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For other people named John Vernon, see John Vernon (disambiguation).
John Vernon
John Vernon.JPG
Vernon as The Mayor of San Francisco in Dirty Harry, 1971
Born Adolphus Raymondus Vernon Agopsowicz[1]
(1932-02-24)February 24, 1932
Zehner, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died February 1, 2005(2005-02-01) (aged 72)
Westwood, California, United States
Cause of death Complications after
heart surgery
Residence Toluca Lake, California
Nationality Canadian
Education Banff School of Fine Arts
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts
Years active 1956–2005
Spouse(s) Nancy West (divorced)
Children Kate Vernon
Nan Vernon
Chris Vernon

John Keith Vernon (February 24, 1932 – February 1, 2005) was a Canadian actor. He made a career in Hollywood after achieving initial television stardom in Canada.

Early life[edit]

Vernon was born Adolphus Raymondus Vernon Agopsowicz in Zehner, Saskatchewan,[1] and was baptised at Sacred Heart Catholic parish in the nearby town of Arat. He was one of two sons of Adolf Agopsowicz, a grocer, and his wife Eleonore Krückel (also spelled as Kriekle or Kriekel). Both parents' families emigrated to the Edenwold district in the late 19th century from the Austrian crownland and duchy of Bukovina. He was of Armenian, German, and Polish descent.[2][page needed]

From 1935 to 1953 he attended St. Joseph’s School and Campion College in Regina, SK, where his acting career began under the direction of Rev. Arthur Nelson, S.J. and Mary Ellen Burgess at Regina Little Theatre.[3] Vernon was educated at the Banff School of Fine Arts and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London before becoming a live stage actor for CBC Television's dramatic programs. In 1974, he completed a season at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, playing Malvolio.


Early roles[edit]

Vernon made his screen debut in 1956 as the voice of Big Brother in Michael Anderson's film version of George Orwell's 1984 starring Edmond O'Brien. He returned to Canada afterwards and gained film experience appearing on the TV series Tugboat Annie and The Last of the Mohicans.[4]

He made his Broadway debut in 1964 as DeSoto opposite Christopher Plummer and David Carradine in The Royal Hunt of the Sun. During the Golden Age of CBC Drama in the 1960s he co-starred in Edna O'Brien's A Cheap Bunch of Nice Flowers, opposite Colleen Dewhurst, and in Uncle Vanya, opposite William Hutt and Rita Gam. He appeared in the CBC series Wojeck in the late 1960s, playing a crime-fighting medical examiner but left to further his acting career in the United States.[4]

In 1967, he appeared opposite Lee Marvin in Point Blank. In 1969, he played Cuban revolutionary Rico Parra in Alfred Hitchcock's Cold War-era spy movie Topaz. In 1970, he guest-starred in the Hawaii Five-O episode "Force Of Waves" as Cal Anderson, and he appeared in the two-part episode "The Banker" of The Silent Force in 1971. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he made four appearances over five years on the TV series Mission: Impossible as four different lead villains. In 1974, Vernon turned in a supporting performance in Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night.[4]

In 1971, he played the by-the-book mayor of San Francisco, perpetually frustrated by Clint Eastwood, in the first Dirty Harry movie. He later parodied this role in the premiere episode of Sledge Hammer!. In 1972 he appeared as a villain in the Fear Is the Key. In 1973 he appeared in One More Train to Rob and Charley Varrick.. In 1974 he co starred in the film The Black Windmill with Michael Caine and Donald Pleasance. Also in 1974, he appeared in The Questor Tapes. In 1975, he starred in Brannigan, alongside John Wayne and Richard Attenborough. In 1976, he played Fletcher in Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales.[4]


Vernon played Dean Vernon Wormer of mythical Faber College in Animal House (a role that he would reprise in the short-lived television sequel Delta House). He also played Mr. Prindle in Herbie Goes Bananas, Dr. Stone, Ted Striker's psychiatrist, in Airplane II: The Sequel, and Sherman Krader in Ernest Goes to Camp.[4]

He also appeared in several cult exploitation and action films in the 1980s. Most notably Chained Heat and Savage Streets, both starring Linda Blair, and Jungle Warriors, opposite Sybil Danning.

