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Big Chief Ellis

Biography

Prickly insights and delicate accompaniment were the stock-in-trade of pianist and vocalist Wilbert Thirkield “Big Key” Ellis. A self-taught participant, Ellis performed at home celebrations and dances through the ’20s, after that left his indigenous Alabama. He traveled extensively for quite some time, working mainly in nonmusical careers. Following a three-year military stint from 1939 – 1942, Ellis resolved in NY. He followed many blues music artists during their trips to the brand new York region. He started documenting for Lenox in 1945, and in addition did periods for Sittin’ In and Capitol within the ’40s and ’50s, using Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee for Capitol. Though Ellis decreased his performance timetable after shifting from NY to Washington D.C., his profession got your final increase in the first ’70s. He documented for Trix and made an appearance at many folk and blues celebrations until his loss of life in 1977.

Quick Facts


Full Name Big Chief Ellis
Died December 20, 1977, Birmingham, Alabama, United States
Profession Singer
Nationality American
Music Songs Louise Blues, All Down Blues, Fare You Well, Mistreater, Chief's Eb Blues, Dices! Dices!, Dices Blues, Blues for Moot, Let's Talk It Over, Big Chief's Blues, Rocky Mountain Blues, How Long Blues, Prison Bound, Dices #2, She Is Gone, Hey, Baby, I'm Gonna Miss You Girl, Louise, Sweet Home Chicago
Albums Featuring Tarheel Slim, Brownie McGhee and John Cephas


  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 In 1948, he and Jack Webb wrote a script for television titled "Joe Friday: Room 5," but the show was not picked up.
2 Father of Production Associate Karen Siegel and Grandfather of actor Will Blomquist


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Sanford and Son 1975 TV Series Landlord
The Disappearance of Flight 412 1974 TV Movie Narrator (uncredited)
My Three Sons 1971 TV Series Security Officer
Dragnet 1967 1967-1970 TV Series John Sawyer / Dan Patrick / Norm Landon
Bewitched 1967-1969 TV Series Police Officer #2 / Harry / Agent W. / ...
Dragnet 1966 1969 TV Movie Rico 'Ricky' Markell
Hang 'Em High 1968 Swede (uncredited)
The Party 1968 Director (as Herb Ellis)
The Second Hundred Years 1967 TV Series Slocum
He & She 1967 TV Series Mr. Angostaura
Iron Horse 1967 TV Series Trundle
The F.B.I. 1967 TV Series
Get Smart 1967 TV Series KAOS Chief
That Girl 1967 TV Series Detective
The Fugitive 1965-1966 TV Series Officer Hallet / Officer Frank
The Fortune Cookie 1966 TV Director (as Herb Ellis)
What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? 1966 Lumpe (as Herb Ellis)
My Favorite Martian 1964-1966 TV Series Chief Buffalo / Reporter Grinnel
Man in the Square Suit 1966 TV Movie Larry
The Patty Duke Show 1966 TV Series Ralphie's Father
My Mother the Car 1965 TV Series Bates
Gidget 1965 TV Series Mr. Walters
Wendy and Me 1965 TV Series Charles Gibford
Slattery's People 1965 TV Series Reporter
The Beverly Hillbillies 1964 TV Series Producer #1
Dr. Kildare 1964 TV Series Newsman
Going My Way 1963 TV Series Rabbi Adler
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis 1961-1962 TV Series Charlie Mulcahey / Malcolm / Mr. Hogan / ...
The New Breed 1962 TV Series Lt. Birdsall
The Jane Powell Show 1961 TV Movie Professor Jackson (as Herb Ellis)
Hennesey 1959-1961 TV Series Dr. Dan Wagner, USN
Margie 1961 TV Series Doctor
Make Room for Daddy 1961 TV Series Mr. Webb
The Andy Griffith Show 1961 TV Series Bobby Fleet
The Tab Hunter Show 1961 TV Series Professor Capek
Peter Loves Mary 1960-1961 TV Series Lou Porter
Pete and Gladys 1961 TV Series Cabbie
Westinghouse Playhouse 1961 TV Series Marty
Checkmate 1960 TV Series Captain Howard
Riverboat 1960 TV Series Papite Roger
Peter Gunn 1958-1960 TV Series Wilbur
M Squad 1957-1960 TV Series Treasury Agent Wayne Taylor / Manny Berman / Det. Bailey
Alfred Hitchcock Presents 1959-1960 TV Series Lt. Hogan / Det. Breslin
U.S. Marshal 1960 TV Series Deputy Sheriff 'Stoney' Stone
Johnny Midnight 1960 TV Series
Not for Hire 1959 TV Series Logan
The D.A.'s Man 1959 TV Series Frank La Valle / Frank LaValle
The David Niven Show 1959 TV Series Salesman
Perry Mason 1959 TV Series Deputy D.A. Weston
Schlitz Playhouse 1958-1959 TV Series
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse 1958 TV Series
Colgate Theatre 1958 TV Series
The Walter Winchell File 1957-1958 TV Series Meltzer / Grimmons
Suspicion 1958 TV Series Jack Nevada
Too Much, Too Soon 1958 Assistant (uncredited)
Paths of Glory 1957 Small Role (unconfirmed, uncredited)
Lux Video Theatre 1955-1957 TV Series Johnson / Sharp / Policeman
The Joseph Cotten Show: On Trial 1956-1957 TV Series Kenny / Carson
Whirlybirds 1957 TV Series Gerald Morris
Studio 57 1957 TV Series
State Trooper 1956 TV Series Arthur Stanley
Cavalcade of America 1956 TV Series
The Sheriff of Cochise 1956 TV Series Prisoner #2
Wire Service 1956 TV Series Operator
Dr. Christian 1956 TV Series Garber
The Killing 1956 2nd American Airlines Clerk
Frontier 1956 TV Series Nelson
General Electric Theater 1956 TV Series Police Lieutenant / Lt. Roberts
Navy Log 1956 TV Series Lieutenant
Crusader 1956 TV Series Foreman
Pete Kelly's Blues 1955 Bedido (as Herb Ellis)
Naked Alibi 1954 Communications Officer (uncredited)
Rogue Cop 1954 Bartender (uncredited)
Dragnet 1954 Booking Sergeant (uncredited)
The Lone Wolf 1954 TV Series Frank Gibson
The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show 1954 TV Series Wells
City Detective 1954 TV Series
Chevron Theatre 1953 TV Series
A Blueprint for Murder 1953 First Detective at Desk (uncredited)
Dragnet 1952-1953 TV Series Officer Frank Smith Officer Gene Bechtel Sgt. Gene Bechtel ...
I Led 3 Lives 1953 TV Series Comrade Rick Harper
Four Star Playhouse 1952 TV Series Hank - Man in Bar
Mysteries of Chinatown 1950 TV Series

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Bi no tsubo 2013 TV Series 2 episodes
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis 1962 TV Series performer - 1 episode

Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Telephone Time 1957 TV Series teleplay - 1 episode

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
TV Land Moguls 2004-2009 TV Mini-Series documentary Himself
Today 1965 TV Series Himself

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