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Jock Mahoney

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Title: Jock Mahoney  
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Subject: Tarzan the Magnificent, Tarzan's Three Challenges, Tarzan's Deadly Silence, List of film serials by studio, Overland Pacific
Collection: 1919 Births, 1989 Deaths, 20Th-Century American Male Actors, Actors from Davenport, Iowa, American Male Film Actors, American Male Television Actors, American People of Cherokee Descent, American People of French Descent, American People of Irish Descent, American Stunt Performers, Cardiovascular Disease Deaths in Washington (State), Columbia Pictures, Deaths from Stroke, Male Actors from Chicago, Illinois, Male Actors from Iowa, Male Actors from Los Angeles, California, Neurological Disease Deaths in the United States, People from Davenport, Iowa, Tarzan, United States Marine Corps Pilots of World War II, University of Iowa Alumni
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Jock Mahoney

Jock Mahoney
Born Jacques O'Mahoney
(1919-02-07)February 7, 1919
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died December 15, 1989(1989-12-15) (aged 70)
Bremerton, Washington, United States
Cause of death
Resting place
Alma mater University of Iowa
Occupation Actor and stuntman
Years active 1946–1985
Spouse(s) Lorraine O'Donnell (?–?) 2 children Kathleen O'Mahoney and Jim O'Mahoney
Margaret Field (1952–1968) 1 child Princess O'Mahoney
2 step children Richard and Sally Field Autumn Russell 3 step children Carl Botefuhr,Angela Russell and Andrea von Botefuhr(1969–1989, his death)
Relatives Kathleen O'Mahoney (daughter)Jim O'Mahoney (son) Princess O'Mahoney (daughter)Sally Field (stepdaughter)Rick Field (stepson) Carl Botefuhr (stepson) Angela Russell (stepdaughter) Andrea von Botefuhr (stepdaughter)

Jock Mahoney (February 7, 1919 – December 15, 1989) was an American actor and stuntman of Irish, French, and Cherokee ancestry.

Born Jacques Joseph O'Mahoney, he was credited variously as Jock Mahoney, Jack O'Mahoney or Jock O'Mahoney. He starred in two western television series, The Range Rider and Yancy Derringer. He played Tarzan in two feature films and was associated in various capacities with several other Tarzan productions.

He was a stepfather of the actress Sally Field, scientist Richard Field, Dr. Carl Botefuhr, artist Angela Russell and author and artist Andrea von Botefuhr.


  • Early life, education and military service 1
  • Career 2
    • Tarzan films 2.1
    • Television guest roles 2.2
  • Later career and death 3
    • Legacy 3.1
  • Personal life 4
  • Select filmography 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life, education and military service

Mahoney was born in Chicago, Illinois, but reared in Davenport, Iowa.

He entered the University of Iowa in Iowa City but dropped out to enlist in the United States Marine Corps when World War II began. He served as both a pilot,flight instructor and war correspondent.


After his discharge, he moved to Los Angeles, California, and for a time was a horsebreeder. However, he soon became a movie stuntman, doubling for Gregory Peck, Errol Flynn and John Wayne. Director Vincent Sherman recalled staging the climactic fight scene in the 1948 film Adventures of Don Juan, and finding only one Hollywood stuntman who was willing to leap from a high staircase in the scene. The man was Mahoney, who demanded and received $1,000 for the dangerous stunt.

Billed as Jacques O'Mahoney in the late 1940s, he performed in several features, shorts, and serials for Columbia Pictures. He succeeded stuntman Ted Mapes as the double for Charles Starrett in the Durango Kid western series. The Durango Kid often wore a mask, which enabled Mahoney to replace Starrett in the action scenes. Mahoney's daring stunts made it seem that the older Starrett grew, the more athletic he became.

Like many Columbia contract players, Mahoney worked in the studio's two-reel comedies. Beginning in 1947, writer-director Edward Bernds cast Mahoney in slapstick comedies starring The Three Stooges. Mahoney had large speaking roles in these films, and often played his scenes for laughs. Striking a dauntless, heroic pose, Mahoney would suddenly get clumsy, tripping over something or taking sprawling pratfalls. Columbia management noticed Mahoney's acting skills and gave him starring roles in adventure serials, beginning in 1950.

