Dennis Weaver Cause of Death: How the TV Legend Passed Away

Dennis Weaver was a beloved actor who starred in many popular television shows and movies, such as Gunsmoke, McCloud, and Duel. He was also a passionate environmentalist and humanitarian who advocated for a sustainable and peaceful world. He died on February 24, 2006, at the age of 81, from complications of cancer. Here is a brief overview of his life and career, as well as the details of his death and legacy.

Early Life and Career

Dennis Weaver was born on June 4, 1924, in Joplin, Missouri. His father was a farmer and electrician, and his mother was a homemaker. He had a mixed ancestry of English, Irish, Scottish, Cherokee, and Osage. He grew up during the Great Depression and worked on the family farm. He also excelled in sports, especially track and field. He attended Joplin Junior College and then transferred to the University of Oklahoma, where he studied drama and set records in several events. He also served as a pilot in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

After the war, he married his childhood sweetheart, Gerry Stowell, with whom he had three children. He moved to New York to pursue an acting career and enrolled in the Actors Studio. He made his Broadway debut in Come Back, Little Sheba and then appeared in several plays by Tennessee Williams. He also got a contract from Universal Studios and made his film debut in The Redhead from Wyoming in 1952.

Breakthrough and Fame

Weaver’s breakthrough role came in 1955, when he was cast as Chester Goode, the loyal deputy of Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) on the hit western series Gunsmoke. He played the part for nine years and won an Emmy Award for his performance in 1959. He left the show in 1964 to pursue other opportunities.

He starred in his own series, Kentucky Jones, but it was canceled after one season. He then appeared in several movies and TV shows, such as Gentle Ben, Mission: Impossible, The Virginian, and Ironside. He also had a memorable role as a nervous motel clerk in Orson Welles’s film Touch of Evil.

In 1970, he landed another iconic role as Sam McCloud, a cowboy cop from New Mexico who works in New York City on the NBC police drama McCloud. The show was part of the NBC Mystery Movie series that also featured Columbo and McMillan & Wife. Weaver played McCloud for seven seasons until 1977.

He also starred in Duel, a 1971 TV movie directed by Steven Spielberg that became a cult classic. In the movie, he played a driver who is chased by a mysterious truck on a desert highway.

Later Years and Activism

Weaver continued to act in various TV shows and movies throughout the 1980s and 1990s, such as Stone (1979), Centennial (1978-79), Cocaine: One Man’s Seduction (1983), Murder, She Wrote (1984-95), Bluffing It (1987), Lonesome Dove: The Series (1994-95), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), Wildfire (2005-06), and many more.

He also became more involved in environmental and humanitarian causes. He was a vegetarian and an advocate for animal rights. He founded the Institute of Ecolonomics, a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable living and environmental education. He also supported the World Peace One initiative that aimed to end war through music concerts.

He was also an avid builder of earth-friendly homes. He built his own solar-powered house in Colorado using recycled materials and tires. He called it “Earthship” and invited visitors to learn from his example.

Death and Legacy

Weaver died on February 24, 2006, at his home in Ridgway, Colorado, from complications of cancer. He was surrounded by his family and friends. He is survived by his wife Gerry, his sons Rick and Robby, his daughter Rusty Ann Rosenthal, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

He was cremated and his ashes were scattered on his ranch.

Weaver is remembered as one of the most versatile and charismatic actors of his generation. He left behind a rich legacy of memorable roles that spanned different genres and mediums. He also inspired many people with his passion for nature and peace. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981 and was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1984.

According to IMDb, he once said: “We are all connected to everyone and everything in the universe. Therefore everything one does as an individual affects the whole.”

Doms Desk

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