Jack Ging, the familiar character actor who recurred on such series as Tales of Wells Fargo, Mannix, Riptide and The A-Team and appeared in three films opposite Clint Eastwood, has died. He was 90.
Ging died Friday of natural causes at his home in La Quinta, California, his wife, Apache Ging, told The Hollywood Reporter.
In rare starring turns, Ging played the love interest of Diane Baker’s character in a remake of Tess of the Storm Country (1960), a soldier and reluctant hero in the waning days of the Korean War in the drama Sniper’s Ridge (1961) and a clinical psychiatrist on the 1962-64 NBC medical series The Eleventh Hour.
Alongside Eastwood, Ging portrayed a marshal in Hang ‘Em High (1968), a doctor in Play Misty for Me (1971) and the doomed outlaw Morgan Allen in High Plains Drifter (1973).
In 1961, Ging joined fellow Oklahoman Dale Robertson on NBC’s Tales of Wells Fargo during its sixth and final season as special agent Beau McCloud, and he showed up as Lt. Dan Ives, one of Joe Mannix’s (Mike Connors) go-to guys inside the LAPD, on CBS’ Mannix from 1968-74.
In the mid-’80s, he portrayed another cop, Ted Quinlan, on the NBC detective series Riptide over three seasons and spent a year on NBC’s The A-Team as Gen. Harlan “Bull” Fulbright, an antagonist who comes to realize that the show’s soldiers of fortunes were good guys, not bad.
Ging’s run on The A-Team ended when Fulbright took a bullet in the back during a rescue mission to save his daughter. “It was a kids show,” he said. “They shot 10,000 machine guns from every roof and threw bombs and grenades, but nobody ever got killed — except me,” he said with a laugh.
Jack Lee Ging was born on Nov. 30, 1931, in Alva, Oklahoma. He attended boarding school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, then played halfback for three seasons at the University of Oklahoma — he helped the Sooners beat the top-ranked University of Maryland in the 1954 Orange Bowl — and one for the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos.
Inspired by Tyrone Power, the 5-foot-10 Ging decided to become an actor. He studied with Sanford Meisner in New York and in 1958 appeared on episodes of Mackenzie’s Raiders and Highway Patrol and in the Leo McCarey-directed film Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!
He was hired for Tales of Wells Fargo when the series expanded to one hour and went from black-and-white to color but said he was given very little to do.
“The way it ended up, I was just holding Dale Robertson’s horse,” he recalled. “Anybody could have done that, so I left the show and got suspended for six months [for breaking his contract]. But I was handled by MCA at the time, so they helped me get out of it OK.”
Ging did most of his work on television, guest-starring on everything from Bat Masterson, The Roaring 20’s, The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, Bonanza and Hawaii Five-O to Fantasy Island, Barnaby Jones, The Greatest American Hero, The Fall Guy, Little House on the Prairie and Wings.
His movie résumé also included Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959), Raymond Burr’s Desire in the Dust (1960), Fred Williamson’s That Man Bolt (1973), Sssssss (1973), Where the Red Fern Grows (1974) and Die Sister, Die! (1978).
In 1985, the Los Angeles Times noted that Ging “routinely competed for sport and money. His opponents were such golfers as Dean Martin and James Garner — and others whose bank accounts were much bigger than their names.”
He met Apache, also an Oklahoman, while filming Where the Red Fern Grows in the state in 1973, and they were married in 1978. Survivors also include his children, Adam, Casey, Erin, Charlie and Anna, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.