Vernon played "Ted Jarrett" in the season two The A-Team episode "Labor Pains" (1983). Vernon also played "Cameron Zachary" in the season two Knight Rider episode "A Good Knight's Work" (1984). Vernon later played "John Bradford Horn" in the season three Airwolf episode "Discovery" (1986). He made light of his villain image in the 1988 Blaxploitation spoof I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. In 1986, he played the Principal in Fuzz Bucket. He played Sergeant Curt Mooney in Killer Klowns from Outer Space and was a lead in the short-lived 1990s series Acapulco H.E.A.T.[4] In Charley Varrick (1973) he plays a mafia boss.

Voice work[edit]

Vernon did extensive voice work. He voiced the Prosecutor on the animated film Heavy Metal. He worked on such animated TV series as The Marvel Super Heroes, Batman: The Animated Series, The Incredible Hulk, Wildfire, Spider-Man, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and Delgo.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Vernon was the father of actresses Kate and Nan Vernon, and son Chris Vernon.[1]


Vernon died of complications following heart surgery on February 1, 2005, in Westwood, California. He was cremated after a private funeral service.[1]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Bernstein, Adam (February 4, 2005). "Actor John Vernon, 72; 'Animal House' Dean". The Washington Post. p. B06. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ Edenwold Anniversary Committee (1981). Where Aspens Whisper: Edenwold. Edenwold: Edenwold Anniversary Committee. ISBN 9780889252523. OCLC 15879980. 
  3. ^ http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/vernon_john_1932-2005.html
  4. ^ a b c d e f g John Vernon at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Vernon — Please support Wikipedia.
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Animal House (1/10) Movie CLIP - Double Secret Probation (1978) HD

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1680 news items

New York Times

New York Times
Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:00:00 -0800

Delta House is put on double-secret probation by Dean Vernon Wormer (John Vernon), who wants to boot this misfit fraternity off campus. In response, the fraternity members concoct a plan to improve their grades while making mischief. “At its best ...


Mon, 01 Feb 2016 16:29:57 -0800

Chaplain John Vernon is one of four core chaplains that offer free services and guidance for the officers and for the community in times of tragedy. The black bibles, with embossed writing on and badge image, is paid for by the chaplains out of pocket ...

Indie Wire (blog)

Indie Wire (blog)
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 09:48:45 -0800

Then, Kino Lorber has "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," the classic parody of Blaxploitation films about a black war hero (Keenan Ivory Williams) who takes on a powerful local crime lord (John Vernon) after he's responsible for the death of his brother (who ...

A.V. Club

A.V. Club
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 19:33:45 -0800

There's an echo of Animal House's Dean Wormer in the way Judge Brownton (called, of course, “Judge Browntown” by Adam) runs down each of the guys in turn—like the late, great John Vernon before him, Rice conveys just the right tone of bewildered pity ...

Leicester Mercury

Leicester Mercury
Tue, 26 Jan 2016 03:07:35 -0800

"Just in front of the Foster is a Ransomes Sims and Jefferies engine, built at Ipswich in 1932, works number 42035, owned by John Vernon, of Newbold Verdon. "John had not owned the Ransomes too long at that time. He acquired it from Norfolk and during ...

A.V. Club

A.V. Club
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 11:02:01 -0800

They seem like they're flying by the seat of their pants, but a callback joke that pays off an hour later, when John Vernon gets gruesomely murdered after being converted to a human ventriloquist dummy, confirms that the film's creators knew exactly ...

Savannah Morning News

Savannah Morning News
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 21:15:00 -0800

Look for “Animal House” Dean Wormer himself, John Vernon, in a key role. 8 p.m. showtime, with $7 admission for mature viewers. The following Wednesday, Jan. 27, at The Bean, the PFS unveils the insanely rare 1974 action drama “A Sunday in the Country ...


Wed, 13 Jan 2016 22:16:26 -0800

John Vernon (Feb 24, 1932) Rupert Thorne – He graduated from London's (England) Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He liked to play the villain in his movies. He was divorced with three children. He passed away in Feb 2005 after having Heart Surgery.

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