Born Ralph Bowman on May 8, 1915, in Osceola, Nebraska, actor John Archer grew up in the Los Angeles area in the 1920s. After graduating from high school, he majored in cinematography at USC, but upon graduation he found work difficult to come by and, on a lark, decided on an acting career instead. After a few parts in films, he entered RKO's "Gateway to Hollywood" radio contest in 1938 and won a contract with RKO. The studio gave him the stage name "John Archer," which he kept for the remainder of his career. At RKO, he acted in the drama Career (1939; with Anne Shirley and Leon Errol) and the comedy Curtain Call (1940; with Frank Faylen) before the studio dropped his contract. Archer then went to Monogram pictures, where he found bigger roles. In December 1941, he married actress Marjorie Lord, who is now best known for her role on The Danny Thomas Show.

In 1942, Archer signed a contract with 20th Century Fox, but his film career at the studio consisted of supporting parts rather than starring roles. During wartime days he also found a lot of work in radio, both as an announcer and actor. His greatest role on radio was as the title character in The Shadow, in which he acted for about a year. In a bid to better his film career, Archer turned his sights to Broadway, as did his wife. Between 1944 and 1951, he acted in a number of plays, but none was a hit. While in New York, he also acted on early television programs such as Your Show Time, beginning in March 1949. When he returned to Hollywood, Archer did a brief stint at Universal, but afterward he freelanced for the remainder of his career. On a personal note, Archer and first wife Marjorie Lord parted ways in 1953 after twelve years of marriage and two children, one of whom is actress Anne Archer. He remarried in 1956, this time to radio actress Ann Leddy, with whom he had another son and daughter.

the films of john archer

Flaming Frontiers (1938)

Eleanor Hansen and John Archer

With Eleanor Hansen in the Universal western serial Flaming Frontiers

King of the Zombies (1941)

Mantan Moreland and John Archer

From Monogram's horror/comedy King of the Zombies

Colorado Territory (1949)

James Mitchell, John Archer, and Joel McCreaJames Mitchell, John Archer, and Joel McCrea

LEFT: With James Mitchell and Joel McCrea in the Warner Bros. western Colorado Territory. RIGHT: With James Mitchell, Joel McCrea, and Virginia Mayo

Destination Moon (1950)

John Archer

From the George Pal science fiction adventure Destination Moon

The Great Jewel Robber (1950)

John Archer and Marjorie Reynolds

With Marjorie Reynolds in the Warner Bros. film noir thriller The Great Jewel Robber

Rodeo (1952)

Jane Nigh and John Archer

With Jane Nigh in the Monogram romance Rodeo

Dragon's Gold (1954)

Hillary Brooke and John Archer

With Hillary Brooke in the low-budget crime drama Dragon's Gold

No Man's Woman (1955)

John Archer and Marie Windsor

With Marie Windsor in Republic's crime drama No Man's Woman

Emergency Hospital (1956)

John Archer

From the low-budget drama Emergency Hospital

Affair in Reno (1957)

Alan Hale Jr., John Archer, and Harry Bartell

With Alan Hale Jr. and Harry Bartell in the Republic noir comedy Affair in Reno

She Devil (1957)

John Archer and Mari Blanchard

From the campy horror flick She Devil with Mari Blanchard

Perry Mason (1957-1966 TV Series)

Hillary Brooke and John Archer

With Hillary Brooke in an episode of the CBS TV series Perry Mason titled The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece. This was the second episode of the series, airing on September 28, 1957

City of Fear (1959)

Patricia Blair and John Archer

Archer questions Patricia Blair in the Columbia film noir thriller City of Fear

later years

As John Archer moved into his 50s, his film career dwindled to practically nothing, but he found quite a bit of work on popular television series, including Perry Mason, Batman, and Bonanza. Needing to find another line of work, he began a trucking business in the late 1960s which proved successful, although Archer still accepted occasional acting roles through the mid 1980s. John Archer passed away after a bout with lung cancer on December 3, 1999, at the age of 84. He was survived by his second wife, Ann, and his two daughters and two sons.

