomotive Chase", Disney's first full-length live-action motion picture, and Woodward's first film. Disney was impressed and signed him for two more pictures in 1956. Shortly thereafter in 1957, Woodward signed a four year contract to star with Hugh O'Brian on the top-rated TV Western Wyatt Earp .

Woodward worked in over 250 TV and film productions. He holds the record for having done more guest starring roles on the series Gunsmoke (19) and Wagon Train (11) than any other actor. He was a regular guest star on primetime soap opera Dallas (1980-1988), playing Punk Anderson. His other TV credits included Logan's Run, Bonanza, Fantasy Island, Hill Street Blues and The X-Files.

From 1987-1988, Woodward played the role of Phillip Colville on Days of our Lives.

"I didn't have time to prepare, I didn’t like the cue cards, I thought the dialog was asinine," Woodward said about his Days run. "But I must say I certainly met some good actors on the soap opera."

He was mentioned by many of the nation's top film critics as an outstanding contender for the 1967 Motion Picture Academy Award in a supporting role, for his portrayal of "the man with no eyes" in Cool Hand Luke, starring Paul Newman.

For his contribution to the Western genre, he received the Golden Lariat Award at the National Western Film Festival, and the prestigious Golden Boot Award from the Hollywood Motion Picture and Television Fund.

Woodward's role in Cool Hand Luke was so memorable that decades later he spoofed his "Boss" character in an episode of Dukes of Hazard — trademark mirrored glasses and all.

Below, check out a clip of Woodward as Punk Anderson on Dallas.

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