Paul Fix



The son of a brewery owner, steely-eyed American character actor Paul Fix went the vaudeville and stock-company route before settling in Hollywood in 1926. During the 1930s and 1940s he appeared prolifically in varied fleeting roles: a transvestite jewel thief in the Our Gang two-reeler Free Eats (1932), a lascivious zookeeper (appropriately named Heinie) in Zoo in Budapest (1933), a humorless gangster who puts Bob Hope "on the spot" in The Ghost Breakers (1940), and a bespectacled ex-convict who muscles his way into Berlin in Hitler: Dead or Alive (1943), among others. During this period, Fix was most closely associated with westerns, essaying many a villainous (or at least untrustworthy) role at various "B"-picture mills. In the mid-1930s, Fix befriended young John Wayne and helped coach the star-to-be in the whys and wherefores of effective screen acting. Fix ended up appearing in 27 films with "The Duke," among them Pittsburgh (1942), The Fighting Seabees (1943), Tall in the Saddle (1944), Back to Bataan (1945), Red River (1948) and The High and the Mighty (1954). Busy in TV during the 1950s, Fix often found himself softening his bad-guy image to portray crusty old gents with golden hearts-- characters not far removed from the real Fix, who by all reports was a 100% nice guy. His most familiar role was as the honest but often ineffectual sheriff Micah Torrance on the TV series The Rifleman. In the 1960s, Fix was frequently cast as sagacious backwoods judges and attorneys, as in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).