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Dennis Weaver Dies in Colorado

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Feb 28, 2006 | 6:10am EST

Dennis Weaver, who played slow-witted deputy Chester Goode in the classic TV western Gunsmoke and a cowboy cop in McCloud, has died. He was 81.

The actor died of complications from cancer on Friday at his home in Colorado, his publicist Julian Myers announced today.

Weaver appeared on Gunsmoke for nine seasons in total. The role won him an Emmy award for the 1958-59 season.

The actor is also well known for playing Sam McCloud from 1970-1977, the no-nonsense lawman from New Mexico who battled crime on the streets of New York City. McCloud used wild-west tactics, such as riding his horse through the streets of Manhattan, to solve crimes.

The star appeared in numerous movies including Steven Spielberg's debut feature Duel, Touch of Evil, Ten Wanted Men, Gentle Giant, Seven Angry MenDragnet and The Bridges At Toko-Ri.

Weaver served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1973-1975.

The actor was also an activist for protecting the environment and combating world hunger and built a solar-powered home in Colorado out of recycled tires and cans.

Weaver is survived by his wife, Gerry, sons Rick, Robby and Rusty, and three grandchildren.

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