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, Will Travel.
Dehner began his career as an animator at the Walt Disney Studios. Before his acting debut, he also worked as a disc jockey and professional pianist. Dehner got into acting in 1945. He worked steadily in films throughout his life, sometimes appearing in as many as seven films in one year.
Among his film appearances are The Boys From Brazil, The Left Handed Gun, and Carousel. On TV, Dehner guest-starred in three episodes of The Twilight Zone, was a series regular on The Doris Day Show and also guested on The Wild Wild West, Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, and Maverick.
He was also a hard-working radio character actor. Dehner could be heard on Escape, Suspense and Gunsmoke. Dehner was offered the role of Marshal Matt Dillon, but turned it down due to a fear of being typecast. Ironically, Dehner would go on to do more work in westerns. In 1958, he starred as London reporter J.B. Kendall, who travelled the West in search of news stories on Frontier Gentleman. Later, after a contract kept him from assuming the role on TV, Dehner played Paladin on the CBS radio version of Have Gun, Will Travel. Both shows are today regarded, along with Gunsmoke, as some of the best dramatic programs of the golden age of radio.