Obit: Dennis Weaver, 81

Most widely known for television roles on Gunsmoke, Gentle Ben, and McCloud, Weaver also delivered riveting performances in two extraordinary films. In Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil (1958, DVD 163), he is unforgettable as the quaking-in-his-boots night manager of the desert motel where Janet Leigh is being held captive by Mercedes McCambridge and her gang. In Steven Spielberg’s Duel (1971,VHS 5256) he’s a mild-mannered business man who inadvertently provokes a psychotic truckdriver when he attempts to pass him on a stretch of highway. Duel is considered by some to be Spielberg’s true film debut. It was originally a made-for-tv movie in the US but it’s critical success earned a theatrical release overseas.

Posted in Obituaries.