Conway in The Screaming Skull
|Born||Clarence Russell Zink
April 25, 1913
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
|Died||January 12, 2009 (aged 95)
Laguna Hills, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Muriel Morrison (1946-2006; her death); 2 children|
|Relatives||Donald Woods (brother)|
Born Clarence Russell Zink in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, Conway earned a bachelor's degree in 1937 from the University of California at Los Angeles. His elder brother, Ralph Zink, also became an actor, known as Donald Woods.
During World War II, he served in the United States Army, attached to the Special Services unit. For several months, he was entertainment director at the since defunct Fort Ord on Monterey Bay in California before he was sent to the Philippine Islands and then Japan. He worked as a producer and announcer for Armed Forces Radio.
Conway made his Broadway debut in Prologue to Glory (1938). His other Broadway credits include A Roomful of Roses (1955), Johnny 2 X 4 (1942), The Land Is Bright (1941), Stop Press (1939), and The American Way (1939).
At first, he had uncredited roles in some two dozen motion pictures from 1947–1953, beginning as a medic in Buck Privates Come Home and including The Heiress (film) appearing as Quintus SeaburyFlamingo Road, I Was a Male War Bride, Calamity Jane and Sam Bass about frontier characters Martha Jane Cannary and the bandit Sam Bass, Twelve O'Clock High, Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation, and the 1952 film The Outcasts of Poker Flat.
Conway also appeared in notable films. He played Elvis Presley's character's friend Ed Galt in Love Me Tender. He played the police officer who discovered the grisly scene on the beach at the end of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. He played Rev. Bethany of The War of the Worlds.
Conway became best known for his multiple television appearances, beginning with "Sheep Thieves", the first of four episodes between 1950 and 1954, of the classic western The Lone Ranger. The other episodes featuring Conway are "Sinner by Proxy", "A Son by Adoption" and "The Bounty Hunter". In 1951, Conway appeared on the detective series Boston Blackie. He then guest starred in three 1952-1953 episodes of Jack Webb's original Dragnet crime drama on NBC. Later, he guest starred on Reed Hadley's second CBS series, The Public Defender
Over the years, Conway guest-starred in many television westerns, including a forgotten 1953 episode "McCoy of Abilene", about the 1860s cattleman Joseph McCoy in Abilene and Dodge City, Kansas, a segment of the Hallmark Hall of Fame, then on NBC.
He appeared in the syndicated westerns, Hopalong Cassidy and twice on the Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo series The Cisco Kid in the roles of an outlaw in "Cisco Meets the Gorilla" and as E.W. Akers in "The Ventriloquist". He portrayed a character named "Stirling" in the 1957 episode "Judith" of the syndicated The Gray Ghost, an American Civil War drama based on the life of Confederate cavalry officer John Singleton Mosby. He appeared in 1957 and 1958 on CBS's Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre in the episodes "No Man Living" and "The Accuser".
In 1957, he guest starred as Jared Martin (also the name of a subsequent actor) in the episode "Show of Force" on CBS's Have Gun – Will Travel starring Richard Boone. He further appeared as the character Frank Russell in the episode "Girl in the Cab" of the syndicated Casey Jones, starring Alan Hale, Jr., in the title role of railroad engineer John Luther "Casey" Jones. Conway was cast in two 1958 segments, "Diamonds in the Rough" and "When the Cat's Away" of Rod Cameron's State Trooper modern western crime drama. He twice appeared in episodes of the NBC children's western series, Fury, as Red Cummings in "Joey Goes Hunting" (1955) and in one of the later segments entitled "A Present for Packy" (1960). Often placed in law-enforcement roles, Conway portrayed a sheriff in the 1958 episode "Rage for Vengeance" of Maverick, and as Marshal Short in the 1958 episode "Ghosts of Cimarron" of Cheyenne.
