Brown - Dark
Dobbs Ferry, New York, USA
Place of Death
Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of Death
Profile Bio Text
Paul Fix, the well-known movie and TV character actor who played Sheriff Michah Torrance on the TV series `The Rifleman,` was born Peter Paul Fix on March 9, 1901 in Dobbs Ferry, New York to brew-master Wilhelm Fix and his wife, the former Louise C. Walz. His mother and father were German immigrants who had left their Black Forest home and arrived in New York City in the 1870s. (The name `Fix` is of Latin/Germanic origin, and is derived from St. Vitus and means `animated` or `vital.`)
Besides Peter Paul, the Fix family consisted of two girls and three boys, the youngest of whom was six years older than the future actor. Peter Paul`s childhood was a happy one. He and his family lived on the 200-acre property on which the Manilla Anchor Brewery, where his father was brew-master, was situated. Such was the importance of Fix to the brewery that when he died at the age of 62 on the eve of America`s entry into the First World War (two years after his 54-year old wife had died), the brewery closed.
The orphaned Peter Paul, who kept to himself a lot and had a vivid imagination, was sent to live with his married sisters, first one who lived nearby in Yonkers, and then to another in Zanesville, Ohio. The just-turned-17-year-old Peter Paul Fix joined the U.S. Navy on March 12, 1918, and spent his state-side service time during World War I in Newport, Rhode Island and Charleston, South Carolina. He first tread the boards as an actor while a sailor stationed in Newport, when the baby-faced salt (who looked much younger than his age) was one of six gobs chosen to play female roles in the Navy Relief Show `HMS Pinafore.` The Navy staging of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta was a big hit and chalked up a run of several weeks in Providence and Boston.
Fix was assigned as an able bodied seaman to the troopship U.S.S. Mount Vernon, which was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of France but did not sink as it was run aground. The rest of Fix`s naval career was less exciting, and he was demobilized on September 5, 1919. After his discharge, Fix went back to his girlfriend Frances (Taddy) Harvey, whom he had left behind in Zanesville. He and Taddy were married in 1922 and they moved to California as Fix had always wanted to live in a warm climate.
Fix and his bride settled in Hollywood, not so much because he had set ideas about becoming an actor but because he didn`t know what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He liked writing and acting in local plays, and soon became friends with the fellow tyro actor Clark Gable, who was his own age. Fix and Gable were discovered by the stage actress Pauline Frederick, who hired them to be members of her touring troupe that traveled by train the length of the West Coast putting on plays. In all, Fix - who had informally renamed himself Paul Peter - appeared in 20 plays with Gable.
Paul Fix had one of his earliest acting roles on celluloid in the mid-1920s, appearing in a silent Western starring William S. Hart. The Western genre eventually would become the one he was most identified with. He played uncredited bit parts and small roles in silents before getting his first credited role in an early talkie (which was part silent and part talking), `The First Kiss` (1928), which starred future Hollywood superstar Gary Cooper and the dame that drove King Kong ape, Fay Wray. In all, Fix appeared in 300-400 films. The Western programmers of the silent and early talkie days could be shot in less than a week.
In 1925, Taddy gave birth to their daughter Marilyn, who eventually would marry Harry Carey Jr., the son of one of the first great Western superstars. They would have three more children and become part of the extended family gathered around the director John Ford.
In his career, Paul Fix would appear with another Western legend, John Wayne, in 26 films, starting in 1931 with `Three Girls Lost.` Urged on by Loretta Young, Fix became an acting coach for the young actor, and Wayne later paid him back when he became a star by having Fix appear in his movies. (The Duke also was a pat of the close-knit group that collected around John Ford.) With the Duke`s patronage, the kinds of roles that Fix played changed. He had been typed as villains in the 1930s, but in the 40s, he began assaying a better class of character.
Paul Fix was also a screenwriter, and is credited as the writer on three films: `Tall in the Saddle` (1944), `Ring of Fear` (1954), and `The Notorious Mr. Monks` (1958). His favorites parts included playing the stricken passenger in the John Wayne picture `The High and the Mighty` (1954), Elizabeth Taylor`s father in George Stevens` classic `Giant` (1956), the grandfather of the eponymous `Bad Seed` (1956), and the judge in `To Kill a Mockingbird` (1962). His last screen appearance was in the Brooke Shields movie `Wanda Nevada` (1979), but he is most famous for appearing in the recurring role of Sheriff Micah Torrance in the popular Western TV seri
Couple Profile Source
Full Name at Birth
Peter Paul Fix
Peter Paul Fix (March 13, 1901 – October 14, 1983) was an American film and television character actor, best known for his work in Westerns. Fix appeared in more than a hundred movies and dozens of television shows over a 56-year career spanning from 1925 to 1981. In the 1950s, Fix was best known for portraying Marshal Micah Torrance alongside Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford in The Rifleman. Fix later appeared with Chuck Connors in the 1966 western film Ride Beyond Vengeance.
Claim to Fame
The Rifleman (1958)
Has Detailed Data (New)
Wiki Bio Text
Active - 1928 - 1979 | Born - Mar 13, 1901 in Dobbs Ferry, NY | Died - Oct 14, 1983 in California | Genres - Western, Drama, Crime, Action, Mystery
Biography by Hal Erickson
The son of a brewery owner, steely-eyed American character actor Paul Fix went the vaudeville and stock-company route before settling in Hollywood in 1926. During the 1930s and 1940s he appeared prolifically in varied fleeting roles: a transvestite jewel thief in the Our Gang two-reeler Free Eats (1932), a lascivious zookeeper (appropriately named Heinie) in Zoo in Budapest (1933), a humorless gangster who puts Bob Hope "on the spot" in The Ghost Breakers (1940), and a bespectacled ex-convict who muscles his way into Berlin in Hitler: Dead or Alive (1943), among others. During this period, Fix was most closely associated with westerns, essaying many a villainous (or at least untrustworthy) role at various "B"-picture mills. In the mid-1930s, Fix befriended young John Wayne and helped coach the star-to-be in the whys and wherefores of effective screen acting. Fix ended up appearing in 27 films with "The Duke," among them Pittsburgh (1942), The Fighting Seabees (1943), Tall in the Saddle (1944), Back to Bataan (1945), Red River (1948) and The High and the Mighty (1954). Busy in TV during the 1950s, Fix often found himself softening his bad-guy image to portray crusty old gents with golden hearts-- characters not far removed from the real Fix, who by all reports was a 100% nice guy. His most familiar role was as the honest but often ineffectual sheriff Micah Torrance on the TV series The Rifleman. In the 1960s, Fix was frequently cast as sagacious backwoods judges and attorneys, as in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).
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