From shows like The Andy Griffith Show, where he played Briscoe Darling Jr., to the role of Jesse Duke in the classic show The Dukes of Hazzard, and appearances in several other movies and television shows, actor/director Denver Pyle was a giant in the industry, dedicating fifty years of his life to filmmaking until his death.
During his active years as an actor and director, Denver Pyle performed and directed an incredible 265 films and television shows. Throughout his career, he also worked in other filmmaking roles, including the set photographers.
He was not known for bringing home several awards during his career, but he left behind a filmography that is respected throughout the world of filmmaking, and in this article, we examine some of the details of his life, including his fortune. Read on to learn more.
Denver Pyle Biography
Denver Dell Pyle was born in Bethune, Colorado, on May 11, 1920, the son of parents Ben H. Pyle and Maude Pyle. He was born into an underclass family consisting of a father who worked as a farmer and a mother who was a housewife. Not much is known about his family background, but he has a brother, Willis Pyle, who later became a remarkable animator for the popular animation studio Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Denver Pyle’s journey to Hollywood began after graduating from high school and dropping out of Colorado State University and chose a career in show business instead. He started as a drummer in a band before his career in the entertainment industry was briefly interrupted by the United States’ participation in World War II, where he served as a United States Merchant Marine.
After finishing his time in the U.S. military, Denver Pyle returned to his career as an entertainer, but instead of picking up his sticks and returning to the drums, he decided to become an actor. He had his first appearance in a screen project in 1947, first in an unappreciated role as a nameless man in the opening scene of the movie “The Guilt of Janet Ames”.
In the same year, he received his first recognized roles as Carl in Devil Ship and as Jim Rockwell in Where the North Begins. Before the 1940s were over, Denver Pyle appeared in many other projects, all of which were movies like Captain China, The Flying Saucer, The Old Frontier, Million Dollar Pursuit and many others.
The story continued well into the 1950s, and in 1951 he had his first television appearance in the series The Cisco Kid, in which he played the character of Professor Jerry Roark in two episodes. Over the decade, he also appeared on other shows such as The Roy Rogers Show, The Range Rider, Adventures of Superman, The Adventures of Kit Carson and several others.
For the rest of his career, he continued to appear in various movies and television shows, most recently in 1997 in a television movie, The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion! and the show Podunk Possum. They were both his 261st and 262nd projects as an actor.
As a director, Denver Pyle directed several episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard, The Doris Day Show, and Death Valley Days. He never directed a single movie during his career.
How Rich was the Film Director and What Was His Net Worth?
During the peak of his career, Denver Pyle worked on several movies and television shows, earning several amounts of money in salaries and scraps that amounted to a net worth of $5 million at the time of his death.
This may seem small in today’s money, but one should remember the effects of inflation, and his accumulated net worth at the time of his death is now worth nearly $8 million.
That is a lot of money for a man who retired from active acting three years before his death. He was also a well-known philanthropist who, in particular, sponsored a fishing tournament for a decade, with which he raised money and financed various children’s programs.
Other Facts About Denver Pyle
Denver Pyle’s only recognition during his career was the Golden Shoe in 1984 and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997.
He was married twice, to Marilee Carpenter and Tippie Johnston. His marriage to Marilee lasted from 1955 to 1970, during which time they had two children, David and Tony. His second marriage lasted until his death.
Denver Pyle died of lung cancer on December 25, 1997, and was buried in an unmarked grave in Waxahachie, Texas.