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Subject: ARCHIVE: January 27, 1994 ~ Claude Akins dies at 67

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Date Posted: Monday, January 27, 07:33:58am


The Washington Post
January 29, 1994

ALTADENA, CALIF. -- Claude Akins, who played genial, rough-and-tumble characters in movies and on television, including Sheriff Lobo of "B.J. and the Bear," died Jan. 27 of cancer.

The actor appeared in supporting roles in many classic films, including "From Here to Eternity," "The Caine Mutiny" and "Inherit the Wind."

In May, Mr. Akins lost half his stomach to cancer surgery.

Film reference books put his age at 75, but a son said he was 67.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Mr. Akins was a frequent supporting actor in Westerns and war films, mostly outdoor and action movies that embraced his rugged appearance. Some of those films included "Rio Bravo" with John Wayne, "How the West Was Won" and "The Devil's Brigade."

"Claude was absolutely a true gentleman and a terrific person," said Rick Hersh, his agent. "He was a very kind and warm man."

In recent years, Mr. Akins became familiar to television and radio audiences as the pitchman for Aamco transmissions.

His television career, which flourished in the 1970s and 1980s, showcased his genial, down-home style.

From television, he was best known as the bumbling Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo in "B.J. and the Bear" and in a spinoff series, "Lobo," both of which ran from 1979 to 1981. He also played a gypsy truck driver named Sonny Pruitt in the series "Movin' On," which ran from 1974 to 1976.

Born in Nelson, Ga., and raised in Bedford, Ind., Mr. Akins began his acting career at age 5 in a church play. He was a talking robin.

His small-town upbringing made him yearn for success, Mr. Akins recalled in a 1974 TV Guide interview.

"When you're from a town of 12,000, you want to be somebody or something -- but you don't know where to go or how," he said.

He made his movie debut in 1953 as an Army sergeant in "From Here to Eternity" with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr.

He is survived by his wife, Therese, whom he married in 1952, and three children.


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Subject Author Date
In one of my favorite TZ episodes, "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street" (NT).Monday, January 27, 03:38:58pm

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