Wright King





1/11/1923 , Okmulgee, Oklahoma

Birth Name




Thomas Wright Thornberg King was born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma in 1923.

Wright was always interested in acting; after high school, he was studying to be an actor at the St. Louis School of Theatre. But when America entered WWII, Wright served in the Navy; he worked as a pharmacist's mate, stationed in the South Pacific. In 1946, after the war and an honorable discharge, Wright went to NYC -- and under the G.I. Bill, he studied at the Actors Studio and the American Theatre Wing.

He had a successful career in numerous theatrical productions. In 1947, Wright was one of the first actors to work steadily in the new medium of live television.

He married June Ellen Roth in 1948. They had 3 sons: Wright Jr., Michael, and Meegan who grew up to be a fine actor. Wright and June Ellen are still happily married.

Some of Wright's earliest TV appearances were on such c series as "Studio One"; "Kraft Television Theatre"; and "The Philco Television Playhouse."

In 1949, Wright achieved recognition for his portrayal of the Collector in Elia Kazan's stage version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" -- this led to a movie career when he reprised the role for the film version; his first film was "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951), acting alongside screen legends Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando. Wright would have a long career in movies playing supporting characters.

Wright replaced Vaughn Taylor as Ernest P. Duckweather on the kiddie puppet show "Johnny Jupiter" when the series went from live TV to film, in 1953.

Wright is best remembered by his fans for his 2 guest appearances on the original "Twilight Zone" series. He played Paul Carson in the TZ episode "Shadow Play," which raised the question: do we live in the real world and we have dreams at night, or is our reality just a dream? And Wright played Hecate in the TZ episode "Of Late, I Think of Cliffordville," a timeless c about a man going back in time to relive his youth.

Wright was most often seen on television in 1960 on the Steve McQueen western series "Wanted Dead Or Alive." After making 2 earlier guest appearances on it, he was seen in 11 other second-season episodes as Jason Nichols, a 'sidekick' to McQueen's bounty hunter Josh Randall. In all, Wright would make about 70 other TV guest appearances in his distinguished career.

Wright appeared in 2 dozen movies, and he's remembered for playing Dr. Murger in the sci-fi c "Invasion of the Bee Girls" (1973), which was re-released in Drive-Ins years later under the title "Graveyard Tramps" (1983). This movie in which Wright King and William Smith fight off Anitra Ford and her swarm of sexually-driven Insect Women is a true cult c.

In 1987, Wright and his wife June Ellen moved to Portland, Oregon, and are enjoying retirement there.