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post Ted Markland, January 15, 1933 – December 18, 2011

January 15th, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:57 pm

Ted Markland as Reno in The High Chaparral

Veteran character actor Ted Markland of Yucca Valley, CA, died December 18, 2011 at the age of 78. He is survived by his son Erin and his long time companion Carol Vogel.

The son of an Army colonel, Markland began his entertainment career as a stand-up comedian. With a stream-of-consciousness, rapid-fire style reminiscent of a prototype Robin Williams, he attracted the attention of the legendary Lenny Bruce and under Bruce’s management worked top nightclubs in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In every line of work luck plays a part, but nowhere is this elusive break more critical than the world of acting. Markland got his big break while doing stand-up at the Toubadour in L.A. David Dortort, busy creating a follow up to his NBC-TV hit series Bonanza, was looking to cast series regulars for his next big thing, The High Chaparral. Markland, in an interview, still described the event with excitement 40 years later. “It was during my stand-up comedy days at the Troubador. I had worked for him before, so he knew me from Restless Gun. I was doing my nightclub act, and he stopped in after the show to say hello. He said, ‘Listen, how would you like to work regular, and be a regular on the show?’” Markland knew better than to check the gift horse’s dental work. “I said, ‘Aw no, I can’t do that. Of COURSE I’ll do that, what do you mean!’ It was great, he said, ‘I’ll be calling you,’ and he did, he got in touch with my agent and all that, and the rest of what happened is sort of history. Bonanza, Chaparral, they’re just perfect.”

Tall and good looking with long hair, Markland was a favorite with teenagers who visited The High Chaparral set at Tucson. During costuming he chose a shirt that fit 1870’s cowboy Arizona, but was also perfect for looking cool in the late 1960’s. “The fringe looked great – it was ‘in’, the thing to wear” he said. “I used to cut off pieces for the kids who came to see us shoot because they wanted a souvenir, They were all so nice to send us fan letters. I had big boxes and sacks of letters. It means a lot to an actor to get those, so when they visited and asked I always tried to give them something.”

But snipping off pieces of his assigned costume created headaches for wardrobe. “It drove them nuts,” Markland said. “I finally asked the head wardrobe guy to just give me a big long piece of the fringe, so I could cut off pieces to give to the fans. “

Ted Markland

Ted Markland

Markland worked steadily through the 1960’s and ‘70’s, in series television and film such as Another 48 Hours with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte, and Wanda Nevada with Peter Fonda and Brooke Shields. He was married on the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with Jack Nicholson as his best man, and compared hangovers with Burt Lancaster on Ulanza’s Raid.

But his interests and heart ranged well beyond acting. Rejecting his Catholic upbringing early he became a spiritual seeker. Tibetan Buddhism, American Indian spirituality, mysticism and flying saucer studies all combined to lead him to Joshua Tree National Monument in California and a sacramental meal of peyote.

“The first time I was out here,” Markland says, “I was fasting at the base of a mountain, and I climbed up quite a ways. Suddenly, my hair almost stood up on end; it was very much like a religious experience. I thought, ‘I’d better say a prayer,’ but I didn’t really know how to pray. So I just said, ‘Thank you. Thank you for my life.’ And I hear this sound, like a horn or siren, and I looked up, and there’s like a rainbow, I guess. Just a round thing with a lot of energy coming out of it. I pretended I didn’t see it, and then in my mind, I heard the words, ‘You’re welcome.’ There’s a picture taken right after I came off the mountain, and you can very clearly see that something profound has just happened to me.”

After this he was driven to turn on friends to his mountain experience. That experience meant visiting the Joshua Tree mountain that would come to be known as Ted’s Mountain, fasting, cleansing and often peyote. Gram Parsons came to sit in the swivel chair Ted hauled up to the top, as did Timothy Leary, John Barrymore, Jr., Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Steve McQueen, Jack Nicholson, Donovan. One inside story that’s gained the status of hippie-culture legend says the Easy Rider scene where Nicholson riffs on UFO’s and a Venusian invasion is based on an experience at Ted’s Mountain.

“Leary’s wedding, we had that here,” Markland remembered. More legends abound about that event, with tales of LSD being served like snacks.

“I’ve been up there with friends meditating,” Markland said, “and we heard this huge sound, like a crack! There was this light, we couldn’t tell what it was — maybe an angel, who knows? — and my friends looked at me and said, ‘Do it again.’

