J. D. Cannon (John Donovan Cannon)

J. D. Cannon


Cannon served in the United States Army during World War II. Cannon first appeared on television as Master Sgt. Sherman in the original CBS sitcom, The Phil Silvers Show, also known as You’ll Never Get Rich. He played a recurring character – a lawman named Harry Briscoe working for the Bannerman Detective Agency – in the 1971 to 1973 western series, Alias Smith and Jones. He guest starred in many series over the years, including Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,The Untouchables, The Wild, Wild West, East Side/West Side, Combat!, Stoney Burke, and the 1977 miniseries Testimony of Two Men. He was cast in several episodes of CBS’s Murder, She Wrote, starring Angela Lansbury. His last television acting appearance was on NBC’s Law & Order in 1991. He wore a toupee in most of his later roles. The exception was the Remington Steele episode “Steele in the News” (4 March 1983), in which Cannon played a TV news anchor who only wore his toupee while broadcasting. In the second season of Twelve O’Clock High (1965–1966) he played Brig. Gen. Dave Creighton, who worked for Allied intelligence and helped to foil a plot by Nazi saboteurs in the 34th episode of the series, “RX For A Sick Bird”. Cannon also appeared in theatrical films, often as a cold-eyed villain. His film credits included An American Dream (1966), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Krakatoa, East of Java (1969), The Thousand Plane Raid (1969), Heaven with a Gun (1969), Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), Lawman (1971), Scorpio (1973), Raise the Titanic (1980) and Death Wish II (1982). Cannon was a founding member of Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival, starring in their productions of The Taming of the Shrew (1956) and Much Ado About Nothing (1961). His wife, Alice Cannon, appeared on Broadway in several productions including Company and Johnny Johnson. She also wrote Great Day In The Morning, which ran between March 28 and April 7, 1962. Cannon died at his Hudson, New York home on May 20, 2005. He was survived by his wife and two brothers.

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  • April, 24, 1922
  • Salmon, Idaho


  • May, 20, 2005
  • Hudson, New York


  • Cedar Park Cemetery
  • Hudson, New York

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