I didn't have much of an opportunity to see Joplin native Dennis Weaver in the role that made him famous, Deputy Chester Goode on the classic western series Gunsmoke.
I remember him more for "Gentle Ben," which I didn't like, and "McCloud," which I did. He was one of those actors who always made the job appear to be a lot easier than it is, since he comes off so natural. The Joplin Globe ran a bulletin a little while ago announcing Weaver's death at age 81. Mr. Weaver always maintained his Joplin connections, right down to wearing a Missouri Southern jacket on his series "Stone." "Stone" wasn't a hit, but Mr. Weaver always was in this area.
It seems the old rule of threes has played out once more since Mr. Weaver's death follows by only a couple of days the deaths of fellow TV legends Darren McGavin and Don Knotts.
Reading over the AP account reminded me that Mr. Weaver was far more of an accomplished actor than those who only saw him in his TV series would believe. He excelled in Steven Spielberg's debut movie, a horror movie made for television, but later released to theaters called "Duel."
I can also remember Mr. Weaver's chilling performance opposite Sally Struthers a few years back when he played a wife-abuser. He also made several movies, including notably Orson Welles' 1958 classic "Touch of Evil."
As I wrote over the weekend, it is sad when the faces and names of your youth begin to disappear, but fortunately the work of Mr. Weaver, as that of Mr. McGavin and Mr. Knotts, will continue to entertain future generations.