In his later years Markland’s relationships with his fans, particularly fans of The High Chaparral, was meaningful to him and he attended every fan-based event he could. “You wouldn’t believe all the cards I get from fans, it’s wonderful. I go to every show I can. Seeing people, talking to people, it’s important.”

Ted Markland

One of Ted’s favorite roles was his character in Wanda Nevada

Ted Markland was honored with a marker at the Walk of Fame in Kanab, Utah in 2010. His filmography includes:

1. 2007 The Benvenuti Family (TV series)
2. 2006 Cyxork 7
3. 2003 Fabulous Shiksa in Distress
4. 1997 Switchback
5. 1997 Ground Rules
6. 1996/7 Last Man Standing
7. 1995 Wild Bill
8. 1995 Bonanza: Under Attack (TV movie)
9. 1995 Blood Ring 2
10. 1995 The Friends of Harry
11. 1995 Guns and Lipstick
12. 1994 Baywatch (TV series)
13. 1994 Confessions of a Hitman
14. 1994 The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (TV series)
15. 1994/I The Outsider
16. 1993 American Kickboxer 2
17. 1993 Live by the Fist
18. 1993 Renegade (TV series)
19. 1993 Merlin
20. 1991 Murder, She Wrote (TV series)
21. 1987-1991 Hunter (TV series)
22. 1990 Enemy
23. 1990 Another 48 Hrs.
24. 1990 Catchfire
25. 1989 Liberty & Bash
26. 1981-1989 Falcon Crest (TV series)
27. 1988 Santa Barbara (TV series)
28. 1988 Colors
29. 1987 Best Seller
30. 1983-1987 Simon & Simon (TV series)
31. 1986 Eye of the Tiger
32. 1986 T.J. Hooker (TV series)
33. 1980-1984 The Dukes of Hazzard (TV series)
34. 1983 The A-Team (TV series)
35. 1983 Hill Street Blues (TV series)
36. 1983 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (TV series)
37. 1982 Knight Rider (TV series)
38. 1982 Father Murphy (TV series)
39. 1982 Cagney & Lacey (TV series)
40. 1981 Hardcase (TV movie)
41. 1981 Sizzle (TV movie)
42. 1981 She’s in the Army Now (TV movie)
43. 1981 King of the Mountain
44. 1978-1980 The Incredible Hulk (TV series)
45. 1979 Dallas (TV series)
46. 1979 Wanda Nevada
47. 1978 Hawaii Five-O (TV series)
48. 1978 The Rockford Files (TV series)
49. 1978 How the West Was Won (TV mini-series)
50. 1977 Charlie’s Angels (TV series)
51. 1977 The Red Hand Gang (TV series)
52. 1977 Which Way Is Up?
53. 1977 Logan’s Run (TV series)
54. 1977 Relentless (TV movie)
55. 1977 The Hostage Heart (TV movie)
56. 1977 The Great Gundown 1976 Fighting Mad
57. 1976 Doomsday Machine
58. 1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
59. 1973 Hec Ramsey (TV series)
60. 1973 Jory
61. 1972 Ulzana’s Raid
62. 1972 Welcome Home, Soldier Boys
63. 1972 Play It Again, Sam
64. 1971 The Last Movie
65. 1971 The Hired Hand
66. 1970 Nanny and the Professor (TV series)
67. 1967-1969 The High Chaparral (TV series)
68. 1968 Angels from Hell
69. 1968 Blackbeard’s Ghost
70. 1967 Waterhole #3
71. 1967 The Invaders (TV series)
72. 1966 Bonanza (TV series)
73. 1965 The Wild Wild West (TV series)
74. 1965 12 O’Clock High (TV series)
75. 1965 The Hallelujah Trail
76. 1961 Outlaws (TV series)
77. 1961 The Great Impostor
78. 1960 Tate (TV series)
79. 1959-1960 Have Gun – Will Travel (TV series)
80. 1959-1960 Bourbon Street Beat (TV series)
81. 1960 Bat Masterson (TV series)
82. 1959 The Man from Blackhawk (TV series)
83. 1959 Mike Hammer (TV series)
84. 1959 Buckskin (TV series)
85. 1959 Highway Patrol (TV series)
86. 1958 The Restless Gun (TV series)
87. 1958 The Rough Riders (TV series)

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