JOE DON BAKER Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » joe don baker


Name: Joe Don Baker                                                                   
Born: 12 February 1936 Groesbeck, Texas, U.S.                                         
Joe Don Baker (born February 12, 1936) is an American film actor, perhaps best         
known for his role as real-life Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser in the American       
film classic Walking Tall.                                                             
Baker was born in Groesbeck, Texas, the son of Edna (née McDonald) and Doyle         
Charles Baker. He got his start in acting as an uncredited character in the           
1967 film Cool Hand Luke, but his real beginnings came when he scored the role         
of Steve McQueen's younger brother in the film Junior Bonner, directed by Sam         
Peckinpah. He later starred as the main character in the hugely successful 1973       
film Walking Tall, directed by legendary filmmaker Phil Karlson (Baker also           
starred in the auteur's final film, "Framed", two years later). Baker was             
offered a cameo in the remake (which had nothing to do with Sheriff Pusser) and       
declined the offer.                                                                   
Perhaps it is his work in director Don Siegel's (Invasion of the Body Snatchers,       
Madigan, Dirty Harry) 1973 minor-masterpiece Charley Varrick, that remains Baker's     
most critical success. Baker was praised for his courageous and offbeat portrait       
of the sadistic hitman Molly. The film starred Walter Matthau as the eponymous         
Charley Varrick, and won a British Academy Award.                                     
Although lampooned on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 television series:             
Mitchell and Final Justice, Baker has performances in a career spanning four           
decades. In 1980 Baker became the first actor to receive $1,000,000 to star in a       
television series--the short lived police drama Eischeid where he played Chief         
Earl Eischeid. In 1985 he portrayed the corrupt key villain Chief Jerry Karlin         
in the Chevy Chase hit Fletch. In the UK, Baker is probably best known as CIA         
agent Darius Jedburgh from the drama serial Edge of Darkness.                         
While actor Carroll O'Connor was undergoing heart bypass surgery, Baker took his       
place on the television series In the Heat of the Night. Baker appeared as             
Captain Tom Duggan, a retired police captain who filled in while O'Connor's           
character was away at a police convention.