Thursday, May 7, 2020

John Ericson Passes On

John Ericsson, who played Sam Bolt on the cult TV series Honey West and appeared in such movies as Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Pretty Boy Floyd (1960), 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964), and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) died on May 3 2020 at the age of 93. The cause was pneumonia.

John Ericson was born Joachim Meibes on September 25 1926 in Düsseldorf, Free State of Prussia, Germany. His family moved from Germany to the United States in order to escape the rise of Nazism. He studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Among his fellow students were Grace Kelly, Jack Palance, and Don Rickles.

John Ericson made his television debut in 1950 in an episode of Lux Video Theatre. In the Fifties he guest starred on such shows as The Philco Television Playhouse. Out There, Chevron Hall of Stars, Kraft Television Theatre, General Electric Theatre, Cavalcade of America, Climax!, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, The Millionaire, Playhouse 90, Wagon Train, Zane Grey Theatre, The Restless Gun, The Loretta Young Show, The United States Steel Hour, and Rawhide. He made his movie debut in 1951 in Teresa. He played the title role in the movie Pretty Boy Floyd (1960). During the decade John Ericsson also appeared in such movies as Rhapsody (1954), The Student Prince (1954), Green Fire (1954), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), The Return of Jack Slade (1955), The Cruel Tower (1956), Forty Guns (1957), Oregon Passage (1957), and Day of the Badman (1958). He appeared on Broadway in Stalag 17 from 1951 to 1952.

In the Sixties he played Sam Bolt, the title character's man Friday, on the short-lived TV show Honey West. He guest starred on the TV shows Route 66, Target: The Corruptors, Kraft Mystery Theatre, The Dick Powell Show, General Hospital, The Fugitive, Profiles in Courage, Burke's Law, Bonanza, The Invaders, Death Valley Days, Gunsmoke, Ironside, and Marcus Welby M.D. He appeared in the unsold pilot Sybil, which starred Suzy Parker as the wood nymph of the title (it aired as an episode of Vacation Playhouse in 1965). He appeared in the movies Io Semiramide (1963), 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1963), Agente S 03: Operazione Atlantide (1965), Los 7 de Pancho Villa (1967), The Money Jungle (1967), The Destructors (1968), The Bamboo Saucer (1968), and Testa o croce (1969).

In the Seventies John Ericson guest starred on the TV shows The Virginian, Medical Center, Longstreet, Assignment: Vienna, The F.B.I., Tenafly, Escape, Hawkins, The Wide World of Mystery, Doc Elliot, The Streets of San Francisco, Police Story, Barbary Coast, S.W.A.T., Police Woman, Vega$, and The Wonderful World of Disney. He appeared in the movies Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Hustler Squad (1975), Crash! (1976), and The House of the Dead (1978).

In the Eighties John Ericson appeared on the TV shows Nero Wolfe; One Day at a Time; CHiPs; Knight Rider; The A-Team; Automan; Fantasy Island; Airwolf; Murder, She Wrote; and Hardball. He appeared in the movies Final Mission (1984) and Primary Target (1989). In the Naughts he appeared in the movie The Far Side of Jericho (2006) and guest starred on the TV show Crash.

John Ericson will probably always be best remembered as Sam Bolt on Honey West, but he played a wide variety of other roles as well. In 7 Faces of Dr. Lao he played Ed Cunnigham, the publisher of the local newspaper and the very definition of a crusading journalist. He played a character as far removed from Ed Cunningham as possible in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Nazi officer Colonel Heller. In The Return of Jack Slade he played yet a different role, the heroic Jack Slade, Jr., who faces off against a band of outlaws. It was only five years later that he played famous outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd. John Ericson was quite versatile, able to play everything from heroes to villains and everything in between. While he'll always be remembered best as Sam Bolt, he played a good number of other roles as well.

1 comment:

Caftan Woman said...

My kids got to know Mr. Ericson as an invading Nazi in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. So many viewings of Bedknobs and Broomsticks!