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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 1,020

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This is the grave of Dabbs Greer.

Born in 1917 in Fairview, Missouri, Robert “Dabbs” Greer would be a classic example of That Guy. That means one of those actors that you’ve seen in a zillion things but can’t quite place the name. His family was middle class and moved soon after he was born to the larger town of Anderson. His father was a druggist and his mother a speech therapist, so hard to get more middle class than this. He got interested in acting as a kid and then went to college at Drury University in Springfield.

Soon after graduation in 1943, Greer moved to Los Angeles. Not sure if there was some military time in there. But he was interested in the films pretty early. When the 1938 film Jesse James was shot near his home town, Greer worked as an extra. That really hooked him. Now, as That Guy in the 1950s and 1960s, it meant a lot of TV guest spots. Tons of them. He was in the first episode of Adventures of Superman, as a man saved by Superman, which of course made him the first of many actors our favorite superhero would save. He appeared twice more on the show over the years. He was upwards of 200 different shows over the years. Probably his most noted television run was his 42 episodes of Gunsmoke. Really, it’s hard to write about Greer without just listing his one or two or five off TV appearances, which included Perry Mason, The Ghost and Mr. Muir, The Twilight Zone, Johnny Ringo, and lots of other questionable western shows. He got the job as the reverend on Little House on the Prairie in 1974 and was on the show at times all the way through its run that ended in 1983.

In later life, he got some choice film roles too, including in Con Air and The Green Mile. But he had appeared in many movies over the years as well, including the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers in 1956. Greer died in 2007, at the age of 90. There really isn’t that much more to say about Greer. But it’s important to recognize the key character actors that make film and TV work, even if you recognize the face and that’s about it.

Dabbs Greer is buried in Peace Valley Cemetery, Anderson, Missouri.

If you would like this series to visit other character actors, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Vincent Schiavelli, who really was the ultimate That Guy, is actually in Palermo, Sicily, even though he was as Brooklyn as they come when he was alive. Agnes Moorhead is in Dayton, Ohio. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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