Monday, December 7, 2009

RIP Warren Vanders

Warren Vanders

Character actor in many westerns

Warren Vanderschuit, 79, a character actor who appeared in the John Wayne film "Rooster Cogburn" and dozens of TV westerns and who had an impressive athletic career as a young man in Los Angeles, died Nov. 27 at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena after battling lung cancer, his family said.

Using the stage name Warren Vanders and often playing villains, he had numerous roles in TV westerns, including "Empire" (as Chuck Davis), "The Big Valley," "Bonanza," "Daniel Boone," "Alias Smith and Jones," "Gunsmoke," "Kung Fu," "Nevada Smith" and "How the West Was Won," as well as the big-screen western "Hot Lead and Cold Feet" and others.

Born Warren John Vanderschuit in San Fernando on May 23, 1930, he served in the Navy during the Korean War and boxed for Navy teams. After the war he continued boxing in the Golden Gloves program, capturing the 1954 Southern California light-heavyweight title in a tournament at the Hollywood Legion Stadium sponsored by The Times.

He also was a standout quarterback for what was then Pepperdine College from 1954 to 1956. Meanwhile, he was studying drama, and when injuries ended his football prospects he turned to acting in film, TV and on stage, as well as to teaching in local schools.

VANDERS, Warren (Warren John Vanderschuit)
Born: 5/23/1930, San Fernando, California, U.S.A.
Died: 11/27/2009, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.

Warren Vanders' westerns - actor:
Bronco (TV) - 1959 (guard)
Tate (TV) - 1960 (Mannen Towey)
Stagecoach West (TV) - 1960 (guard)
Two Faces West (TV) - 1961 (Tom Borden)
Empire (TV) - 1962 (Chuck Davis)
Gunsmoke (TV) - 1962, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973 (Pete, Wat, John Thenly, Boles, Reb, Lefty, Densen Williams, Bo Harper, Ridge Sadler, Bones Cunningham, Otis Miller)
Destry (TV) - 1964 (Lonzo Motley)
The Legend of Jesse James (TV) - 1965 (Jim Dancer)
Bonanza (TV) - 1965, 1966, 1968, 1971, (Tuck, Hake, Buzz, Deputy Cal)
The Road West (TV) - 1967 (Lew)
Rough Night in Jericho - 1967 (Harvey)
The Iron Horse (TV) - 1966, 1967 (Lou, Willard)
Cimarron Strip (TV) - 1967 (Ham Kaylot, Thatch)
The Big Valley (TV) - 1968 (Parker Atlas, Charlie Slim)
Daniel Boone (TV) - 1969 (Ben)
The Price of Power - 1969 (Arthur McDonald)
Nichols (TV) - 1972
The Revengers - 1972 (Tarp)
Alias Smith and JOnes (TV) - 1972 (Curly Red Johnson)
Kung Fu (TV) - 1973, 1974 (Sgt. Bedford, Clifford Tate)
The Last Day (TV) - 1975 (Docken)
Nevada Smith (TV) - 1975 (Red Fickett)
Rooster Cogburn (TV) - 1975 (Bagby)
Little House on the Prairie (TV) - 1977 (Harold Mayfield)
How the West Was Won (TV) - 1978 (Brant)
Hot Lead and Cold Feet - 1978 (Boss Snead)


  1. Thanks for recognizing my father's great contribution to westerns. He will be missed. -Blaine Vanderschuit, 12/17/2009

  2. Hi Blaine, my condolences on the passing of your father. I had been aware of him for years as a western actor. He was always very believable in the parts he was given. He had the face and the he put effort into each role to make his character come alive. RIP

  3. Mr. Vanderschuit (Vanders) taught me in English class at Whittier High School, Whittier, CA in the late 1960's. He told us about his acting career; Bonanza, Daniel Boone, etc. He was an intelligent man and a down to earth individual who earned the respect of every student he taught. He was also a good actor and gave students at Whittier High School pride in everything he did! RIP, Mr. Vanderschuit

  4. Thanks for the remarks Mark. I often wanted to contact Vanders for an interview and knew he was an L.A. school teacher but didn't know he was using the name Vanderschuit. Best, Tom

  5. I have very fond memories of Warren Vanders, He taught Drama at Montebello High School in 1958-59. I was one of his students & learned a great deal from him. I also use to babysit for his kids when he & his then wife went out. Later on as I was pursing my career in acting I attended scene study classes that he was teaching. He was a very good teacher & a great friend. I attended his memorial services in 2009. He is sorely missed. Phyllis Harlow