Ken Swofford

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Kenneth C. Swofford
Born(1933-07-25) July 25, 1933 (age 81)
DuQuoin, Illinois
OccupationActor, voice actor, script writer
Years active1962–2004
Spouse(s)Barbee Biggs (1958–?)
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Kenneth C. Swofford
Born(1933-07-25) July 25, 1933 (age 81)
DuQuoin, Illinois
OccupationActor, voice actor, script writer
Years active1962–2004
Spouse(s)Barbee Biggs (1958–?)

Ken Swofford (born July 25, 1933) is an American film and television actor noted for his red hair and ruddy complexion. He was often cast as "everyman", villains, or policemen.

Between 1962 and 1995, Swofford's film credits included The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson, Thelma and Louise, Black Roses and The Andromeda Strain, while his TV career during the same period was prolific. Appearing repeatedly as a guest and/or in recurring roles, he is best remembered as Quentin Morlock in Fame, Lt. Griffin in Switch, Cutler in The Oregon Trail, Al Barber in Rich Man, Poor Man Book II, Lt. Catalano in Murder, She Wrote and columnist Frank Flanagan in Ellery Queen.

Life and career[edit]

Born to Howard and Goldie Swofford on July 25, 1933, Ken Swofford graduated from the College of Liberal Arts, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 1959 with a BS in theater.[1]

From his first appearance in March 1962 in an episode of Surf Side 6[2] and two uncredited appearances in 1963 in Captain Newman, M.D. and the film Father Goose, Swofford worked steadily in films and prolifically in television for four decades, often appearing as different or recurring characters on the same series; his credits are a “who's who” of the best and most popular TV shows of the period.

In a bread-and-butter interview in 1976, Swofford described the advantages of a career as an actor as spending more time with his children and having the freedom to do any job. “If you're an actor, you can do anything. I have cleaned carpets, painted houses, worked on loading docks. It didn't bother me, because I could always act and enjoy myself.” [3] He also revealed that he had briefly been a script writer on the The Lucy Show.

A disadvantage was being coldcocked by the breast of Babette Bardot on the set of a Russ Meyer movie, when it accidentally dislodged from her top. “It just flew out and hit me in the face,” he said.[4]

He met and married his wife Barbee Biggs in summer stock in 1958. They had five children: Meemee (1961), twins Stephanie & Stephan (1963), Brendan (1968), and Sabrina (1972). In a rare L.A. Times interview in 1985 titled “Autistic Youth Thrives in Large, Loving Family”, the Swoffords discussed the (then) unusual step they had taken in bringing up their autistic son Brendan at home. “My hope is he can cross the line from being autistic to just eccentric,” said Stephanie Swofford, 22 at the time.[5]

In 1989, Swofford was convicted of felony drunk driving and sentenced to 28 months in prison,[6] after which he made a comeback and continued to work steadily until his apparently self-imposed retirement in 1995.[7]

In 2001, he supplied the voice of the coach in Recess: School's Out, and Officer White in Teacher's Pet in 2004. After working on those two films, he retired from all acting work.[citation needed]

Partial filmography[edit]

The Taking of Beverly Hills (1991)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Hunter's Blood (1987)
Bridge Across Time (1985)
M.A.D.D.: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (1983)
S.O.B. (1981)
One Little Indian (1973)
Bless the Beasts and Children (1971)
The Andromeda Strain (1970)

Selected TV appearances[edit]


  1. ^ "Department of Theater: List of Theater Department Alums, 2009-1958". Carbondale: Southern Illinois University. Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  2. ^|
  3. ^ Eugene Register - Guard, June 20, 1976, from "TV Key"|
  4. ^ Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer by Jimmy McDonough|[1]
  5. ^ Los Angeles Times, July 28, 1985: Autistic Youth Trives in Large, Loving Family by Tia Gindick
  6. ^ Los Angeles Times June 14, 1989: 'Fame' Actor Gets 28-Month Sentence for Driving Drunk by Carlos V. Lozano| [2]
  7. ^|

External links[edit]