Help Us Find and Improve Next Week's Connection Profiles: TV Detectives

+28 votes

This coming week, the example profile will be Peter Falk, aka Columbo, born on September 19, 1927.

We're searching for more notable people who have acted as detectives on television to feature alongside Falk. Could you help?

Here are a few we're getting started on:

  • Jack Lord, aka Steve Garrett on Hawaii 5-0 (needs a connection, a picture, and bio work)
  • Telly Savalas, aka Kojak (needs a picture, a connection, and bio work)
  • Raymond Burr, aka Perry Mason
  • John Thaw, aka Inspector Morse (needs a picture, a connection, and bio work)

Can you help with these profiles, or expand their families? Adding relatives in any direction helps with connections.

Who else should we feature? Do they need a profile? We want them all to have a profile image, a good biography, and a connection to the big tree.

We can't feature everyone who has been a detective on TV (we only have room for eight per week), but if we don't feature a profile you work on, we may use it sometime in the future. And, of course, all contributions help improve our shared tree.

We'll make a final decision on which ones to feature early next week.

Thanks for your help!

WikiTree profile: Peter Falk
in The Tree House by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (575k points)
reshown by Chris Whitten

I tell you ……..  PHEW!  cheeky 

I've now added biographies and sources to the profiles making the link. 

I had to take it all the way to his 3-greats-grandfather, because the connection goes through his great-great-grandfather's sister's youngest child's husband, and I couldn't add the great-grand-aunt without a parent to link her to her brother. smiley  (And the great-grand-aunt had 15 kids and I needed to check every one for marriages that might lead to a link.  Wouldn't it have to be child #15!)

Does it have to be a serious show? How about a few comedy detectives?

The stars of Car 54 Where Are You? (no WikiTree profile that I could find)

Or perhaps any of those who played Inspector Jacques Clouseau?

Allan Arkin (still living) (already mentioned elsewhere)

Steve Martin (still living)

We could extend this to Chief Inspector Dreyfuss as well, but I'll stop with the addition of Peter Sellers.
Funny - animated detectives count?

Anyone recall Inch High Private Eye? He was voiced by a comedian named Lenny Weinrib.

Unfortunately, no WikiTree profile that I could find.
About pics - would cropped images found in FamilySearch collections be allowed? I'm thinking of Brazil immigration cards like this one:

(this one is Bruno Crémer, who has no available picture at all, but you get the idea).
Isabelle, This is just my opinion based on reading the familysearch terms of use but I would say no. Their terms read that any images can only be used on non commercial sites or for your personal use and since WikiTree is a commercial for profit site use of any image from familysearch would not be allowed.
Dale, FamilySearch has given WikiTree permission to use their images. (with proper attribution, of course). However this being a 1950s passport from the Brazilian archives complicates things.
I have snipped passport photos out of Family Search documents in the past, although if I remember correctly they were always U.S. Passports. I sure hope they were OK, but typically they were of someone's father or grandfather that I probably wouldn't have been able to get any other easy or reasonable manner.

I sure hope those were OK, as I really doubt I'd be able to find them again.
Perry Mason was a lawyer.

Lincoln, I recently watched a very early Perry Mason movie where he was a detective. I think they changed his occupation for the TV version.

The HBO series presents him as being a private detective, becoming a lawyer by necessity in order to salvage the case he's working on. In this series, he lives on what remains of a dairy farm which has been in his family for at least two prior generations. He is also a veteran of WWI, having been discharged with a "blue ticket" (i.e. with negative connotations), probably because he mercy-killed some comrades who were about to die from a poison gas attack which they were too severely wounded to escape. Mason is also an alcoholic, divorced father who is struggling to maintain ownership of his deceased parents' farm.

Funny you should mention Lennie Weinrib, as I have just created his profile as part of my H.R. Puffnstuff mini-project, trigged by the recent passing of Billie "Witchiepoo" Hayes. He is now Weinrib-21 

Lennie voiced Mayor Puffnstuff as well as the Grimice in the old McDonald's commercials.  

Other Puffnstuff Links

Billie "Witchiepoo" Hayes

Jack "Jimmy" Wild

Joan "Freddie the Flute" Gerber 

[These profiles are all in their infancy and are all unconnected. I won't get to them for a little while but I welcome participation from any fans who want to get a jump start on them.]    


