Paul Fix is an actor you should know. With well over 300 movie and television credits, he may be best-known for his role as Marshal Micah Torrance on the “Rifleman” 1958-1963 television series. However, he was much more. A quality actor that was never overstated and adapted to the roles as they changed over time. Fix was born in New York to German immigrants. His father was a brew-mister but he as well as Fix’s mother died before World War II. At the age of 17, he was sent to live with him married sisters.
At the age of 17 he joined the US Navy and was active in World War I. Fix was an able-bodied seaman (untrained but could be used for any job on the ship) on the troopship U.S.S. Mount Vernon. His ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the French coast. Fortunately, the ship ran aground and did not sink. Following the war, Fix married his girlfriend who was known as Taddy. The couple moved to California where Fix was able to find work in traveling theater. During this time he became friends with Clark Gable. Fix’s first credited role came in 1928 in The First Kiss (1928). This film starred Gary Cooper and Fay Wray.
In 1926, Taddy gave birth to the first of four children. This child Marilyn would eventually marry Harry Carey, Jr. joining the Fix clan with the leading family in westerns. As a result, the Fix family became part of the John Ford group. This, of course, put him on track to run into John Wayne. It is rumored Fix taught John Wayne his famous rolling gait or walking style. Starting in 1931 Wayne and Fix appeared in no less than 26 movies together. Wayne the big star knew how to reward his friends.
Out of the over 100 movies, Fix was in it is hard to pick a favorite. Fix stated that some of his favorite roles were the sick airplane passenger in The High and The Mighty (1954) with John Wayne, the father of Elizabeth Taylor in Giant (1956), the grandfather in The Bad Seed (1956), and judge in the classic To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). I am personally more partial to some of his smaller roles such as Dr. Tom Witherspoon in Shenandoah (1965) with Jimmy Stewart where he cares for Stewart’s family while he worries about his own son fighting at Gettysburg.
Of course Fix is better known for his role on as the kind but efficient Marshal Micah Torrance on the Rifleman (1958-1963) television series. Or his role as Dr. Mark Piper in the Star Trek second pilot “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” When the series was pickup by the network the role was given to DeForest Kelley who remained the chief medical officer throughout the series and six films. Kelly and Fix were also cast in one of the all-time great bad movies – Night of the Lepus (1972).
So take the time to get to know the actor Paul Fix, an actor you should know.