Dennis Weaver, athlete, Navy pilot, actor, humanitarian and passionate environmentalist, leaves behind a long legacy of helping people and helping the planet. Dennis dedicated 175 acres with spectacular Rocky Mountain vistas for a wildlife preserve and recreation area along the Uncompahgre River. Today that land incorporates RiverSage, an eco-friendly real estate development surrounded by 130 acres of green open space and the spectacular, 60-acre Dennis Weaver Memorial Park, in Ridgway, Colorado, honoring his memory and many accomplishments.
Dennis grew up on a Missouri farm during the Depression. He served as a Navy Pilot during WWII, then returned to college, graduating with a degree in fine arts in theater from the University of Oklahoma. In 1945, he married his childhood sweetheart, Gerry Stowell; they had three sons: Rick, Rob, and Rusty. Dennis was also a fine athlete. in 1948, Dennis was a decathlon finalist in the United States Olympic trials.
From his earliest years, Dennis had always wanted to be an actor. He made his acting debut on Broadway which led to a contract with Universal Studios in Hollywood, where Dennis played various characters, mostly in westerns. His big break came when he was chosen for the role of Chester Goode in “Gunsmoke,” which ran for nine years, and for which Dennis won an Emmy. He later played the sexy McCloud in a television series (of the same name) which ran seven years and earned him two Emmy nominations.
Dennis was involved in television and motion picture industries for many years, playing leading roles in 40 movies, starring in several successful TV series, and directing some of the episodes. He was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1973 to 1975, and has his star on the Hollywood Star Walk.
A talented musician and entertainer, Dennis released several country western albums. In his one-man Shakespearean show, he played 19 different characters. With his wife Gerry and singer/songwriter son Rusty, Dennis performed in a family comedy/variety stage show. He also wrote poetry and published the autobiographical. “All the World’s a Stage.” Dennis Weaver passed away in 2006.