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Unkempt, rough and tough looking members of the gang, or lynch mob, or vigilantes, or posse riders, or cow herders. They had minimal or no dialog, not much screen time, and were generally not listed in the film credits. Some would show up as a face in the crowd, portraying townspeople, barflys, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.


Francis Walker
Frank Walker


Full name: Francis William Walker

1910-1971

appeared in at least 93 westerns and 4 serials ... and still counting.


I tend to recall Francis/Frank Walker in Columbia oaters just prior to and during the early days of World War II - rightly so, as he appeared in nearly four dozen of the Bill Elliott and Charles Starrett Columbias from that time period.

Born in Idaho, his film career spanned about a dozen years, from about 1933-1945, and most of his roles were that of gang member / henchman as well as doubling and stunt work. Appears he was a busy guy - check his reported earnings in the 1940 census below.

He enlisted in the Army on May 21, 1942 as a Private (link with more details below). Alas - we don't know where his duty locations were ... or whether he was injured in the military or Hollywood ... or he found a different job outside of the movie business.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has a few film listings for him during 1943-1945 ... and then he disappears.

The California Death Index and Social Security Death Index (SSDI) have Walker passing away in May, 1971 in Shasta County, California. Profiles on him note he died in Redding, California (which is the county seat of Shasta County). I found no obituary at the Google Newspaper Archive or the Newspaper Archive websites. Perhaps an Old Corral visitor who lives in/near Redding, California will volunteer to visit the local library and see if there's an obituary on Walker.

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Francis Walker: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0907733



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Archie Twitchell, Frank LaRue and Francis Walker in a scene from PRAIRIE STRANGER (Columbia, 1941), which starred Charles Starrett.


The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), the National Archives 1938-1946 Army Enlistment Records database, and California Death Index have information on Francis Walker:

  • Ancestry had an Idaho Birth Index record (not the birth certificate) for Francis William Walker, born April 1, 1910 in Fruitvale, Washington County, Idaho. Parents were 36 year old William Thomas Walker (born Illinois) and 32 year old Leona Margaret Murray (born Indiana).
  • 1930 census - 56 year old William T. Walker, 52 year old wife Maggie L., 21 year old son Eugene A., 20 year old son Francis W., and 17 year old daughter Elsie A. reside in Burbank, California. All three children were born in Idaho: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XCFJ-4GD
    1930 census takers worksheet - the Walker family owns their home at 222 South Orchard Drive, Burbank, California. The occupation of son Francis W. is "Tack man - Riding Academy".
  • 1940 census - 30 year old Francis W. Walker (born Idaho) is divorced and living in the Los Angeles area: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9CX-74Q
    1940 census takers worksheet - Walker is one of many roomers at 1140 North Gower in Los Angeles and he resided in Burbank, California in 1935. His occupation is "Motion Picture actor - Motion Picture Production", and in 1939, he worked 30 weeks and earned $5000.00+. If you view this census sheet, note there are several other actors listed: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-27797-3449-54?cc=2000219&wc=MMYH-FMM:1768590204
  • The National Archives 1938-1946 Army Enlistment Records database has info: Francis W. Walker is divorced and without dependents; born 1910 in Idaho; has two years of high school education; civilian occupation of "Actors and actresses"; and he enlisted as a Private on May 21, 1942 in Los Angeles.
    The following link will take you to that enlistment database - enter Frank W. Walker in the search box and then select California as the Residence State: http://aad.archives.gov/aad/fielded-search.jsp?dt=893&tf=F&cat=all&bc=sl,fd
  • The California Death Index has a record for Francis W. Walker, born April 1, 1910 in Idaho, and passed away on March 8, 1971 in the Shasta, California area. There is also a record in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) - 61 year old Francis Walker was born April 1, 1910, and he passed away March, 1971 in the Shasta, California area.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is the title lobby card from the Astor re-issue of Bill Elliott's THE RETURN OF DANIEL BOONE (Columbia, 1941). He's got his arm around Betty Miles. In the upper right inset, Elliott has the drop on Bud Osborne and Francis Walker (standing) and Ray Bennett (kneeling).



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