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The Little Sister (1985) with John Savage and Tracy Pollan
Amelia Earhart (1976) with Susan Clark, John Forsythe, Jane Wyatt, Kip Niven, and Lance Kerwin
Thursday's Game (1974) with Gene Wilder, Bob Newhart, Ellen Burstyn, Cloris Leachman, Martha Scott, Nancy Walker, Valerie Harper, Rob Reiner, and Norman Fell
Class of '55 (1972) with Alan Alda, Gary Conway, Jamie Farr, and Louise Lasser
How to Frame a Figg (1971) with Don Knotts, Joe Flynn, Edward Andrews, Elaine Joyce, and Yvonne Craig
I Saw What You Did (1965) with Joan Crawford, John Ireland, Leif Erickson, Patricia Breslin, and Joyce Meadows
Apache Rifles (1964) with Audie Murphy and L.Q. Jones
Blue Hawaii (1961) with Elvis Presley, Joan Blackman, Angela Lansbury, and Steve Brodie
City of Fear (1959) with Vince Edwards and Lyle Talbot
Decision at Sundown (1957) with Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, Noah Beery, and Andrew Duggan
She Devil (1957) with Mari Blanchard, Jack Kelly, Albert Dekker, and X Brands
Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957) with Dean Martin, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Eva Bartok, Dewey Martin, Walter Slezak, Paul Henreid, Lisa Gaye, Dean Jones, and Monique van Vooren
Affair in Reno (1957) with Doris Singleton, Angela Greene, Alan Hale Jr., and Richard Deacon
Emergency Hospital (1956) with Walter Reed, Margaret Lindsay, Byron Palmer, and Rhodes Reason
Rock Around the Clock (1956) with Alan Freed, Alix Talton, and Lisa Gaye
No Man's Woman (1955) with Marie Windsor, Patric Knowles, Nancy Gates, Jil Jarmyn, Richard Crane, and Morris Ankrum
Dragon's Gold (1954) with Hillary Brooke
The Stars Are Singing (1953) with Rosemary Clooney, Anna Maria Alberghetti, and Fred Clark
Sea Tiger (1952) with Marguerite Chapman, Mara Corday, and Lyle Talbot
Sound Off (1952) with Mickey Rooney
A Yank in Indo-China (1952) with Harold Fong
Rodeo (1952) with Jane Nigh, Wallace Ford, Frank Ferguson, Myron Healey, and Fuzzy Knight
The Big Trees (1952) with Kirk Douglas, Eve Miller, Patrice Wymore, Edgar Buchanan, Alan Hale Jr., and Roy Roberts
My Favorite Spy (1951) with Bob Hope, Hedy Lamarr, Morris Ankrum, Angela Clarke, and Frank Faylen
Best of the Badmen (1951) with Robert Ryan , Claire Trevor, Jack Buetel, Robert Preston, Walter Brennan, Bruce Cabot, Lawrence Tierney, Barton MacLane, and Tom Tyler
Santa Fe (1951) with Randolph Scott, Janis Carter, Jerome Courtland, Roy Roberts, and Jock Mahoney
High Lonesome (1950) with John Drew Barrymore, Chill Wills, and Jack Elam
The Great Jewel Robber (1950) with David Brian, Marjorie Reynolds, and Alix Talton
Destination Moon (1950) with Warner Anderson, Tom Powers, Dick Wesson, and Erin O'Brien-Moore
White Heat (1949) with James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, Steve Cochran, and Fred Clark
Colorado Territory (1949) with Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo, Dorothy Malone, Henry Hull, James Mitchell, and Morris Ankrum
The Lost Moment (1947) with Robert Cummings, Susan Hayward, and Agnes Moorehead
Roger Touhy, Gangster (1944) with Preston Foster, Victor McLaglen, Kent Taylor, Anthony Quinn, Harry Morgan, Reed Hadley, Kane Richmond, and Trudy Marshall
The Eve of St. Mark (1944) with Anne Baxter, Michael O'Shea, Vincent Price, Ray Collins, and Harry Morgan
Guadalcanal Diary (1943) with Preston Foster, Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix, Richard Conte, Anthony Quinn, Richard Jaeckel, Roy Roberts, Ralph Byrd, Lionel Stander, and Reed Hadley
Shantytown (1943) with Marjorie Lord, Billy Gilbert, and Anne Revere
Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943) with Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Marjorie Lord, and George Zucco
The Purple V (1943) with Walter Sande and Peter Lawford
Hello Frisco, Hello (1943) with Alice Faye, John Payne, Jack Oakie, Lynn Bari, Laird Cregar, June Havoc, and Ward Bond
Scattergood Survives a Murder (1942) with Guy Kibbee, Margaret Hayes, and Wallace Ford
Bowery at Midnight (1942) with Bela Lugosi, Wanda McKay, Tom Neal, and Dave O'Brien
Police Bullets (1942) with Joan Marsh, Milburn Stone, and Tristram Coffin
Hi, Neighbor (1942) with Jean Parker and Vera Vague
Mountain Moonlight (1941) with Kane Richmond
Paper Bullets (1941) with Joan Woodbury, Jack La Rue, and Alan Ladd
King of the Zombies (1941) with Dick Purcell, Joan Woodbury, and Mantan Moreland
City of Missing Girls (1941) with Gale Storm
Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) with Martha Scott, William Gargan, Edmund Gwenn, and Sterling Holloway
Scattergood Baines (1941) with Guy Kibbee, Carol Hughes, and Willie Best
Barnyard Follies (1940) with Mary Lee, Rufe Davis, Joan Woodbury, and Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer
Curtain Call (1940) with Alan Mowbray and Frank Faylen
Career (1939) with Anne Shirley, Leon Errol, Raymond Hatton, and Charles Drake
Overland Stage Raiders (1938) with John Wayne, Ray 'Crash' Corrigan, Max Terhune, Louise Brooks, and Arch Hall Sr.
Flaming Frontiers (1938) with Johnny Mack Brown

