Victor French

Victor French


12/4/1934, Santa Barbara, California, USA



Birth Name


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Born in California in 1934, noted character actor Victor French had a long history of television and movie work, most often in Westerns. He is probably best-known to television viewers for his recurring role as Agent 44 on Get Smart and for starring roles in the Michael Landon…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Victor French's only headlining role was in the ABC sitcom Carter Country. To promote the show, French actually visited Plains, Georgia (the home of then-President Jimmy Carter) in 1977.

    • When asked which character on Little House on the Prairie was most like their real-life persona, Lucy Lee Flippin (who played Eliza Jane Wilder) has said it was Victor French, saying, "he was really a Teddy Bear."

    • After playing villains and criminals for much of his career, by the 1980s Victor French deliberately declined any roles that involved his character showing cruelty.

    • The lung cancer that killed Victor French at the age of 54 was probably caused by a long-term smoking habit (something he shared in common with his frequent television co-star Michael Landon). French has no grave, he was cremated and the ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

    • French's performance in the Elvis Presley movie Charro! was generally considered far superior to Presley's. For example, a September 1969 New York Times review states that Victor French's portrayal of the villain "follows in the interesting recent tradition of mature sober-sided outlaws" and that the movie "really belongs" to his character.

    • Victor French played 19 separate characters on Gunsmoke, the most in the long-running western drama's history.

    • French was always interested in boxing and was active in promoting and staging boxing matches in Southern California.

    • Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert has said of her co-star, "I loved Victor French dearly. I have so many fond memories of him. I am glad there are reruns on where I can see us together."

    • French obtained some background in performance arts by taking classes in theater at California State University/Los Angeles and Los Angeles Valley College.

    • Victor French's long-lasting friendship with Michael Landon began when he guest-starred on Bonanza. Landon used his considerable influence to bring him onto the TV movie and series Little House on the Prairie (interrupted when French left to star on the short-lived comedy Carter Country). Their partnership continued during Highway to Heaven, a series that ended after French's death from lung cancer.

      Some sources indicate that there was some friction between the two when French left Little House on the Prairie. Still, Landon welcomed him back to the series and French was paid top scale after his return.

    • French had a long-term relationship with actress Julie Cobb, marrying and divorcing after two years of marriage in 1978. The couple had three children (Tracy, Kelly, and Victor).

    • Victor French had a life-long interest in western history and movies that he learned from his father and was a collector of souvenirs. Among many items, he owned pairs of boots once worn by Tom Mix and Roy Rogers.

    • In honor of his many roles in television westerns, French is a member of the "Hall of Great Performers" at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

    • Victor French's father (Ted French) was an actor and Hollywood stuntman and his grandfather Charles had a long acting career as well.

    • French became very interested in directing. He took on the job for episodes of Little House on the Prairie and directed every third episode of Highway to Heaven. He had directing credits for other 70s and 80s television shows as well. Among his theatrical efforts, he won a Critics Circle award for directing a Los Angeles production of Twelve Angry Men.

  • Quotes

    • Victor French: (speaking on the role Michael Landon played in his career) Landon rescued me from playing killers, rapists, and every kind of villain known to man.

  • A wonderful character actor!

    I remember Victor French from an episode of "Gunsmoke" called "Kiowa". In it he played a rancher whose daughter was stolen by Native Americans. However, this was not the usual story-it turns out the rancher was half Native American and the girl was stolen to force him back to the tribe to see his dying mother. Something rare for television in the stereotypical 1960's when this episode was produced. The episode portrayed Native Americans, simply as people and not as "Indians". Victor French did a beautiful job of dramatic acting and in fact,I believe that this episode of"Gunsmoke" is the best work that he ever did! His comedic talents were often evident on"Highway To Heaven" in the role of the ex-cop Mark, the sidekick of Mike Landon's angelic Jonathan Smith. Victor French passed away, sadly, at the age of 54.moreless
  • Mr. French will always be the jolly Mr. Edwards from Little House on the Prairie.

    Mr. French will always be one of my all time favorites because his character on Little House on the Prairie (Edwards) made such an impact on me growing up. This was unbeknownst to me, until I began whistling the Old Dan Tucker song to myself at work. This song brings back old childhood memories of good and simpler times. If Victor was still alive today, I would think him for each time, that Old Dan Tucker comes to the for front of my day to day worries and brings me back to a time when my biggest worry was missing an episode of Little House and the jolly man I knew and will always know as “Edwards”.

    Thank you, Mr. French.

    Chris Smith