25 Answers

+16 votes
Not really a TV detective , but he was in 14 Hollywood films as Sherlock Holmes :  Basil Rathbone:
by Joe Farler G2G6 Pilot (135k points)
I was just going to mention him
+21 votes

I'll start a profile for Joan Hickson, OBE, who portrayed Miss Marple. I'm sure I'll need help from English researchers! I've added the Notables project and will happily add the England project if that's better.

by Karen Lowe G2G6 Pilot (157k points)
edited by Karen Lowe
I’ve connected her to the tree via her mother who is 17 steps from William Bligh. Her own connections should show up tomorrow.
Amazing! I was looking at her husband's Butler ancestors.
+16 votes
Patrick Macnee played Steed in the tv series, The Avengers.

[ ]

Jean Gabin played Maigret in 3 movies. [é-1 ]
by Karen Gunn G2G6 Mach 1 (16.1k points)
I would add Diana Rigg, but she is happily still alive.
I would add Diana Rigg, but she is happily still alive.


Apparently no longer.

Honor Blackman also died a few months ago.
The Avengers were supposed to be spies rather than detectives, but as long as they did investigative work, it's probably OK.

Diana Rigg:

Honor Blackman:

Diana Rigg also played a detective in the Mrs Bradley Mysteries, so she would qualify.

+13 votes

How about the TV Detective who played McCloud:

Dennis Weaver

How about Mannix's detective Joe Mannix:

Krekkor Ohanian (aka Mike Connors)

How about the 1957 Perry Mason's private detective, Paul Drake:

William Hopper

How about the guy who played Cannon in the TV Series:

William Conrad

Here's the guy from the Father Dowling Mysteries:

Thomas Bosley

And the guy who played Barnaby Jones:

Buddy Ebsen

by Scott Fulkerson G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)

Sadly, I couldn't find a profile for Lt. Philip Gerard from the Fugitive:

Barry Morse (Wikipedia)

Almost forgot McMillan and Wife:

Rock Hudson

and a living co-star, so we can't use her here.
Almost forgot about the star of Peter Gunn, Craig Stevens:
There's also the lead from Banacek (1972-1974 tv series):
Hi Scott,

Since you listed Buddy Ebsen I saw his primary photo that included Irene Ryan who played Granny Moses on The Beverly Hillbillies.

I created a profile for her and made the same photo her primary photo. She was a sleuth in her nosey way.

Dash Dwyer
I think she already had a profile:

You might see if you can set up a merge.
+10 votes
I was able to add a brother for Raymond Burr, and a few sources to his parents' profiles.
by Dale Mutter G2G6 Mach 5 (55.6k points)
+19 votes

Baantjer is a Dutch television programme which was broadcast from 6 October 1995 until 1 December 2006 for a total of 123 episodes in 12 seasons. It stars Piet Römer as Jurriaan 'Jurre' de Cock, a police detective.

by Living Terink G2G6 Pilot (276k points)
edited by Living Terink
Baantjer het is!!

Thank you, Astrid!
I'd love to see him used, if you all can find a connection and a picture!

The picture will be the easiest one Abby! laugh

I can help expand his family; but, it won't be as nicely sourced as when it's done by someone Dutch.
Thank you so much, Isabelle! Your sources are perfectly OK!

Isabelle, the best way to learn is by doing. And working together is also: Helping/showing eachother. Like at the Thon's

And you are very good so no worries!

We love to show you the next step if you ever need, what I doubt. laugh

Thank you for offering help! heart

I can't wait to add Piet Römer to WT. He did not only play in Baantjer but he is the TV and film actor of my youth.

The time we sat on the couch at Saturday night with the whole family watching tv. All freshly bathed, stove on, dad and mum taking care, pyama's on........laugh

He's connected!! Well, he should show as connected after tomorrow morning's update... Now I've got to clean up the profiles I created along the path :D
Great, Isabelle, you are a star!
Wow - very nice work!
Thank you Isabelle!
+15 votes

Tatort (Crime scene) is a German language police procedural television with episodes broadcast from 1981 to 1991 starring George Götz portraying proletarian police officer Horst Schimanski, who eventually became a cult figure in Germany.

by Living Terink G2G6 Pilot (276k points)
He is (first name/last name) Götz George. His father was also an actor, also in movies that were shot during the Nazi-time.
+10 votes

