Jason Evers - Rotten Tomatoes

Jason Evers

Lowest Rated:   23% The Green Berets (1968)
Birthplace:   Not Available
Most filmgoers and television viewers know Jason Evers for his performances on such series as The Guns of Will Sonnett, movies like The Green Berets, and guest-starring roles on programs such as Star Trek ("Wink of an Eye"). In reality, the actor has had a much longer career than those movie and television credits rooted in the 1960s and 1970s. Born Herbert Evers in the Bronx, NY, in 1922, he was the son of a theatrical ticket agent. Evers left De Witt Clinton High School before graduation in order to pursue an acting career and landed an apprenticeship with the Ethel Barrymore Colt Jitney Players, with whom he toured the country for two years at the end of the 1930s. In the early '40s, he was signed up by producer Brock Pemberton, who cast him in his breakthrough part, as Pvt. Dick Lawrence in the play Janie. That play established Evers as a handsome male ingenue, of a type similar to contemporaries such as Van Heflin, Van Johnson, and Bill Williams. He subsequently endured a series of flop plays, as well as two years in uniform. After returning to civilian life, Evers resumed his career, principally in road company productions, including a tour of I Am a Camera with Veronica Lake. By then Evers was married to actress Shirley Ballard and the two frequently found themselves struggling financially between roles. Strangely enough, their marriage ended just at a point when the two were working together in a successful Broadway play entitled Fair Game. By 1960, Evers was ready to make the jump to the potentially greener pastures of the West Coast, and possible film work. He landed the leading role in a summer replacement television series called Wrangler, portraying a rugged, laconic cowboy. In the bargain, he also traded in his first name for the smoother and more manly Jason Evers. The series wasn't picked up for the regular season but Evers was on the map, his new name and image working very much in his favor. Jason Evers was a fresh name and face, and he had also acquired an intense, edgy quality, in sharp contrast to the callow handsomeness of his image in the 1940s and 1950s. Herbert Evers seemed a slightly bland leading man, but Jason Evers, in name and image, conveyed intensity and even danger. He did a few small movie roles at the outset of the decade, and then got the only starring screen role of his career -- unfortunately, the latter was in the horror thriller The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962). The actor -- credited as Herb Evers -- played a scientist obsessed with the idea of keeping the severed head of his fiancée alive. Luckily, no one of any consequence in the entertainment industry ever saw the film (which has since been embraced by bad-movie cultists, and has turned up on Mystery Science Theater 3000), or tied "Herb Evers" up with Jason Evers. In 1964, he got another crack at a series with Channing, a topical drama set at a university -- a kind of collegiate answer to Mr. Novak -- co-starring Henry Jones. That program failed to find an audience, but by then, Evers was making a massive number of guest-star appearances, on series as different as Gunsmoke and Star Trek, often playing villains. He also played important supporting roles in feature films, including an excellent performance in The Green Berets, as the doomed Captain Coleman, the outgoing commander of the forward base where John Wayne's Colonel Kirby tries to make a stand. Evers landed what was arguably his best television role on the series The Guns of Will Sonnett, portraying Jim Sonnett, the gunslinger who is the object of a search through the West by his father (Walter Brennan) and son (Dack Rambo). Evers was perfect as Jim Sonnett, grim and taciturn and, yet, beneath his nasty veneer as a tired veteran gunman, concerned for the well-being of his father and son once he knows they are looking for him. The only problem with the role was that he hardly ever got to play it -- as the object of the quest at the center of the series' plot, he only actually

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