Hank Patterson

Family tree of Hank Patterson

Actor, Singer & Musician

AmericanBorn Elmer Calvin Patterson

American actor and musician

Born on October 9, 1888 in Springville, Alabama , United States

Died on August 23, 1975 in Woodland Hills, California , United States

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Elmer Calvin "Hank" Patterson (October 9, 1888 – August 23, 1975) was an American actor and musician. He is known foremost for playing two recurring characters on three television series - stableman Hank Miller on Gunsmoke and farmer Fred Ziffel on both Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.

...   Elmer Calvin "Hank" Patterson (October 9, 1888 – August 23, 1975) was an American actor and musician. He is known foremost for playing two recurring characters on three television series - stableman Hank Miller on Gunsmoke and farmer Fred Ziffel on both Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.

Early life
Patterson was born in Springville, Alabama, one of seven children of Green Davis Patterson, an insurance agent, and Mary Isabell "Mollie" Newton Patterson. By the 1890s, his family had moved to Taylor, Texas, where he spent most of his boyhood and attended school through eighth grade. In 1917, he registered for a World War I draft card in Lubbock County, Texas.
Patterson had intended to be a serious pianist, but instead became a vaudeville piano player. By the end of the 1920s, he moved to California. He entered the movie business as an actor during the 1930s. His earliest identified screen work was an uncredited appearance in the Roy Rogers' Western film The Arizona Kid (1939).

Movies and TV
Patterson found plenty of movie work, mainly playing cantankerous types and blacksmiths, hotel clerks, farmers, shopkeepers, and other townsmen, usually bit roles and character parts in Republic Pictures Westerns, and then in popular TV Westerns such as The Cisco Kid, The Adventures of Kit Carson, The Lone Ranger, and Annie Oakley. He also had small cameo appearances in a number of sci-fi movies by Bert I. Gordon: Beginning of the End, The Amazing Colossal Man, Attack of the Puppet People, and Earth vs. The Spider.
Patterson played recurring or different roles in adult/family TV Westerns, including the role of Hank Miller in 33 episodes of Gunsmoke from 1962 through 1973, on Have Gun-Will Travel (11 episodes), Death Valley Days (nine episodes), Tales of Wells Fargo (seven episodes),Maverick (four episodes), Cheyenne (four episodes), Wagon Train (three episodes), Daniel Boone (three episodes), The Virginian (two episodes), The Rifleman, Bonanza, and in episodes of Lawman, Bat Masterson (sometimes in a recurring role as former Confederate soldier Soda Smith), The Restless Gun, and many others. In 1959, Patterson appeared as a sodbuster in an uncredited role on Lawman ("The Young Toughs").
He made additional TV appearances, including in three episodes of The Twilight Zone as well as Perry Mason, Burke's Law, The Untouchables, Judd for the Defense, My Three Sons, and in later years The Mod Squad, Love, American Style, and Highway Patrol.

Green Acres
In 1963, Patterson first appeared in what became a recurring role as farmer Fred Ziffel on the popular CBS rural comedy Petticoat Junction. In 1965, CBS debuted another rural comedy, Green Acres. Both series were set in the mythical farming community of Hooterville, with characters from Petticoat Junction often also appearing in Green Acres, including Patterson's Fred Ziffel character. On the popular, irreverent Green Acres, Patterson earned his greatest fame. In 1965 and 1966—two of the years in which the two series ran concurrently—Patterson frequently appeared in both shows in the same week in prime time.
The association of Patterson's character with the popular character Arnold, the pet pig that Fred and his wife Doris treated as a son, ensured Patterson a place in TV history. Arnold attended school and watched TV, and was a talented artist, piano player, and actor. He even "talked" (snorted, grunted, and squealed) in a language that everyone in Hooterville seemed to understand except Oliver Wendell Douglas (Green Acres co-star Eddie Albert).
According to westernclippings.com "Characters and Heavies" by Boyd Magers, "Ironically, by the time Patterson was doing Green Acres, he was in his late 70s and almost completely deaf, but the producers loved his portrayal so much they worked around his hearing impairment by having the dialogue coach lying on the floor out-of-shot tapping Hank's leg with a yardstick as a cue to speak his line."

Personal life
Hank Patterson was married to Daisy Marguerite (Sheeler) Patterson, a Kentucky native four years younger than Hank whose parents were both of German ancestry. They are listed together in the U.S. Census for both 1930 and 1940 as residing in Los Angeles. In the 1940 census, Hank's occupation is listed as "Actor, Motion Picture Studio & Stage."
Patterson's great-grandfather, James Pearson, was an original settler of St. Clair County, Alabama, as was his mother's great-grandfather, Thomas Newton. His great-grandfather, Henry S. Patterson, moved to Blount County, Alabama, around 1857 from Murray County, Georgia. Between 1894 and 1897, the family left Alabama to live in Texas.
Hank Patterson died at age 86 on August 23, 1975 of bronchial pneumonia. He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood. Daisy died, also at age 86, on February 2, 1979.
Patterson's great-niece is actress Téa Leoni.

Selected filmography

Selected Television


External links

Hank Patterson at IMDb

Biography from Wikipedia (see original) under licence CC BY-SA 3.0


Geographical origins

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