Columbo, episode Requiem for a Falling Star, originally aired January 21, 1973
Ironside, episode From Hrę²”ska, with Love, originally aired January 21, 1971
Bracken's World, episode Together Again, for the Last Time, originally aired October 9, 1970
The Name of the Game, episode The Garden, originally aired January 30, 1970
Ironside, episode A Bullet for Mark, originally aired October 16, 1969
The Outsider, episode Service for One, originally aired April 16, 1969
Mannix, episode The Solid Gold Web, originally aired March 22, 1969
Bonanza, episode A World Full of Cannibals, originally aired December 22, 1968
Lassie, episode Hanford's Point: Part 3, originally aired March 24, 1968
Bonanza, episode The Crime of Johnny Mule, originally aired February 25, 1968
Lassie, episode A Time of Decision, originally aired October 29, 1967
Lassie, episode The Homeless, originally aired October 22, 1967
Lassie, episode Brink of Oblivion, originally aired October 15, 1967
Batman, episode Ice Spy, originally aired March 29, 1967
The Virginian, episode Girl on the Glass Mountain, originally aired December 28, 1966
The Virginian, episode Beloved Outlaw, originally aired November 23, 1966
Bonanza, episode Ballad of the Ponderosa, originally aired November 13, 1966
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Candy Queen, originally aired September 26, 1965
Bonanza, episode The Dilemma, originally aired September 19, 1965
McHale's Navy, episode Fuji's Big Romance, originally aired December 19, 1964
This Is the Life, episode Out of Bondage, originally aired September 20, 1964
Hazel, episode The Reluctant Witness, originally aired February 13, 1964
Temple Houston, episode The Guardian, originally aired January 2, 1964
Wagon Train, episode The Sandra Cummings Story, originally aired December 2, 1963
Hazel, episode Hazel Scores a Touchdown, originally aired October 31, 1963
Hawaiian Eye, episode Boar Hunt, originally aired February 5, 1963
Bonanza, episode The Last Haircut, originally aired February 3, 1963
77 Sunset Strip, episode The Raiders, originally aired November 2, 1962
Hazel, episode Hazel's Cousin, originally aired September 20, 1962
Tales of Wells Fargo, episode Who Lives by the Gun, originally aired March 24, 1962
Bonanza, episode The Jackknife, originally aired February 18, 1962
Surfside 6, episode The Artful Deceit, originally aired January 22, 1962
77 Sunset Strip, episode The Cold Cash Caper, originally aired November 10, 1961
Lassie, episode Timmy and the Martians, originally aired May 28, 1961
Twilight Zone, episode Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?, originally aired May 26, 1961
Maverick, episode The Devil's Necklace: Parts 1 and 2, originally aired April 16 and 23, 1961
Coronado, episode Three's a Shroud, originally aired March 14, 1961
Surfside 6, episode Race Against Time, originally aired February 13, 1961
Tales of Wells Fargo, episode That Washburn Girl, originally aired February 13, 1961
The Tall Man, episode The Reversed Blade, originally aired February 4, 1961
Wagon Train, episode The Prairie Story, originally aired February 1, 1961
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Red Riding Boots, originally aired December 10, 1960
Sea Hunt, episode Synthetic Hero, originally aired May 21, 1960
Tales of Wells Fargo, episode The Outlaw's Wife, originally aired March 28, 1960
Lock Up, episode Murder Is a Gamble, originally aired March 26, 1960
Cheyenne, episode Home Is the Brave, originally aired March 14, 1960
Colt .45, episode Phantom Trail, originally aired March 13, 1960
Riverboat, episode The Fight at New Canal, originally aired February 22, 1960
The Man and the Challenge, episode Recovery, originally aired February 20, 1960
The Ann Sothern Show, episode Olive's Dream Man, originally aired February 15, 1960
Philip Marlowe, episode A Standard for Murder, originally aired January 12, 1960
The Man and the Challenge, episode Killer River, originally aired January 9, 1960
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Lucky Legs, originally aired December 19, 1959
