PALM DESERT, CA--John Bromfield, an athletic, square-jawed actor
who was a solid performer for a dozen years in movies and on TV, but
who ultimately turned his back on fame, died here Sept. 18 of kidney
failure. He was 83. Best remembered from his starring roles in 1950s
TV series "The Sheriff of Cochise" and "U.S. Marshal," MSTies will
recall his memorable turn, in the movie featured in episode 801-
REVENGE OF THE CREATURE, as Joe Hayes, the intrepid, barrel-chested
adventurer who captures the gill-man, cheerfully vies with John Agar
for the affections of Lori Nelson, and is ultimately killed by the
creature as it escapes.
Born Farron Bromfield in South Bend, Ind., he was a standout athlete
in college, where he met his first wife, Grace. Their marriage ended
amicably before Bromfield signed up a hitch in the Navy, where he
came to love the nautical life. He worked steadily as a commercial
fisherman in California, but he also had an interest in acting and
managed to find roles in summer stock productions in the L.A. area,
where he was noticed by Hollywood talent scouts.
One of his first roles was as a detective in classic thriller
"Sorry, Wrong Number." It set the template for much of his career:
He was frequently cast as a hard-nosed, no-nonsense policeman, and
similar authority figures.
He met his second wife, French beauty Corinne Calvet, on the set of
1949's "Rope of Sand." They were married for five years, then
divorced. He then married actress and dancer Larri Thomas, whom he
met on the set of 1956's "Curucu, Beast of the Amazon." They
divorced in 1959, though the two remained friends.
As TV became a fixture, he found roles there too, leading to the
starring role as lawman Frank Morgan, a modern day lawman keeping
the peace in rural Arizona. After two years on the air, in 1958,
Bromfield's character was promoted to U.S. marshal, and the series
retitled to reflect the change--a move designed to broaden Morgan's
beat and allow him to deal with more varied types of crime and
criminals. The show featured guest stars, then early in their
careers, such as Gavin MacLeod, David Janssen, Michael Landon, Stacy
Keach, Charles Bronson, Jack Lord, Doug McClure, Ross Martin and
But when the series ended in 1960, Bromfield walked away from the
limelight. He retired from acting and spent therest of his life as a
commercial fisherman. He married his fourth wife, Mary, in 1962 and
they remained together until his passing.