Tim Nutt: Are You Arkansavvy?

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 251 views 

FAYETTEVILLE — The last edition of "Are You Arkansavvy?" focused on movies that were filmed in Arkansas. This week we’ll look at actors from The Natural State. Their acting roles run the gamut from the Western to science fiction genres and have not only entertained generations of movie-goers, but have also garnered the actors a number of awards.

Take a view of this week’s edition of "Are You Arkansavvy?" and see how many names you recognize. If you answer enough of them correctly, you might get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1. This actress won an Academy Award for her role in the 1980 movie Melvin and Howard. In 1995, she married the former star of a popular sitcom. We wonder if she still sees Norm!

2. This El Dorado native is best known for his role as a “frightful” vampire slayer in two movies. 

3. This actress was a straight shooter in her role the Western series Annie Oakley.

4. This Hot Springs native portrayed a quiet gunfighter who defends homesteaders in a 1953 classic Western. Come back!

5. Giddy up. This Arkansas native played three separate roles in the 1903 movie The Great Train Robbery.

6. Twiki would be proud of this actor from Little Rock, whether it’s the 21st or 25th century.

7. The musical instrument the bazooka was invented by this Greenwood-born actor.

8. This actor is best known for his portrayal of the British butler in a 1990s sitcom about a widower, his three children and a nanny named Fran.

9. The1999 Academy Award-winning movie American Beauty starred this Jonesboro native.

10. This Little Rock native and television star voiced the Man of Steel in the animated series Justice League.  


1. Mary Steenburgen. Although born in Newport, Steenburgen grew up in North Little Rock. Her role of Lynda Dummar in Melvin and Howard won her many accolades in addition to her Oscar. She and husband Ted Danson, star of the long-running comedy Cheers live part-time in the River Market District of Little Rock. In recent years, she has guest-starred on a number of shows, including Wilfred and 30 Rock.

2. William Ragsdale. The star of the original Fright Night and Fright Night II movies, Ragsdale starred as Charley Brewster who discovers his next door neighbor is a vampire. In the early 1990s, Ragsdale starred as the title character in the Fox television series Herman’s Head.

3. Gail Davis. Born Bettye Jeanne Grayson, Davis spent part of her childhood in McGehee in southeast Arkansas.  She made her film debut in the 1947, but her big break came a year later in a supporting role under Roy Rogers.

4. Alan Ladd. The actor had a hard life after his dad died when Ladd was 4. He and his mother were almost destitute and Ladd always was picked on because of his short stature. One of his first roles was an uncredited one in the classic Citizen Kane. He is best known though for his role in the Western movie Shane.
5. Broncho Billy Anderson. Known as America’s first cowboy movie star, Broncho Billy was the stage name of Pine Bluff native Gilbert Maxwell Aaronson. Anderson was a prolific actor, appearing in nearly 400 Westerns from 1908-1915.

6. Gil Gerard. Born and raised in Little Rock, Gerard guest-starred in a number of television series and movies, including the soap opera The Doctors and Airport ’77. He, however, is best known for his role as Buck Rogers in the 1979-1981 television series of the same name.

7. Bob Burns. Born in Greenwood, Burns’ family moved to Van Buren when he was three. Burns played in Van Buren’s Queen City Silver Cornet Band and it was during his band days that he invented a musical instrument made of gas pipe, which Burns dubbed the bazooka. Later the instrument would become a centerpiece in Burns’ comedy act, both on radio on film, mostly focusing on his fictional hillbilly relatives.

8. Daniel Davis. Davis got his first television role on Betty’s Little Rascals, a locally-produced show in Little Rock. He was born in the small southwest town of Gurdon and has acted frequently in the theater, in addition to his television roles.

9. Wes Bentley. This northeast Arkansas native has had a number or prominent acting roles, in addition to his portrayal of Ricky Fitts opposite Kevin Spacey in American Beauty, including 2007’s Ghost Rider and more recently in the blockbuster The Hunger Games.

10. George Newbern. In addition to his voice work as Superman, Newbern is also known for his roles in Adventures in Babysitting and the Father of the Bride movies.

Information on several of the actors mentioned in this column can be found at the online version of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.