Denver Pyle Cause of Death: How the Beloved Actor Passed Away

Denver Pyle was a veteran character actor who appeared in hundreds of films and television shows, most notably as Uncle Jesse in The Dukes of Hazzard. He was loved by millions of fans for his gruff but warm-hearted portrayals of authority figures and father figures. But how did he die and what was his cause of death?

Early Life and Career

Denver Pyle was born on May 11, 1920, in Bethune, Colorado, to a farmer father and a mother who named him after her favorite city. He had a brother, Willis, who became a famous animator for Walt Disney and UPA. Pyle dropped out of college to pursue a career in show business, moving to Los Angeles in 1940. He worked as a drummer and band member until he joined the military service during World War II. His exact service record is unclear, but he may have served in the U.S. Navy or Merchant Marines, or both.

After the war, Pyle started his film and television career, playing many bit parts and supporting roles in various genres. He became known for his roles in westerns, such as The Alamo, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and Cahill U.S. Marshal. He also appeared in several episodes of The Andy Griffith Show as Briscoe Darling, the patriarch of a hillbilly family. He played Doris Day’s father, Buck Webb, in The Doris Day Show, and Mad Jack, a mountain man, in The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams. His most memorable film role was that of Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, who hunted down and killed Bonnie and Clyde in the 1967 film.

The Dukes of Hazzard and Later Years

Pyle’s most famous role was that of Uncle Jesse Duke, the wise and kind uncle of Bo and Luke Duke, the protagonists of the hit TV series The Dukes of Hazzard. He played the role from 1979 to 1985, and reprised it in a reunion TV movie in 1997. He also directed several episodes of the show. As Uncle Jesse, Pyle became a household name and a beloved figure for millions of viewers. He also used his fame to raise funds for children’s charities through personal appearances.

Pyle’s last film role was in the 1994 movie version of Maverick, another western comedy. He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997, less than two weeks before his death.

Cause of Death

On December 25, 1997, Denver Pyle died from lung cancer at a hospital in Burbank, California. He was 77 years old. He is survived by his wife, Tippy, and two sons. His death saddened his fans and colleagues, who remembered him as a generous and talented actor.

According to The Washington Post1, Pyle spoke at his star ceremony on December 12, 1997, and reminisced about his first visit to Hollywood with his brother Willie.

“Willie pointed out the stars to me and said, ‘Someday you’ll be a part of this street,’” Pyle said. “I didn’t know it then, but I guess I am now. I’ll see you down the road.”

Denver Pyle’s cause of death was lung cancer, but his legacy lives on through his memorable roles and his charitable work. He will always be remembered as Uncle Jesse by his fans and as a friend by his peers.

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