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Victor Edwin French (December 4, 1934 - June 15, 1989) was an Americanmarker actor and director.

Early career

Born in Santa Barbara, Californiamarker, French began his television career as a stuntman in mostly westerns and anthology shows. He guest starred in some thirty-nine television series, including the episode "The Noose" of the syndicated series Two Faces West; his fellow guest star on the segment was veteran western star L.Q. Jones. French appeared on Gunsmoke thirteen times, often playing a crook, whether dangerous or bumbling. He was also in a few episodes of Bonanza with Michael Landon at that time. He played the recurring character "Agent 44" in the series Get Smart in 1965-1966, where he portrayed an undercover spy who showed up in the worst, most unlikely of places (like a mailbox or a porthole in a boat).

Work with Michael Landon

French is most widely known for costarring with Michael Landon on two television series. He appeared on Little House on the Prairie (1974-1977), (1981-1983, 1984) as Isaiah Edwards (French also directed some episodes of Little House). He appeared on Highway to Heaven (1984-1989) as Mark Gordon.

From 1977-79, he left "Little House" to star as a sheriff in Carter Country. When the series ended, the actor was surprised that Michael Landon was agreeable to returning the character of Mr. Edwards. French appeared in Episode 8 of Season 6, in Episode 8 of Season 8, then returned full time, starting with Episode 19 of Season 8.

His father Ted French was also an actor and stuntman who appeared in westerns in the 1940s. He appeared with his son Victor in one episode of Gunsmoke entitled "Prime Of Life" in 1966, as well as a war film in 1963 called The Quick And The Dead. Ted French died in 1978. He appeared on an episode of The Waltons as a blacksmith whose wife cannot have children.

According to interviews with Cindy Landon, and Kent and Susan McCray on the A&E DVD release of Highway to Heaven Season 3, Victor and Michael Landon were "crazy about each other", indicating that they always made each other laugh and enjoyed each other's company immensely. Cindy Landon mentions that Victor was a quiet and reclusive kind of guy as opposed to Michael Landon's very outgoing personality.

Death

French, a life-long heavy smoker, died of lung cancer on June 15, 1989 in Los Angeles, Californiamarker. He was cremated. His ashes were scattered in Santa Barbaramarker. According to one anecdote, he left a final, good-humored message for friends and family at his wake, having arranged for an airplane to fly overhead with it. His death contributed to Michael Landon's decision to cancel production of Highway to Heaven. Landon would die from pancreatic cancer 2 years later. Coincidentally, both men were 54 years old when they passed.

In 1998, French was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahomamarker.

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