How Big Clint Walker Created The TV Western With 'Cheyenne,' Stories Of A TV Legend

By Kellar Ellsworth
Left: Publicity photo of Clint Walker. Right: Walker as Cheyenne Bodie with Tom Gilson as Deputy Sheriff Babe Riker. Sources: eBay; Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Cheyenne star Clint Walker was big, handsome, and a key player in the development of TV westerns. This rugged mountain of a man, said to stand 6'6", with a 48" chest and a 32" waist, played the titular character of TV's first serious western drama, setting a template followed by shows like Gunsmoke and Bonanza. Walker's film career never quite lived up to the promise of his 1956-62 Cheyenne run, with one exception -- he's unforgettable as the reluctant badass Samson Posey in The Dirty Dozen.