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Gene Evans, dead at 75

Rugged character actor

Gene Evans, a rugged character actor who appeared in more than 30 films including “Operation Petticoat” and “Walking Tall,” died April 1 in Jackson, Tenn., of natural causes. He was 75.

Evans also had co-starring roles in the television shows “My Friend Flicka” (1956-57) and “Matt Helm” (1975-76).

Born in Holbrook, Ariz., and raised in Colton, he was a decorated soldier in World War II and was injured in one overseas campaign. He toured Europe with a theatrical company of GIs, then made his film debut in 1947 in “Under Colorado Skies.”

He usually played harsh-voiced heavies, from a red-bearded soldier in “The Steel Helmet” in 1951 to a cigar-chomping editor in “Park Row” in 1952.

Other film credits included “The War Wagon,” “Support Your Local Sheriff,” “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” and “The Magic of Lassie.”

He had retired to Tennessee to become a gentleman farmer.

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