Actor Denver Pyle Dies at 77
Dec. 27, 1997
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Denver Pyle, a character actor best known as Uncle Jesse on television's ``The Dukes of Hazzard'', has died of lung cancer. He was 77.
Pyle died Thursday at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, hospital officials said Friday.
Less than two weeks ago, Pyle mustered the strength to attend the unveiling of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Pyle's lanky frame brought a Western authenticity to parts in such movies as ``The Alamo,'' ``The Man who Shot Liberty Valance'' and ``Cahill, U.S. Marshal.'' He also appeared in such TV series as ``Bonanza'' and ``Gunsmoke.''
Pyle was a veteran of TV. He played Caleb on ``Gunsmoke'' and Mr. Darlin' on ``The Andy Griffith Show.'' He also was a cast member on ``The Doris Day Show'' in the late 1960s and early `70s, ``The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams'' in the '70s.
On ``The Dukes of Hazzard,'' which ran from 1979-85, Pyle was a grizzled and cranky relative who offered sage advice to two Southern country cousins as they crossed paths with the law in their souped-up car.
Pyle appeared in a ``Dukes'' reunion TV movie this year.
In recent years, Pyle turned personal appearances as Uncle Jesse into fund-raisers for children's charities, his assistant Karen Lackey said.
A native of tiny Bethune, Colo., Pyle was named Denver after his mother's favorite city.
His acting career began in California theater productions, with his first movie part coming in 1947 with ``The Guilt of Janet Ames,'' which co-starred Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas.