×

Character and Voice Actor Dennis Burkley Dies at 67

Dennis Burkley, a character actor known for his brawny roles as truckers, bikers and rednecks, along with a stint as the voice of Principal Moss on Fox’s “King of the Hill,” died in his sleep in Sherman Oaks, Calif. on Sunday. He was 67.

Burkley was born in Van Nuys, Calif. but grew up in a small town outside of Dallas, where he picked up his Southern charm. Standing at 6 foot 3 inches, he often wore a scruffy beard and a Southern accent in his character roles, beginning his acting career in the early 1970s that included more than 130 film and TV credits.

After attending high school, he received his master’s in theater at Texas Christian U. in Fort Worth and then headed back to Los Angeles.

Two of his more memorable roles were as a giant, mute biker in Peter Bogdanovich’s “Mask” and as another biker, a racist named Sonny Crockett, on four episodes of “Hill Street Blues.”

Burkley also starred as Redd Foxx’s junkyard partner Cal Pettie on “Sanford,” a reboot of “Sanford and Son” that ran from 1980-81 for two seasons on NBC.

For 35 episodes of “King of the Hill,” Burkley voiced Carl Moss, the principal of Tom Landry Middle School in Arlen Texas, which aired from 1997 to 2008 for 13 seasons.

Burkley made his directorial debut in the 2005 independent film “Repetition,” which he also co-wrote and appeared in. The comedy was about students in a Los Angeles acting class featuring F. Murray Abraham, Mark Hamill and Robert Englund.

Burkley appeared in films such as: “Heroes, Wanted: Dead or Alive,” “The End of Innocence,” “The Doors,” “Tin Cup” and “Hollywood Homicide.” His television resume included roles on “Starsky and Hutch,” “One Day at a Time,” “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Who’s the Boss?,” “NYPD Blue,” “JAG,” “The Drew Carey Show” and “My Name Is Earl.”

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Laura, a son and a daughter.

More TV

  • Bill Abbott

    Crown Media President, CEO Bill Abbott Steps Down

    Bill Abbott is exiting his post as president and CEO of Crown Media, the parent company of Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Hallmark Drama. The company made the announcement on Wednesday. “After 11 years, Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media is leaving the company,” said Mike Perry, president and CEO of [...]

  • 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Trailer

    'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Trailer Shows Epic Finale on Disney Plus

    Nearly 10 years and three networks later, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” is finally getting its last season. Disney Plus will premiere the seventh and final season of the animated series on Feb. 21, likely releasing the 12 episodes weekly, similar to what the new streaming service did for “The Mandalorian.” It’s been six years [...]

  • Anjelah Johnson'The Curse of La Llorona'

    HA Comedy Festival Sets Lineup, HBO Max Comedy Special

    The newly launched HA comedy festival backed by WarnerMedia and New Cadence Productions has set its dates, talent lineup and plans for a special to air on HBO Max. The festival, to be held Feb. 21-23 in San Antonio, Texas, is designed as a showcase for Latinx comedians. It’s part of a first-look development pact [...]

  • Alex Cross

    Alex Cross TV Series in the Works at Amazon (EXCLUSIVE)

    James Patterson’s Alex Cross could soon be coming to the small screen. Variety has learned exclusively that Amazon is currently developing an Alex Cross TV series, based on the novels starring the character written by Patterson. Throughout the book series, Cross works as a detective, FBI agent, and psychologist in Washington D.C. There is no [...]

  • Scott Z. Burns

    Apple TV Plus Nears Series Order for Scott Z. Burns Climate Change Anthology (EXCLUSIVE)

    Apple TV Plus is nearing a series order for “Extrapolations,” a new climate change anthology from Scott Z. Burns, the writer, director and producer known for “An Inconvenient Truth” and “The Report,” Variety has learned exclusively. The streaming platform is developing the anthology with an eye toward a series order, amid a competitive bidding situation. [...]

  • 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Station 19' Boss

    How 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Station 19' Will Sync Up for Its 2020 Crossover

    Nearly a year after “Grey’s Anatomy” made television history by becoming the longest-running primetime medical drama, the ABC series is taking on a new challenge on Thursday, Jan. 23: becoming more immersed with its spinoff, “Station 19,” for a more unified two-hour weekly block. But while there are natural ties between the two dramas, trying [...]

  • Guinan Picard Whoopi Goldberg Patrick Stewart

    Patrick Stewart Invites Whoopi Goldberg to Join 'Star Trek: Picard' Season 2

    In an emotional moment on Wednesday’s episode of “The View,” Patrick Stewart invited Whoopi Goldberg to appear on the second season of CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Picard,” reprising her character of Guinan from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Goldberg — who quickly and gladly accepted — appeared to be totally surprised by Stewart’s offer, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content