Vintage Hunk: Clint Walker

By: Mike McCrann

"I still have all of my hair and it's still the same color."

Clint Walker - Los Angeles Times September, 2012

This week's entry should be entitled “Hunk Under Protest.” For the past two years my best friends Richard and Randy have constantly ragged on me to feature Clint Walker. My response was always "Never, he's too muscly and hairy. He's Neanderthal." They shot back. "You feature puny actors like Lon McCallister, but not a true stud like Walker? Your taste in men is alien to most gay men." So, why Clint Walker now? Well for starters, Mr. Walker is hale, hearty and very much alive. In fact, he just made an appearance last week at the Retro-Action-Adventure Thon in Beverly Hills.

When I was a kid I did watch Clint Walker's TV Western Cheyenne and I guess I liked it. There was stalwart Clint - shirtless a great deal of the time and that great catchy title theme: "Cheyenne .Cheyenne - Where will you be camping tonight?" (Hmm - that could have a whole fun new meaning 57 years later!)

Norman Eugene Walker was born in Illinois in 1927. He was a twin (sorry guys - a sister) and one quarter Cherokee. He also grew up to be 6 feet 6 inches with a 48-inch chest and a 32 inch waist. After odd jobs and a stint in the merchant marine, young Clint arrived in Hollywood and landed a few bit movie parts. In 1955 Clint Walker landed the title role in the Warner Brothers TV Western Cheyenne. Not only was this show the first hour long western, but it became a smash hit and ran for eight years on ABC. Clint was masculine to a frightening degree. He was brave, strong and stoic and no great acting ability was expected or needed. Cheyenne was one of the early smash hit series and there is no doubt that Clint Walker was a star on the small screen.

After Cheyenne camped out for the last time, Clint Walker made a number of movies. None of them were particularly good, but the mammoth male star acquitted himself admirably. In fact the NY Times in its review of More Dead Than Alive described Walker as: "A big, fine-looking chap and about as live-looking as any man could be...and there is something winning about his taciturn earnestness as an actor, although real emotion seldom breaks through." Laurence Olivier he wasn't - but then Sir Larry never had a body like that either.

Clint Walker has been married three times. His first marriage of 20 years ended in divorce (one child) and his second marriage of twenty years ended with his wife's death. He has been happily married to his current wife since 1997 and they both live in Grass Valley, CA.

Clint Walker was a huge TV star and his sense of humor shone through in his Los Angeles Times interview two weeks ago: "I am getting crayon pictures from children of Cheyenne on a horse. I am also getting letters from 17 year olds and younger people." Clint Walker also has his own website to handle his many fans.

Clint Walker deserves to be a Vintage Hunk. And many gay men find him sexy beyond belief. However, if I had to go to a desert island and take either Lon McCallister or Clint Walker with me, sweet little Lon would be the one. After-all the other 23 hours of the day have to be filled too!