18 Tales from the Life of American Legend Johnny Cash
18 Tales from the Life of American Legend Johnny Cash

18 Tales from the Life of American Legend Johnny Cash

Larry Holzwarth - September 21, 2018

18 Tales from the Life of American Legend Johnny Cash
Kris Kristofferson (far left with guitar) and Johnny Cash worked on several projects together, including made-for-television movies including a remake of the 1939 classic Stagecoach. Wikimedia

18. He gained respect as a serious actor in movies made for television

Besides his work as the host of his own show, Johnny Cash gained critical acclaim for acting performances in several made-for-television movies, as well as being a guest star in both mini-series and episodic television. His first appearance in film was in 1961, in the noir film Five Minutes to Live. It was not well received. In 1971 Cash appeared with Kirk Douglas in The Gunfight, a film paid for by the Jicarilla Apache tribe, in which he shared top billing, but the film did little at the box office. He also did narration for a 2003 film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio del Toro, as well as voiceover work in other films of a documentary nature.

But in television he demonstrated his considerable acting ability, in both sit-coms and episodes of crime dramas, including a well-received episode of Columbo in 1974, and another on Little House on the Prairie in 1976. He was in the miniseries North and South, portraying abolitionist John Brown during the build-up to the American Civil War. He produced and starred in the television films The Pride of Jesse Hallam; The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James (as Frank James); and a remake of the film Stagecoach, in which he played Curly Rogers. He made several appearances on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and also appeared in a voiceover on The Simpsons, as Space Coyote. He had many other roles, throughout his successful career on the small screen.


Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Cash: The Autobiography”. Johnny Cash. 1997

“The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love, and Faith of an American Legend”. Steven Turner. 2005

“How Sam Phillips Discovered the Sound of Rock and Roll”. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics Magazine. August 15, 2016

“Johnny Cash’s first wife tells of romance, heartbreak”. Brett Johnson, VC Star. October 26, 2016

“The Time Johnny Cash Set Fire to a National Forest”. Johnny Whiteside, LA Weekly. June 13, 2014

“Tales From the Morgue: The Man in Black (mail)”. Trish Long, El Paso Times, April 25, 2008

“Sam Phillips: The Rolling Stone Interview”. Elizabeth Kaye, Rolling Stone Magazine. February 13, 1986

“I Was There When It Happened: My Life With Johnny Cash”. Marshall Grant. 2006

“Root of Cash’s hit tunes”. Robert Hilburn. The Los Angeles Times. August 22, 2006

“Christgau’s Consumer Guide”. Robert Christgau, The Village Voice. February 23, 1988

“The Time Johnny Cash was Arrested in Walker County”. Jerry Summers, Times Free Press. July 24, 2016

“The stories of Johnny Cash”. Todd Leopold, CNN Entertainment. December 31, 2013

“Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan Tape TV Number in Nashville”. Patrick Thomas, Rolling Stone Magazine. June 1, 1969

“Johnny Cash and his prison reform campaign”. Danny Robins, BBC World News Service. January 23, 2013

“Johnny Cash Risked His Career to Take a Stand”. Antonini D’Ambrosio, The New York Times. August 27, 2014

“Flashback: See Johnny Cash’s Style-Defining ‘Man in Black’ in 1971”. Stephen L. Betts, Rolling Stone Country, February 16, 2016. Online

“Johnny Cash, Trend Chaser”. Noah Berlatsky, The Atlantic. March 26, 2014

“For Johnny Cash, Billy Graham was friend and confidant”. Juli Thanki, USA Today Network, Tennessean. February 21, 2018

“Rewind: The Uneven Acting Legacy of Johnny Cash”. Kurt Heitmueller, MTV online. November 14, 2005