Denver Pyle Biography

(Actor and Director Known for His TV Series ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’)

Birthday: May 11, 1920 (Taurus)

Born In: Bethune, Colorado, United States

Denver Pyle was an American television and film actor popularly recognized as ‘Jesse Duke’ from the American action-comedy television series ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’, which aired on CBS between 1979 and 1985. He also played the character of ‘Briscoe Darling Jr.’ in the American situation comedy show ‘The Andy Griffith Show’. Denver Pyle initially wanted to be a drummer and during his college years he dropped out to pursue his passion. However, when things did not turn out as expected, he tried his luck in other things. He spent some time working on the oil fields in Oklahoma and in the shrimp boats in Texas. He later took a job as an NBC page and then enlisted in the navy and fought in the World War ll. He came back from the war with grave injuries and after recuperating for a long time, he eventually ended up in the acting field through a series of fortunate coincidences.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Denver Dell Pyle

Died At Age: 77


Spouse/Ex-: Marilee Carpenter (m. 1955–1970), Tippie Johnston (m. 1983–1997)

father: Ben H. Pyle

mother: Maude Pyle

siblings: Willis Pyle

Actors American Men

Height: 6'1" (185 cm), 6'1" Males

Died on: December 25, 1997

place of death: Burbank, California, United States

Diseases & Disabilities: Lung Cancer

Cause of Death: Lung Cancer

U.S. State: Colorado

Notable Alumni: Colorado State University

More Facts

education: Colorado State University

After returning from the war, Denver Pyle started working for an aircraft plant in Los Angeles as a riveter and appeared in an amateur theater production where he was spotted by a talent scout. He took training under renowned personalities like Maria Ouspenskaya and Michael Chekhov before entering the film industry. He made his debut with an uncredited role in the film ‘The Guilt of Janet Ames’ in 1947 and later in the year appeared in the film ‘Devil Ship’ as ‘Carl’.
Ouspenskaya and Michael Chekhov before entering the film industry. He made his debut with an uncredited role in the film ‘The Guilt of Janet Ames’ in 1947 and later in the year appeared in the film ‘Devil Ship’ as ‘Carl’.
He also appeared in ‘Ripcord’, ‘My Friend Flicka’, NBC’s western television series ‘The Restless Gun’, Richard Boone's ‘Have Gun – Will Travel’, ‘Pony Express’, ‘The Man from Blackhawk’, ‘Tombstone Territory’, ‘Channing’, ‘Mr. Novak’, ‘Gunsmoke’, ‘Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre’, and ‘Death Valley Days’.
Denver Pyle enjoyed massive popularity when he played the role of ‘Uncle Jesse Duke’ in the American action-comedy television series ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ between 1979 and 1985. He appeared in a total of 146 episodes in the series.
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Awards & Achievements
Denver Pyle was awarded a star in the Motion Pictures section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7083 Hollywood Boulevard, on December 12, 1997.
The Texas Senate honored Pyle and his wife for their philanthropic works with the Special Olympics and the Denver Pyle's Children's Charities.
Philanthropic Works
Apart from acting, Pyle did a lot of charitable works. He organized the Uncle Jesse's Fishing Tournament in Lamar County, Texas, from which he generated almost $160,000 to support different children’s programs there.
Personal Life
Denver Dell Pyle was born in Bethune, Kit Carson County, Colorado, on May 11, 1920. His father Ben H. Pyle was a farmer by profession and his mother’s name was Maude. Denver also had a brother named Willis Acton Pyle who worked for Walt Disney Animation Studios as well as United Productions of America.
He enrolled at the Colorado State University after completing his high school but didn’t complete his studies as he dropped out to try his luck in the show business. He was also a drummer and played in a band for a brief time and later joined the United States Navy when the US entered the World War II. He returned from war with terrible injuries.
Denver Pyle married Marilee Carpenter in 1955. She worked as a production assistant at 20th Century Fox. The couple had two sons, David, born in 1956, and Tony, born in 1957. The couple remained married until their divorce in 1970. They remained on cordial terms till his death.
After divorcing Marilee Carpenter, Denver married Tippie Johnston in 1983 and they remained together until his death.
On December 25, 1997, Denver Pyle died from lung cancer. The ensuing days saw memorial services being organized at First Baptist Church in Waxahachie, Texas, following his burial at the Forreston Cemetery in Forreston in Ellis County south of Waxahachie, Texas.

Denver Pyle Movies

1. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

  (Western, Action, Drama)

2. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

  (Drama, Crime, Action, Biography)

3. Johnny Guitar (1954)

  (Drama, Western)

4. Destination 60,000 (1957)


5. Legend of the Wild (1981)

  (Family, Adventure, Drama)

6. Shenandoah (1965)

  (War, Western, Drama)

7. To Hell and Back (1955)

  (Drama, War, Biography, Romance, Action)

8. Home from the Hill (1960)

  (Drama, Romance)

9. Guardian of the Wilderness (1976)

  (Western, Adventure)

10. Too Late for Tears (1949)

  (Thriller, Drama, Film-Noir, Crime, Mystery)

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