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Steve Kanaly

Steve Kanaly

World War II was finally over, families long separated reunited and the baby boom was officially on. Steven Francis Kanaly was born on March 14, 1946 in as Johnny Carson often joked, "Beautiful Downtown Burbank." Steve grew up in the rural San Fernando Valley and enjoyed a happy and busy childhood in a working class neighborhood where he attended public school.  Having survived the depression, rationing and the war, Steve's conservative parents made sure their son understood the value of a dollar encouraging him to work selling eggs from a neighborhood feed store, delivering newspapers on his bike or by mowing lawns with an old push mower for fifty cents per lawn!  He enjoyed scouting, body surfing at the beach, and camping and fishing with his family.  Artistic development began early with courses in painting, drawing, music lessons and piano recitals in the school orchestra.  Steve was the co-captain and an all league defensive player for the Van Nuys High School football team graduating in1964 with plans to pursue a career in advertising design.

Steve Kanaly and daughter Quinn
Steve Kanaly and daughter Quinn

The Vietnam War put his college plans on hold but provided a catalyst for future.  Steve served in the U.S. Army as an infantry radio operator attached to the First Air Cavalry and as he says "spent a lot of time camping out in some very tough country." Life in the combat zone taught Steve many lessons but the one he took to heart was how fortunate we as Americans are to be born in a free country where every citizen can pursue their dream and where even the loftiest goals are attainable.  Having survived the ultimate test, Steve was anxious to get on with his life and determined to make up for lost time.  He returned to college on the G.I Bill, bought a car, rented a small house with friend [cinematographer, Jan Kiesser] and stumbled on to a fateful job that would ultimately change the course of his life.

Steve worked as the manager and shooting instructor of a small trap and skeet range.  Screenwriter and fellow shooter John Milius, was in the process of writing the epic war drama "Apocalypse Now" for Warner Bros.  Realizing that Steve's combat expertise would add authentic detail to his script he enlisted Steve as a technical advisor.  On Milius referral he would soon meet the legendary film director, John Huston, and be offered an acting role in "The Life and Times Of Judge Roy Bean" starring Paul Newman... without an audition!  "I told Mr. Huston that if he didn't mind that I had never acted before, I thought that I could do it."

Steve credits his successful acting career to abundant good luck and plenty of hard work.  "I was like a sponge on my first film, there wasn't one job on that crew or one actor that I couldn't learn from" A one week minor role evolved into a supporting lead and three months of invaluable lessons.   He enrolled in a respected actors workshop and worked hard to develop his technique but nearly reached the bottom of his bank account before he landed his next role.  Steve's sensitive portrayal of "Pretty Boy Floyd" in the film "Dillinger" received wide acclaim and lead to films with Steven Spielberg on "Sugarland Express," Michael Crieghton on the "Terminal Man", and with Henry Fonda on Sergio Leone's "My Name is Nobody." Television followed with roles on popular series, made for television movies and his first television series, written and produced by Stephen J Cannell, "City of Angels".  "Wayne Rodgers played a Sam Spade type detective and I was Sergeant William Parker, it was a 30's period setting in Los Angeles and I thought it was going to be a big hit...oops! It was cancelled after six episodes.  Leading roles in the classic war film "Midway" and the epic romantic adventure "The Wind and the Lion" took the edge off losing a TV series.  

"One day my agent called to say that C.B.S. wanted me to audition for a show called "Dallas," that they hadn't cast anyone yet and I could be right for any of the three male roles, J.R., Bobby or Ray." Steve was immediately hooked on the role of Southfork Ranch foreman Ray Krebbs and the producers felt the same the same way.  Contracts were signed and the production company rushed off to film on location in Big "D".  The ensemble of actors hit it off right from the start and all agreed that there was something magical about the first five shows but were sad to think that they would probably never work together again. WRONG!  Dallas went on to become one of the giants of television history creating a whole new genre of primetime drama and setting viewing and rating records around the world for thirteen years. 