Anthony Marcus Shalhoub as Adrian Monk

by Elwood Hoyt G2G Crew (500 points)
Disqualified due to life.
+13 votes

It would be an absolute travesty not to include the original TV detective, Sgt. Joe Friday on Dragnet, played by Jack Webb:  "Just the facts, ma'am."  It was actually on radio before TV.  Jack Webb "was buried with full honors befitting an LAPD detective, including a 17-gun salute.  Not only did the Los Angeles Police Department use Dragnet (1951) episodes as training films for a time, it also named a police academy auditorium after Webb."Source

I've started adding sources to his profile.  All connections are via one of his wives; I'm 25 degrees from him.  I've looked for an easy way to connect his direct ancestry to the big tree but haven't found one yet.  I'll always have a soft spot for Joe Friday.

by Kerry Larson G2G6 Pilot (192k points)

I agree Kerry... and must also include his sidekick , Harry Morgan as Officer Bill Gannon.

Is Harry's picture public domain?  (It looks to be about the same era as John Thaw's RADA one.)
Thanks Scott !! Hey look I'm 22 degrees from both of them, different lines of course.  I was only checking relationships. before.. as seems like I'm connected to most everyone :)  We need a Norway expert for Harry Morgan, please. Getting late here in the US but if no one else jumps in I will do some investigation tomorrow on Jack Webb's  lines see if I can get something connected.
I took a look at that picture, Melanie, and honestly, I'm not sure. I'll dig into it a bit more. I didn't see any copyright info on the picture or on the site it came from, but I didn't look too hard. I did notice that Wikipedia chose a different photo, but that doesn't necessarily mean the one we have is copyrighted and used without permission.
Well, if the image on the profile proves problematic, the one on Wikipedia is public domain.

(I'm wondering, given the notice for Harry's Wikipedia image, if the 1960 RADA one for John Thaw might not fall under the same rule - - published between 1925 and 1977, has no visible copyright marking, or year of publication, or name of copyright owner : therefore public domain.)

So, I spent this afternoon working on the research Jack Webb's family to try to get him connected.  Sadly, it's not getting back very far.  I have solid records back to his great grandparent Pleasant Willis Webb 30 AUG 1818 • Benton, Polk, Tennessee, USA  and Miriam Pannel.  And then he had a second wife Mary Catherine Runion.  After that it is scarce for records.  Possible parents of Pleasant, Willis Webb and Ann Vaught of Halifax, North Carolina.  All of these need profiles past his parents.  And I find not a single connection to the big tree.  I am going to add what I found,  but  if someone else has more research.  Otherwise, it's going to be hard to use him for a connection profile.

+16 votes

We shouldn't forget that Isabelle has done a lot of work on Dame Margaret Taylor Rutherford, DBE who also played Miss Marple.

I wonder if folks should upvote either this post or Joan Hickson's in case they can't both be included? I may just have to get a Britbox subscription to watch some films.

by Karen Lowe G2G6 Pilot (157k points)
Not sure if they'd be problematic due to this being "television" and not "movies", but I do agree that those who have played this role are memorable.

@ Scott -- Abby did say that film would be ok, when replying to Isabelle :

Isabelle, any TV detectives who do (or film, really). But I am not familiar with those outside the Anglo realm so, other WikiTreers will have to help find them.
Darn - I missed that one. Thanks for pointing it out! :)
+13 votes

How about Jules Maigret?

We could feature Jean Richard or Bruno Cremer.

by Karen Lowe G2G6 Pilot (157k points)
edited by Karen Lowe
I would love to see one actor who portrayed Maigret featured - Cremer (my favorite in the role), Jean Richard or even Gabin, though he only played him in movies. They are unfortunately all very tricky to connect. I would rule out Cremer as finding a usable photo and connecting him in such a sort time seems impossible. I checked them on Roglo and Jean Richard is perhaps the less difficult to connect.
Jean Richard is connected now - and the profile has a good picture (showing him as Maigret). I guess he'd be a better fit than Jean Poiret.

Bruno Cremer is also connected and we have some options for his image. Which actor do we prefer to feature?

To speak only of France, while Jean Richard made a fine Maigret and was quite popular, Bruno Cremer's performance made the older Maigret series look immediately outdated and he's arguably the most emblematic "Maigret". Also... His maternal ancestry is already more developed on WikiTree than I've seen anywhere else.

