Background of the Show
The 1947 movie "Cheyenne", starring Dennis Morgan, was the basis for this TV show. But the stuff that went on behind the scenes was probably as interesting as the show itself. Television was a fairly new venture to Warner Brothers. They wanted to appeal to lots of viewers, so they decided to rotate 3 shows as part of their "Warner Brothers Presents" program. "Cheyenne" was the first of the 3 to be presented and it quickly proved to be the most popular. The other 2 shows were "Conflict" and "Sugarfoot". The show starred Clint Walker as Cheyenne Bodie. It aired from 1955 to 1964, but was only seen occasionally because it continued to alternate with the other 2 shows.
Clint Walker had been at odds with the studio over contract disagreements and, in 1958, he walked out on Warner Brothers. The studio hung tough and continued the show without Clint. They made a character shift that brought fame to another great old TV cowboy (and another of my favorites!), Ty Hardin (who was a newcomer at the time). They gave Ty the lead as the character Bronco Layne and he was a big hit. No surprise, I'd say, because he was handsome and talented, and he encountered some interesting characters along the way, like Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and Wild Bill Hickok to name a few. When Clint Walker returned to "Cheyenne" in 1959 (after settling his disputes with the studio), Ty Hardin's series was so successful that Warner Brothers kept it on as a series called "Bronco" and alternated it with "Sugarfoot" until the next year when the 3 shows went back to rotating again.
All About the Show
Clint Walker played the lead role of Cheyenne Bodie in the TV show. He was very tall, 6' 5" to 6' 8" depending on the what the press release chose to print.
The show was set in the post-American Civil War era. Cheyenne was a pretty mean guy who drifted from job to job. Along the way he met a lot of pretty girls, a lot of bad guys, and got into a lot of gunfights.
His character wasn't always the same. He changed from episode to episode. One week he might be a ranch foreman, then maybe a scout for a wagon train, or he might even be a lawman. Whatever his character, Cheyenne always got the job done! He only had a sidekick the first year of the show. After that, he worked alone. It was obvious that the real attraction to the show was the star himself, Clint Walker. Warner Brothers produced this well written and well acted show as if it was a movie; they were that proud of their star!
More About the Actor
Clint Walker was born Norman Eugene Walker on May 30, 1927 in Hartford, IL. His twin sister Neoma died on Nov. 11, 2000.
He served in the Merchant Marines and, after he was discharged, had a lot of odd jobs such as sheet metal worker, nightclub bouncer, and doorman at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. He moved on to Los Angeles and it was there that a friend in the film industry helped him get some bit parts. That got him noticed by Warner Brothers who were just developing their Western television series. Clint was very tall, 6' 6", with a 48" chest and 32" waist. That physique and his good looks helped him land an audition, and won him the lead in the "Cheyenne" TV show which was on for 9 years.
Clint did some movies before his TV role as Cheyenne Bodie, including "The Ten Commandments", "Yellowstone Kelly", and "Send Me No Flowers" to name a few, and his career continued with more movies and television after "Cheyenne" ended. "None but the Brave", "The Dirty Dozen", "The Great Bank Robbery", and "Pancho Villa" were just a few of his movies. In the 1970's he appeared in TV shows such as "Yuma", "Hardcase", and "The Bounty Man".
He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (at 1505 Vine St.) and was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK in 2004.
Clint Walker has 1 daughter, Valerie, born in 1950. Her mother is Verna Garver who was his wife for 20 years, divorcing in 1968. His second wife, Gisele Hennessy, died in 1994 after 20 years of marriage. His current wife is Susan Cavallari whom he married in 1997. They live in Grass Valley, CA. He and Susan often appear at Western nostalgia conventions.