Noble Henry Willingham, Jr.
(August 31, 1931 — January 17, 2004) was an American television and film actor.
Willingham had appeared in more than thirty feature films,
including Harry's War
(1981), Up Close and Personal
The Last Boy Scout
(1991), City Slickers II
(1994), Ace Ventura: Pet
(1974), Good Morning, Vietnam
(1992), and Independence Day
born in the small town of Mineola, the seat of
County east of Dallas, Texas.
having graduated 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 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
(1971), which was filmed in Texas. He won the role,
which led to another appearance -- Paper Moon
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 CBS
Murder, She Wrote
Star Trek: The Next
, 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 Alamo: Thirteen Days to
, and Unconquered
. He also played the conductor
in "Kenny Rogers as 'The Gambler' first movie" (1980)
He was best known for his role as C.D. Parker on the series
Walker, Texas Ranger
from 1993 to 2000. He left the show to run for the United States House of
Willingham was the Republican challenger in the
northeast Texas 1st congressional district (Texarkana, Nacogdoches, Marshall, and Paris) against
incumbent Democratic congressman
Willingham ran a
hard-hitting campaign and attacked Sandlin for bringing Bill Clinton
to the district and for voting for
the Democratic agenda in Congress. Sandlin fought back by citing
various moderate votes he had cast and by winning the Chamber of Commerce
the power of incumbency to raise a large money advantage, Sandlin
spent $1,147,002 to Willingham's $246,827. In a district that
George W. Bush would easily carry with 64% of the vote,
Sandlin held on with 118,157 votes (55.8%) to Willingham's 91,912
votes (43.4%) and carried nineteen counties in the district while
losing only two, Nacogdoches and Willingham's home of Wood County.
later, Sandlin was defeated for re-election by Republican Louie Gohmert of Tyler.
Willingham was the son of Ladelle (née
Speights) and Noble Henry
Willingham, a railroad
worker and a
He had three children, Stori Willingham, Meghan McGlohen, and John
Ross McGlohen, and one grandson, Noble Willingham, III.
17, 2004, he died of a heart
attack in a Palm Springs Hardee's drive-through at the age of 72.
buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.
- Noble Willingham Biography ((?)-)