Tom Skerritt: Western Legend
Tom Skerritt is an icon in 20th century American film and television. He has appeared in more than forty films and more than two hundred television episodes since his screen acting career began in 1962. His film debut was in War Hunt, which was set in the closing days of the Korean war. But after War Hunt, he quickly began a career acting in television Western series.
Tom Skerritt is an actor who embodies the rugged look and character of the old West. No doubt this was one of the reasons he was cast in many of the most known Western television series of the time, including The Real McCoys, Bonanza, The Virginian, Gunsmoke and Death Valley Days.
He appeared in five different episodes of Death Valley Days and portrayed a different character in each episode. In showing his skill as an actor, he was not one to be typecast. Even within the Western genre, his characters were varied and worked on both sides of the law. For example, in Death Valley Days episode “Honor the Name” he was Dennis Driscoll, a young soldier whose army convoy is threatened by an attack, but in episode ‘Three Minutes to Eternity’ his character, Emmett Dalton, worked on the wrong side of the law and was in the family business of robbing banks. In another Death Valley Days episode,”Ten Day Millionaires”, he even portrayed Samuel Clemens, more widely known as author Mark Twain. In ‘The Book’ he acted along side George Takei (most notably as Mr. Sulu in the original Star Trek series) as a gambler.
Tom Skerritt has continued a to captivate audiences down until today with a wide variety of film, stage and television roles. Though his scope as an actor is not limited to Westerns, he can truly be called a Western Legend for his contribution to many Western series, including Death Valley Days which is being featured at the 2016 Western Legend Round-Up.