Steve launched his "hyphen" career as a film director during his years on Dallas and then continued as a director of his next television series, "Okavango" while filming on location in South Africa.  "Directing Dallas was like driving a Ferrari in the Grand Prix while Okavango was more like an off road adventure in a Dune Buggy, both exciting but for different reasons."  "Sliding Home" Steve's directorial debut in feature films was set in rural Wisconsin and featured plenty of action, romance, and fast pitch softball.        

 Steve continues to pursue his career in all fields of film and television production.  He and his wife of twenty=five years, Brent, enjoy a quiet country lifestyle on their ranch in Ojai, California, where they raise avocados and oranges.   His highly regarded watercolor paintings are shown in local galleries and are often the prize auction item at many of the charitable events that Steve donates his time and talent to throughout each year.  Steve's interest in the arts, shooting sports, fishing, and a daily singles tennis match with Brent keep him healthy and active between film projects.  And just in case things around the ranch get a little boring, there's Jake and Buddy, the Kanaly's twin Jack Russell Terriers to liven things up.  

Art work

This is a painting of Matilja Creek in the Los Padres National Forest just a few miles from our ranch in Ojai, California. It is 18 inches by 24 inches, painted in transparent watercolor. I paint out doors and prefer natural settings in the mountains and the seashore. Watercolors are my first choice because they travel conveniently and can go anywhere. Many times I will sketch in the field and then complete the larger more complex paintings in the studio"

"A more recent painting following a storm at the coast in Big Sur California.  The painting is 16" x 20".  I painted it, along with two smaller studies painted at the same location, to be sold at auction to benefit developmentally disabled at a fundraiser that I am attending in Abilene Texas"


Filmography

Doing Dallas (2000) (TV)  Himself/Ray Krebbs 

Intimate Portrait: Victoria Principal (1998) (TV) Himself 
The Cowboy and the Movie Star (1998) (TV) Frank Dumas 
Dallas: War of the Ewings (1998) (TV)  Raymond "Ray" Krebbs 
The Marksmen  (1997) Hank Madden 
Scorpio One  (1997)  Commander Wilson 
The Last Chance Detectives: Escape from Fire Lake (1996) (TV) .... ......Sheriff Smitty 
Midnight Blue (1996) (as Steven Kanaly) .... Collier 
Fire on the Mountain (1996) Narrator 
Last Chance Detectives: Legend of the Desert Bigfoot (1995) (TV) .... .....Sheriff Smitty 
Last Chance Detectives: Mystery Lights of Navajo Mesa (1994) (TV) .... Sheriff Smitty 
Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings (1994) Judge Dixon 
"All My Children" (1970) TV Series .Seabone Hunkle (1994) 
"Okavango: The Wild Frontier" (1993) TV Series .... J.D. 
Double Trouble (1992) Kent 
Driving Me Crazy (1992) Goodwyn 
Headhunter (1990) 
Last Stand at Lang Mei (1990) Major Verdun 
... aka Eye of the Eagle 3 (1990
Balboa (1986) 
Fleshburn (1984) Sam 
To Find My Son (1980) (TV) Arthur Gwen 
Big Wednesday (1978) .... Sally's Husband 
"Dallas" (1978) TV Series Ray Krebbs (1978-88,1991) (Original Cast) 
Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy (1977) (TV)  Ray Pierce 
Midway (1976) 
Amelia Earhart (1976) (TV)  Gordon 
The Wind and the Lion, The (1975) .... Captain Jerome 
Rape Squad (1974) .Tom 
Terminal Man, The (1974) .... Edmonds 
Sugarland Express, The (1974) .... Patrolman Jessup 
Melvin Purvis: G-Man (1974) (TV)  Sam Cowley 
Dillinger (1973)  Pretty Boy Floyd 
Lonesome Gun (1974) (USA)
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)Whorehouse Lucky Jim 



Director - filmography

Leaving the Land (2001) 
Marksmen, The (1997) 
"Dallas" (1978) TV Series 


Notable TV guest appearances

"The Twilight Zone" (1985)"The Scout"  "Stranger in Possum Meadows"  
"Charlie's Angels" (1976)"Harold Sims"  "Avenging Angel"  
"The Bionic Woman" (1976)"Tanner"  "Assault on the Princess" 
"Starsky and Hutch" (1975)  "Kim

RELATED LINKS

Exclusive Steve Kanaly interview

 


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