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As a former offensive lineman for the National Football League team the Philadelphia Eagles, actor Walter Barnes was well-suited to play rugged action roles. Over the course of his more than 30-year career, he appeared in scores of Westerns, crime dramas, war stories, and the like. His first acting role came in 1956, when he appeared on the program "State Trooper," a crime drama set in the American West. That same year, he made his first appearance on the TV Western "Cheyenne," a show that helped boost the careers of many successful actors, including Dennis Hopper, Angie Dickinson, and Ron Howard. He would go on to appear on the program four more times over two years. In 1959, he appeared in the Kirk Douglas-produced adventure show "Tales of the Vikings." After filming the series in the German Alps, he decided to remain there. In 1960, he began to appear in European productions, starting with the Duilio Coletti-directed war film "Under Ten Flags," about the British attempting to sink a warship. He returned to the United States in 1969 and made his first of four appearances on the popular Western "Bonanza." In 1981, he was a cast regular, playing police chief Carl Pusser, on "Walking Tall," a TV series based on the film of the same name. His last on-screen appearance came in 1987, but he continued to provide voiceovers for several more productions until 1991, when he retired due to failing health from diabetes.
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