Dan White (actor)

Dan White in 1948.

Dan White (March 25, 1908 – July 7, 1980) was an American actor, well known for appearing in Western films and TV shows.


Early life

Dan White was born to George and Orpha White in Falmouth, Florida, one of twelve siblings. The Whites moved to Lakeland during World War I. By age 14, White was in show business. He left home to travel thousands of miles throughout the South in tent, minstrel, vaudeville and theater shows. His brother Willard joined him for nine years in a show in Tampa's Rialto Theater. Frances Langford worked with White during the time, and he convinced her to go to Hollywood. During this period, he met Tilda Spivey and proposed marriage on February 25, 1933. She had a 2-year-old child, Arthur Gifford, before her wedding. Dan left show business for financial reasons to work with the Civilian Conservation Corps. He still longed for a career in entertainment and took a cruise to Los Angeles. He and his family made extra stops at cities all over the country to earn money to continue the tour.

In January 1937, he stopped at Texarkana, Arkansas, where Tilda awaited the birth of their child. Her sister, Mary, who was in Texarkana, invited the Whites to stay there for a few months. The baby, June Larue White, was finally born, and the Whites continued toward California.

In Hollywood

They arrived 16 days later and rented a house for 23 years, even film scripts were written in their own living room. Dan had a hard time finding a job and was in Panama working on the Pan American Highway. Although, upon return in 1938, he got work with the Republic Pictures Corporation, making 6 films in his first year. The first film was, Prairie Moon, with Gene Autry. White made $55 a week during that picture. He'd claimed to have made about 300 films and 150 television cameos during his years in Hollywood. Around 70 percent were Westerns. Among some of his well-known films were, The Yearling, Distant Drums, Red River, To Kill a Mockingbird, Giant, Duel in the Sun, Four Faces West, Jailhouse Rock and Touch of Evil. During this time, White and his wife had a third child, Donald Curtis White, born on November 9, 1941. The films that made White most famous were his numerous appearances in B-Westerns, where he portrayed the antagonist. During the 1950s and 1960s, he started turning to television. He was offered the role of, "Sam the Bartender," in, Gunsmoke, but he didn't commit to the idea. He asked Glenn Strange to apply for the job.


Dan loved California for the almost 40 years he was there, but his true love was his old town in Florida. Upon retirement, he returned to Tampa and made appearances in Western Film Round-Ups and talk shows. He was often visited by his family until his death on July 7, 1980, in Tampa, Florida.


Note: An asterisk (*) means that Dan White had an uncredited role; two asterisks means that he was credited as either Daniel White or Daniel M. White.


External links

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