But either would be great :-)
+10 votes
Diana Riggs died at age 82 years yesterday. How about 'The Avengers?'
by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (728k points)
[[Rigg-471|Dame Diana Rigg]]
+8 votes
was going to say someone but they are already mentioned
by Living Palmer G2G6 Mach 9 (92.3k points)
+8 votes
Hercule Poirot is another character that has been played by a number of actors: (in 1931) (in 1965) (six times starting in 1978) (in 1989)

I'd have to hunt their WikiTree profiles - I'm pretty sure Tony Randall and Peter Ustinov have profiles at least.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
And another character, Charlie Chan:

Primarily played by:

But also by:

And same link as above for Peter Ustinov, who played both Poirot and Chan.
I think I linked Ustinov earlier.
Yeah - he's played a lot of roles, and I think a pretty decent number of detective roles of some sort or another.

I did -- (has picture, is connected, could do with bio being better fleshed out)



This is one profile I'm not butting in on, so someone else will need to "flesh it out". smiley

(I'm still trying to connect Thaw .. and am currently checking New Zealand!) 

Here is the profile for Sidney Toler:
+10 votes

Sir Roger Moore and Tony Curtis in The Persuaders!. Moore's profile would need to be opened. (And Tony Curtis's bio looks like it was crudely pasted from Wikipedia).

by Isabelle Martin G2G6 Pilot (489k points)
edited by Isabelle Martin
+10 votes
by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (262k points)

Here is John Hillerman's profile. He is a cousin of author Tony Hillerman, who was featured with John Buchan a couple of weeks ago. It's likely his biography is blunt copy-paste and needs work.

+7 votes
Here's a great one :  Benjamin Sherman Crothers who voiced crime fighter "Hong Kong Phooey" .

He has a photo and bio but needs connecting.  Maybe the US Black Heritage Project could help ?
by Joe Farler G2G6 Pilot (135k points)
+6 votes
I've been looking into Telly Savalas. His connection appears to have to travel through a living person. I haven't found a connection as of yet, but so far here's what I've got:

His parents came from Greece, and I really don't have anything further on them - no grandparents (basic names and such, but nothing to connect with), no Aunts/Uncles, so no marriages to even attempt at that level.

His brothers all have married living wives, even though all his brothers have passed away. His sister is still alive and I've got pretty limited info on her.

His first wife passed away, but her parents were from Cyprus and very limited info on them.His children are still alive and there's a little info on them (marriages, their children and such).

I'm hesitant to put living profiles in place unless I'm certain of a connection, so while I've got lots of information sitting around at the moment that I could add, none of them have lead to a connection as of yet.

If anyone wants to work with me on this, I don't mind sharing a bit more detailed information, but I'd rather not start by sharing large amounts of information on living persons on G2G as it would violate privacy rules, even though all of this information came from public sources.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
I do have one promising link - Charles Emery/Emory Townsend, born 31 May 1914 - died 10 November 1989 (likely died in Virginia). Wife - Mary Constantine - born 18 December 1923 in Virginia - died 30 November 2010 in Virginia. Mary's parents were from Greece, so I suspect that may be a bit of a dead end (although she had lots of brothers and sisters, so that's a possible avenue too).

But if I can find Charles' parents, I might be onto a good chain to follow. Charles information can be found here:

His "residence" is Norfolk, Virginia when they married in 1942. However, there's a potential merge record that shows he could have been born in Texas.

But the connection between the two is VERY iffy. If it's true, then parents listed for the first Charles (W.M. Townsend and Fannie Townsend - from the marriage info) could match up well with the second Charles (William Marion Townsend and Fannie Keith - from the second record). Sadly, we don't have a matching William Marion Townsend in WikiTree, but it's a start if we can prove it. Just not enough evidence in the two records for me to comfortably merge them at this time.
If we can determine these two are the same, I think I can get a connection to this one:

I'll come back to this a bit later.
Found another connection point before I wandered away. If this other family is his, then there's a brother (Marvin Lance Townsend) who married a Mortia Helen Constantine (looks like Mary's sister) - so possibly another push towards these two being the same...
After reviewing everything, this does appear to be the same person, so I should be able to get a connection in place. It will involve 3 living profiles, but as I said, I doubt I'll find one at the moment that wouldn't have at least one.
OK - only 2 living profiles but once the links update tonight, Telly Savales should be connected to the global tree.
Wonderful work, Scott! Good to hear he'll be connected.
I'm with Isabelle -- great work!  :)
+5 votes

I just had a look at Karl Malden, as he starred in the Streets of San Francisco. But he has to be connected first, and that won't be easy with his Serbian ancestry. 

by Jelena Eckstädt G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+5 votes
I'll try my best.
by Beverly Ahrens G2G6 Mach 7 (73.1k points)

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