"Ives's voice…had the sheen and finesse of opera without its latter-day Puccinian vulgarities and without the pretensions of operatic ritual. It was genteel in expressive impact without being genteel in social conformity. And it moved people."
John Rockwell[src]

Burl Ives (June 14, 1909April 14, 1995) was an Academy Award–winning actor, author, and renowned folk singer. Ives established a strong presence for himself on the screen, and was directed to an Academy Award by William Wyler for his work in The Big Country.

Ives was also known for his voice work. In 1984 he narrated John Korty's Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure. He passed on in 1995 due to oral cancer.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives[2] was born in Hunt City Township in Jasper County, Illinois, on June 14, 1909;[1][4] the youngest of six children.[5] His father was a tenant farmer.[6]

Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure[edit | edit source]

"Our story begins in a time long, long ago, deep in an enchanted forest, on the distant moon of Endor."
―Burl Ives as the Narrator — (audio) Listen (file info)[src]

In 1984, Ives came out of retirement to provide narration for John Korty's Star Wars telemovie, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure. Ives' narration in the film's opening scenes explained the actions of a group of Ewoks who spoke only Ewokese; as the narration continued throughout the course of the film, it provided context to a plot in which a brother and sister had to save their parents from a giant monster.[3]

Death[edit | edit source]

An elderly Ives

"Burl Ives, whose sweet, strong, mournful way with folk ballads made him an international singing star in the 1940's and whose earthy acting won him an Academy Award in the 1950's, died yesterday at his home in Anacortes, Wash. He was 85."
The New York Times obituary, by Richard Severo[src]

Ives died on April 14, 1995 in Anacortes, Washington due to oral cancer.[2][7]

Filmography[edit | edit source]

Star Wars[edit | edit source]

Year Title Role Other notes
1984 Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure Narrator Television

Other[edit | edit source]

Year Title Role Other notes
1946 Smoky Willie Film debut, as "The Singing Troubadour Burl Ives"
1948 Green Grass of Wyoming Gus
1948 Station West Hotel clerk, baladeer Uncredited
1948 So Dear to My Heart Uncle Hiram Douglas
1950 Sierra Lonesome
1955 East of Eden Sam the Sheriff
1956 The Power and the Prize George Salt
1957 The United States Steel Hour Matthew Randolph Television
1957 Playhouse 90 Captain Keller Television
1957 Gun Glory Narrator
1958 Desire Under the Elms Ephraim Cabot
1958 Wind Across the Everglades Cottonmouth
1958 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Harvey 'Big Daddy' Pollitt
1958 The Big Country Rufus Hannassey Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1959 Our Man in Havana Dr. Hasselbacher
1959 Day of the Outlaw Jack Bruhn
1959 General Electric Theatre King David Television
1960 Let No Man Write My Epitaph Judge Bruce M. Sullivan
1960 Zane Grey Theater Ox
1962 The Spiral Road Dr. Brits Jansen
1963 Summer Magic Osh Popham
1964 I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly Singer Short
1964 The Brass Bottle Fakrash
1964 Ensign Pulver Capt. Morton
1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Sam the Snowman Television
1965 O.K. Crackerby! O.K. Crackerby Television
1966 Late Night Lineup Television
1966 The Bell Telephone Hour Host Television
1966 The Daydreamer Father Neptune
1967 Rocket to the Moon Phineas T. Barnum
1968 Pinocchio Gepetto Television
1968 The Other Side of Bonnie and Clyde Narrator
1968 The Name of the Game Arthur Jellicoe
1968 The Sound of Anger Walter Nichols Television
1968 The Burl Ives Television Special Himself Television
1969 The Whole World Is Watching Walter Nichols Television
1969 Daniel Boone Prater Beasley Television
1970 The McMasters McMasters
1970 The Man Who Wanted to Live Forever T.M. Trask Television
1971 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers Walter Nichols Television
1972 Alias Smith and Jones Big Mac McCreedy Television
1972 Night Gallery Old Man Doubleday Television
1975 Hugo the Hippo Narrator
1976 The First Easter Rabbit Narrator Television
1976 Captains and the Kings Old Syrup Television
1976 Little House on the Prairie Sam Shelby Television
1976 Baker's Hawk Mr. McGraw
1977 Roots Sen. Arthur Johnson Television
1978 The Bermuda Depths Dr. Paulis Television
1978 The New Adventures of Heidi Grandfather Television
1979 The Val Doonican Music Show Television
1979 Saturday Night at the Mill Television
1979 Just You and Me, Kid Max
1981 Earthbound Ned Anderson
1982 White Dog Carruthers
1986 Uphill All the Way Sheriff John Catledge
1987 Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story F.W. Woolworth Television
1988 Two Moon Junction Sheriff Earl Hawkins

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Simkin, John. Burl Ives. Spartacus-Educational.com. Spartacus Educational Publishers Ltd. Archived from the original on April 9, 2020. Retrieved on April 9, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ruhlmann, William. Burl Ives | Biography & History. AllMusic. Netaktion LLC. Archived from the original on April 9, 2020. Retrieved on April 9, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
  4. Cole, Betsy (1995-04-17). Eastern mourns Burl Ives' death (PDF). The Daily Eastern News p. 2. The Keep: Institutional Repository of Eastern Illinois University. Archived from the original on April 9, 2020. Retrieved on April 9, 2020.
  5. Severo, Richard (1995-04-15). Burl Ives, the Folk Singer Whose Imposing Acting Won an Oscar, Dies at 85. The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on April 9, 2020. Retrieved on April 9, 2020.
  6. Parish, James Robert; and Michael R. Pitts, eds. "Burl Ives". Hollywood Songsters: Singers Who Act and Actors Who Sing: A Biographical Dictionary. Vol. 2. New York: Routledge, 2003. 403—406.
  7. Ives, Burl (1913–1975). Guide to the Burl Ives Papers, 1913-1975 (PDF). New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts. New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Archived from the original on October 18, 2019. Retrieved on April 9, 2020.

External links[edit | edit source]

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