M Squad, episode Another Face, Another Life, originally aired November 27, 1959
Laramie, episode The Run to Tumavaca, originally aired November 10, 1959
This Man Dawson, episode The Assassin, originally aired October 22, 1959
Bat Masterson, episode Wanted: Dead, originally aired October 15, 1959
How to Marry a Millionaire, episode A Husband for Julia, originally aired August 20, 1959
Mike Hammer, episode Doll Trouble, originally aired July 31, 1959
State Trooper, episode Pistols for Two, originally aired May 7, 1959
Rescue 8, episode Forty Five Fathoms, Dead or Alive, originally aired March 3, 1959
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Sardonic Sergeant, originally aired October 11, 1958
The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, episode The Bachelor, originally aired April 16, 1958
Broken Arrow, episode War Trail, originally aired April 8, 1958
The Californians, episode J. Jimmerson Jones, Inc., originally aired April 1, 1958
The Bob Cummings Show, episode Bob Goes to the Moon, originally aired April 1, 1958
The Bob Cummings Show, episode Bob Goes Birdwatching, originally aired March 25, 1958
The Frank Sinatra Show, episode A Time to Cry, originally aired February 21, 1958
Zane Grey Theater, episode The Freighter, originally aired January 17, 1958
Navy Log, episode The Amateurs, originally aired December 5, 1957
The Californians, episode Little Lost Man, originally aired December 3, 1957
The Bob Cummings Show, episode Bob Meets Bill Lear, originally aired November 19, 1957
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece, originally aired September 28, 1957
The George Sanders Mystery Theater, episode And the Birds Still Sing, originally aired June 29, 1957
Code 3, episode Gold in an Old Tin Can, originally aired June 4, 1957
Cheyenne, episode Test of Courage, originally aired January 29, 1957
The Gale Storm Show, episode A Night in Monte Carlo, originally aired December 15, 1956
Private Secretary, episode How to Handle a Boss, originally aired October 28, 1956
Screen Directors Playhouse, episode Apples on the Lilac Tree, originally aired July 25, 1956
Science Fiction Theatre, episode The Phantom Car, originally aired July 20, 1956
TV Reader's Digest, episode Uncle Sam's C Men, originally aired April 23, 1956
TV Reader's Digest, episode Night Court, originally aired March 12, 1956
Navy Log, episode Dr. Van, originally aired January 10, 1956
Crossroads, episode Shadow of God, originally aired October 7, 1955
Navy Log, episode Hiya Pam, originally aired September 27, 1955
Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre, episode Gusher City, originally aired September 6, 1955
Schlitz Playhouse, episode The Direct Approach, originally aired July 28, 1955
Science Fiction Theatre, episode 100 Years Young, originally aired July 22, 1955
Stories of the Century, episode L.H. Musgrove, originally aired March 11, 1955
The Loretta Young Show, episode The Case of Mrs. Bannister, originally aired February 6, 1955
The Millionaire, episode The Amy Moore Story, originally aired January 19, 1955
The Loretta Young Show, episode On Your Honor, Your Honor, originally aired October 17, 1954
Armstrong Circle Theatre, episode Run to the Magic, originally aired February 16, 1954
Suspense, episode The Haunted, originally aired January 19, 1954
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Life, Liberty and Orrin Dooley, originally aired October 2, 1952
The Unexpected, episode The Man from Yesterday, originally aired March 19, 1952
Armstrong Circle Theatre, episode Silver Service, originally aired January 23, 1951
Fireside Theatre, episode Dinner for Three/The Devil's Due, originally aired June 13, 1950
The Silver Theatre, episode Bad Guy, originally aired April 24, 1950
Your Show Time, episode A Confession on New Year's Eve, originally aired April 22, 1949
Your Show Time, episode The Real Thing, originally aired March 11, 1949

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Watch John Archer in the 1950 Eagle-Lion western High Lonesome

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This page premiered December 13, 2010.