In the Fifties, it was hard to get away from Westerns because that genre easily dominated the decade's television and film industry. Many of our favorite actors began as the star of an hour-long, black-and-white Western (or in color when humans started creating ways to expand the at-home and film production experience). Clint Walker was one of them, starring in the Fifties classic Cheyenne. As a heroic cowboy, the actor got a taste of superstardom in the role.
Here are five facts about his life and career.
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Walker has a twin sister named Lucille.
*This is NOT an actual photo of Clint and his sister.*
Having siblings is great—but having a twin sibling is even better. Walker and his twin, Lucille Neoma, were born in Hartford, Illinois, on May 30, 1927. They had different personalities but had a close relationship. While Clint enjoyed his stardom, Lucille, often called Lucy, preferred a much quieter life. She married her high school sweetheart, enjoyed art and had three children.
He quit almost every job he had in high school.
Walker's father moved them from Illinois to the Mississippi River towns of Hartford, Woodriver and Alton. Clint attended Alton Roosevelt Junior High School and, after school, worked as a pin boy in bowling alleys, bellhop at the Stratford Hotel, Western Union Messenger, baker's assistant, and grocery clerk.
That's a lot for a teenager!
Walker said, "I became reckless and quit in my second year of high school. Soon I joined the Merchant Marine and spent the next three years at sea."
He met his wife at 21 and made a living as a construction worker, nightclub bouncer and detective.
Walker met his wife, Verna Lucille Garver, at an ice cream parlor and married her when he was 21. After the birth of his first daughter, he managed to take care of his family as a construction worker. After wanting more, he moved his family to California, where he found employment as a guard on the waterfront, private detective and bouncer in nightclubs.
Somehow, his experience led him to a deputy sheriff position in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clearly Walker was a man of many talents!
Film celebrities suggested Walker give acting a try—so he did!
Hollywood, especially in the Fifties, had its benefits for many. Walker somehow became acquainted with film celebrities, and they thought he'd be the perfect actor. So he, once again, moved his family—this time to Hollywood, where he worked as a bouncer in a cafe while his wife worked as a waitress. "We got by," Walker told The Salt Lake Tribune in 1957, "and used the money we could save for my dramatic lessons."
A stranger helped him get his first acting opportunity.
Walker was walking down a street when a stranger introduced himself as an "old-timer" in movies and said he liked Clint's looks. It wasn't just Hollywood talk as the stranger arranged for Walker to meet with Cecil B. DeMille. He gave him a screentest, and before the actor knew it, he had a six-month contract and a small role as Pharaoh's bodyguard in The Ten Commandments.
He wasn't the first choice for his star role in Cheyenne, but he beat out his competition—which was great because he moved his family about 28 times before settling down in North Hollywood with financial success.