John Dehner

John Dehner


11/15/1915, Staten Island,New York,USA



Birth Name

John Forkum


out of 10
User Rating
27 votes


With his deep baritone voice and flamboyant demeanor, John Dehner made a name for himself as a character actor in TV, film and radio. Perhaps recognized most for his contributions to the Western genre, Dehner starred in two critically acclaimed radio westerns, Frontier Gentleman and Have Gun, Willmore


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Along with being a Disney animator before becoming an actor, John Dehner worked briefly as a disc jockey and a piano player.

    • John Dehner starred in two TV pilots that failed to go to series. The first was Rafferty's Angels in 1957, co-starring Brian Keith; the second was an adventure series called Appointment with Fear in 1960.

    • In comparing John Dehner's portrayal of on radio to that of Richard Boone's on the TV series Have Gun - Will Travel, old-time radio historian John Dunning called Dehner's Paladin "a streamlined version, perhaps slighter of build...but just as deadly."

    • With his wife Evelyn, John Dehner had two daughters, a stepdaughter and three stepsons.

    • In addition to acting on radio, John Dehner contributed scripts for CBS shows such as Escape, Suspense and The CBS Radio Workshop.

    • During World War II, John Dehner worked as a publicist for the Army and spent much of his time covering General George Patton.

    • John Dehner spent much of his youth in Europe before returning to the U.S. as a teenager.

    • Since he so frequently played villains, John Dehner used to remember with a laugh that, in the movies, he never got to kiss or win a girl.

    • During his stint as a radio reporter, John Dehner earned his station a Peabody Award for coverage of the United Nations conference in San Francisco in June, 1945.

    • John Dehner was considered for the role of Paladin on the TV series Have Gun, Will Travel, but his contract with The Roaring 20s prevented him from being cast.

    • John Dehner auditioned three times for the role of Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke, but he turned the part down. The reason he gave was not wanting to be typecast as a cowboy.

    • John Dehner played the title character in the Escape episode "Wild Jack Rhett." This episode led Norman MacDonnell to develop Gunsmoke.

  • Quotes

    • John Dehner: (on playing Paladin on radio) I didn't pay any attention to him [Richard Boone] at all. It was whatever came out of me. I knew that it would be deadly if I were to imitate him or do anything that was even vaguely similar to him. His Paladin was strictly Dick Boone. And I am not about to imitate. So I just did it the way I felt it.