Cowboy star Gene Autry, then working at Columbia, hired Mahoney to star in a television series. Autry's Flying A Productions filmed seventy-nine half-hour episodes of the syndicated The Range Rider from 1951 to 1953 and 1959, a lost episode shown six years after the series ended. He was billed as Jack Mahoney. The character had no name other than Range Rider. His series co-star was Dick Jones, playing the role of Dick West.

In the 1958 western film Money, Women and Guns, Mahoney played the starring role. The film also starred Kim Hunter.

For the 1958 television season, he starred in the semi-western Yancy Derringer series for thirty-four episodes, which aired on CBS. Yancy Derringer was a gentleman adventurer living in New Orleans, Louisiana, after the American Civil War. He had a Pawnee Indian companion named Pahoo Katchewa ('pa-who-kaht'-chee-wah') ("Wolf Who Stands in Water") who did not speak, played by X Brands. Derringer had saved the life of Pahoo, who thereafter remained devoted to Derringer. Jock O'Mahoney starred in 64 feature films.

Tarzan films

In 1948, Mahoney auditioned to play Tarzan after the departure of Johnny Weissmuller, but the role went to Lex Barker.

In 1960, he appeared as Coy Banton, a villain in Tarzan the Magnificent, starring Gordon Scott. His strong presence, work ethic, and lean (6 foot 4 inch, 220 pound) frame impressed producer Sy Weintraub who wanted a "new look" for the fabled apeman.

In 1962, Mahoney became the thirteenth actor to portray Tarzan when he appeared in Tarzan Goes to India, shot on location in India. A year later, he again played the role in Tarzan's Three Challenges, shot in Thailand. When this film was released, Mahoney, at 44, became the oldest actor to play the jungle king, a record that still stands. Dysentery and dengue fever plagued Mahoney during the shoot in the Thai jungles, and he plummeted to 175 pounds. It took him a year and a half to regain his health.

Owing to his health problems and the fact that producer Weintraub had decided to go for a "younger look" for the apeman, his contract was mutually dissolved.

Television guest roles

In 1960, Mahoney guest starred in the Rawhide episode "Incident of the Sharpshooter." He also appeared in television guest-starring roles on such series as Batman, the Ron Ely Tarzan series (again playing a villain), Hawaii Five-O, Laramie, and The Streets of San Francisco.

In 1973, he suffered a stroke while filming an episode of Kung Fu, but recovered.

Later career and death

In 1981, Mahoney returned to the Tarzan film series as the stunt coordinator on the John Derek-directed remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man. He was billed as "Jack O'Mahoney". He also made guest appearances on the television series B. J. and the Bear and The Fall Guy.

During the final years of his life Mahoney was a popular guest at film conventions and autograph shows. He died of another stroke two days after being involved in an automobile accident in Bremerton, Washington. His ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.


In the movie Hooper (1978), Jocko (Brian Keith) is a retired stuntman. Mahoney was not in the movie yet it is loosely based on elements of his life.

A tribute to Mahoney entitled "Coming Home" is found on the Internet site of the late marksman Joe Bowman of Houston, a close Mahoney friend. On February 6, 1990, the poem was read at a memorial tribute to Mahoney held at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, California. More than 350 attended, included Bowman. The reading was conducted by Mahoney's widow, Autumn O'Mahoney.[1]

Personal life

Mahoney was married three times, first to Lorraine O'Donnell, with whom he had two children. He next married actress Margaret Field on December 11, 1959, in Las Vegas. They had one child, Princess O'Mahoney, born in 1962.Margaret Field had 2 children Richard Field and Sally Field. Mahoney and Field divorced in June 1968. The following year, he married actress Autumn Russell.Autumn had 3 children, Carl Botefuhr, Angela Russell and Andrea von Botefuhr. They remained together until his death.

As Margaret Field's husband, Mahoney was stepfather to Richard and Sally Field. Sally Field, Burt Reynolds and Brian Keith starred in the 1978 film Hooper which was based on Jocko's life. His daughter Princess O'Mahoney later became a television and film assistant director.He was also father to Kathleen and Jim O'Mahoney and step father to Carl Botefuhr, Angela Russell and Andrea von Botefuhr.

Select filmography

This film-related list is ; you can help by .

See also


  1. ^ "Jock Mahoney". Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  • Essoe, Gabe (1968). Tarzan of The Movies – A Pictorial History of More Than Fifty Years of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Legendary Hero. New York City: Citadel Press. ISBN 978-0-806-50295-3.

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Gordon Scott
Actors to portray Tarzan
Succeeded by
Mike Henry
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