01-28 Happy birthday to John Beck, Born: January 28, 1943.
He moved to California in 1962 at the age of nineteen and made his living by appearing in television commercials. In 1963/1964, he attended Joliet Junior College and was in an acting class. A year later, he made his first television appearance as an actor in his own right in a 1965 episode of NBC’s I Dream of Jeannie (entitled ‘Russian Roulette’) at the age of twenty-one. Beck had a regular supporting role as Ketcham in the weekly Nichols (TV series) also known as James Garner as Nichols which ran for one season on NBC from 1971 to 1972. His numerous credits as a supporting actor over the years include guest slots in such series as Death Valley Days, Diagnosis: Murder, Dan August, Baywatch, Tales from the Crypt, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Mod Squad, Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O and Matlock, among numerous others.
Already a household name in the United States by this point, Beck first came to the attention of international audiences in 1973 when he played an underground leader named Erno who leads a revolt against a fascist government in the Woody Allen sci-fi comedy Sleeper. That same year, he appeared as “John W. Poe” in the Sam Peckinpah western Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and in 1975, he appeared opposite James Caan as “Moonpie” in the original Rollerball.
He became known for his role of Mark Graison in CBS’s Dallas during the middle 1980s.
The 1990s saw Beck turn to voice acting for the first time in his career when he provided the voice of the Punisher in three episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, although to date this remains the only role as a voice actor in his career. Beck also guest-starred as the character Raymond Boone in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine extended episode “Tribunal” in 1994. A year later, he appeared in the film Black Day Blue Night. His increasingly hectic workload between the early 1970s and the mid-1990s wore Beck down to the extent that after leaving the Walker: Texas Ranger series in 1997, he began to wind down his acting schedule due to “exhaustion”.
Still a favourite of American critics, Beck’s last appearance on screen to date was in the 2005 television movie Crash Landing.
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