Noble Willingham (Noble Henry Willingham)

Noble Willingham

Willingham was the son of Ladelle (née Speights) and Noble Henry Senior, a railroad worker and a farmer. He was born in the small town of Mineola, in Wood County east of Dallas, Texas. After graduating in 1953 from North Texas State University in Denton, he earned a master’s degree in educational psychology from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Willingham served in the United States Army during the Korean War. Willingham was teaching high school government and economics in Houston before he followed his dream of becoming an actor. He auditioned for a part in The Last Picture Show (1971), which was filmed in Texas. He won the role, which led to another appearance, in Paper Moon (1973). Willingham appeared in more than thirty feature films, including Big Bad Mama (1974), Chinatown (1974), Aloha, Bobby and Rose (1975), Fighting Mad (1976), Greased Lightning (1977), The Boys in Company C (1978), Norma Rae (1979), Fast Charlie… the Moonbeam Rider (1979), Brubaker (1980), The Howling (1981), Harry’s War (1981), Independence Day (1983), La Bamba (1987), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), the HBO film The Heist (1989), Blind Fury (1989), City Slickers (1991), The Last Boy Scout (1991), Pastime (1991), The Distinguished Gentleman (1992), Fire In The Sky (1993), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold (1994), and Up Close & Personal (1996).

On television, Willingham had a recurring role in the ABC series Home Improvement with Tim Allen as John Binford, and appeared as a guest star in the 1975 CBS family drama series Three for the Road. He also guest starred on Murder, She Wrote, Star Trek: The Next Generation (1989), Northern Exposure, Rockford Files, Tucker’s Witch with Tim Matheson and Catherine Hicks, and Quantum Leap. His additional television credits include A Woman With A Past, The Children Nobody Wanted, The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory, and Unconquered. He also played the conductor in Kenny Rogers as The Gambler (1980), he appeared in the 1986 miniseries Dream West, and appeared in Badge of the Assassin (1985) and Men Don’t Tell (1993). He guest starred as IRS Agent Bumpers in the show Remington Steele. He was best known for his role as C.D. Parker on the series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 to 1999. He left the show to run for the United States House of Representatives. On January 17, 2004, Willingham died in his sleep of a heart attack in Palm Springs at the age of 72. A veteran of the United States Army during the Korean War, he is buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.

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  • August, 31, 1931
  • USA
  • Mineola, Texas


  • January, 17, 2004
  • USA
  • Palm Springs, California

Cause of Death

  • heart attack


  • Riverside National Cemetery
  • Riverside, California
  • USA

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