He guest starred as Bart McCallin in the 1959 episode "McCallin's Daughter on CBS's Trackdown, starring Robert Culp, and twice on its sequel, Wanted: Dead or Alive, with Steve McQueen. He appeared on two other CBS series, Rory Calhoun's The Texan and Earl Holliman's Hotel de Paree. Conway appeared with Roscoe Ates on "Long Odds" of Dale Robertson's Tales of Wells Fargo, in "St. Louis Woman" of The Tall Man, and as Tyler in "Trail Drive" of Laramie, all on NBC.
Between 1959 and 1962, Conway guest starred three times on Rawhide. He guest starred on other westerns such as The Texan, Fury, Tombstone Territory and Bronco, The Californians, The Rough Riders, Lawman, and Frontier Justice.
From 1961-68, he appeared four times on Bonanza: as Dave Hart in "The Tax Collector", as attorney Jeremy Grant in "The Man Without Land", as Judge Horace Wheeler in "False Witness", and as Balenger in "The Passing of a King". Other NBC western roles were on Temple Houston and Branded.
From 1963-67, he appeared in four episodes of NBC's The Virginian: "Run Away Home", "Ryker" as Ed Hale, "The Dream of Stavros Karas" as Charley Cousins, and "Bitter Harvest" as Tom Hadley. He appeared twice on NBC's Daniel Boone, including the role of Tom Mayberry in the 1966 episode entitled "Seminole Territory". -In 1963, he appeared in an episode of the short-lived ABC/WB western series, The Dakotas. In 1967, he was cast as the family patriarch, Albert Monroe, but only for the series premiere of ABC's The Monroes.
Some of Conway's most memorable roles were on the Walt Disney anthology series. He appeared in fifteen of the nineteen episodes of the Mickey Mouse Club serial The Hardy Boys. In 1959, Conway appeared as the father, Monty Morgan, of ABC's Disneyland in the two-part episode, "Moochie of the Little League". In 1960, he appeared in another two-part Disney episode, "Moochie of Pop Warner Football". In September 1968, Conway starred as a rancher in the Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color two-part episode "Boomerang, Dog of Many Talents".
Conway appeared in historical roles on CBS's You Are There, narrated by Walter Cronkite and aired between 1953 and 1955. The episodes included "The Boston Tea Party", "The Assassination of Julius Caesar", "The Resolve of Patrick Henry", and "Washington Crosses the Delaware", with Conway portraying General George Washington in the December 25, 1776, crossing of the Delaware River from Pennsylvania into Trenton, New Jersey.
In 1969, Conway played Maxy Parker, bewildered father of the rebellious 16-year-old George Leroy Parker (Michael Margotta), in the syndicated series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Robert Taylor not long before Taylor's own death. Young Parker leaves home in search of riotous living, first in Salt Lake City. He takes the name Butch Cassidy from an older rustler acquaintance, Mike Cassidy.
Into the 1970s, Conway appeared on Jack Webb's Adam-12 police drama and twice as Dr. Jay L. Milton in two episodes of ABC's The Mod Squad. He guest starred three times on CBS's Mannix starring Mike Connors and four times on the same network's Mission: Impossible with Peter Graves. In 1972, he guest starred in "A Game of Chess" on ABC's The F.B.I. starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. In 1973, he starred in the episode "The Winning Ticket" of NBC's short-lived Chase, starring Mitchell Ryan and Wayne Maunder.
In 1974, Conway appeared on William Conrad's Cannon in the episode entitled "Where's Jennifer?". His last screen appearance was in 1975 as an unnamed ship's captain in the 1975 episode "The Cruise Ship Murders" of Switch. Conway also appeared in a few comedy programs too, including twice on CBS's The Jack Benny Program, including an episode starring Ginger Rogers. He also appeared once on ABC's Leave It to Beaver, NBC's Get Smart, and CBS's Mrs. G. Goes to College starring Gertrude Berg, Petticoat Junction. The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Munsters.