GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- A private funeral was held Thursday for veteran film and television actor Rod Cameron who was once rejected by the Canadian Northwest Mounted Police only to become a Hollywood cowboy. He was 73.
The rugged, 6-foot-4 Canadian-born actor died Wednesday at Lanier Park Hospital following an extended illness.
Cameron got his start in films in 1940 and appeared in dozens of movies and television shows over the next few decades.
He began his career as an understudy for Fred MacMurray, landed a role in the 1943 film 'Gung Ho,' then starred with such actresses as Yvonne DeCarlo and Maria Montez in 'Pirates of Monterey' and 'Frontier Gal.'
Cameron went on to appear in numerous westerns, including 'Boss of Boomtown,' Trigger Trail' and 'Riders of the Santa Fe.'
'I got on a horse and that was my big mistake,' Cameron said in a 1979 interview. 'I didn't even know how to ride a horse when I came to Los Angeles. Even after I did 400 episodes on three different detective series, 'Coronado Nine,' 'City Detective' and 'State Trooper,' casting directors would say 'Oh yes, Rod Cameron, the cowboy.''
Cameron, born Roderick Cox on Dec. 7, 1910, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, moved to the United States after being rejected by the Northwest Mounted Police because of an injury.
He moved to New York, got a job building the Holland Tunnel between New York and New Jersey, and worked just long enough to buy a train ticket to California to make a name for himself in movies.
Cameron had difficulty winning movie roles and earned his living in construction and later as an engineer. A friend finally helped him earn a bit part in 'The Old Maid' with Bette Davis. To his dismay, all his parts were cut from the movie.
His other film credits include 'Salome, Where She Danced,' 'Frontier Gal,' 'The Runaround' and 'Evil Knievel' in 1971.
Cameron went into semi-retirement in 1979 and made his home in Gainesville.
He is survived by his wife and a son.