Jim McMullan, Actor in 'Dallas,' 'Downhill Racer' and 'Shenandoah,' Dies at 82

Universal Pictures/Photofest
Jim McMullan starred as Buffalo Bill Cody in the 1963 film 'The Raiders.'

He also played Buffalo Bill on the big screen and the stage and was a regular guest star on Quinn Martin productions.

Jim McMullan, who portrayed one of Jimmy Stewart's six sons in Shenandoah and a top ski racer in the Robert Redford-starring Downhill Racer, has died. He was 82.

McMullan died May 31 of complications from ALS at his home in Wofford Heights, California, his wife of 49 years, Helene McMullan, told The Hollywood Reporter.

McMullan and Dirk Benedict starred as police helicopter pilots on 1974's Chopper One, an ABC drama that was produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg, and he toplined the 1980 CBS series Beyond Westworld, based on the Michael Crichton movie. Both shows, however, were quickly canceled.

Dallas fans will recognize him as Texas Sen. Andrew Dowling, who had an affair with political lobbyist Donna Culver Krebbs (Susan Howard) during the CBS series' 10th season (1986-87).

McMullan also was a regular guest star on shows from Quinn Martin Productions, including The F.B.I.12 O'Clock HighBarnaby JonesCannon and The Streets of San Francisco, and he played Brent Davis on the CBS daytime soap The Young and the Restless in the '80s.

McMullan portrayed John Anderson in Andrew V. McLaglen's Shenandoah (1965) — the other sons of Stewart's farmer in the Civil War-era picture were played by Glenn Corbett, Patrick Wayne, Charles Robinson, Tim McIntire and Phillip Alford — and he stood out as American skier Johnny Creech in Downhill Racer (1969), which marked the directorial debut of Michael Ritchie.

His first encounter with Redford and Ritchie was "the greatest meeting I ever had," McMullan told the Kern Valley Sun last year. "All they wanted to know was, 'Do you ski?' 'Yeah, I ski.' I was hired."

Born on Oct. 13, 1936, in Long Beach, New York, McMullan studied architecture and design at NYU, the Parsons school and Kansas University. At that last stop, he acted for the first time in a production of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms. "I'd never even thought of acting before, but boy, I got the bug," he said.

After graduating in 1961 with an architecture degree and waiting to see if he would be accepted in the Peace Corps, McMullan was introduced to playwright and screenwriter William Inge, and that led to a screen test at MGM for Ride the High Country (1962), directed by Sam Peckinpah.

He didn't get a role in that film, but Universal saw his test and signed him to a seven-year contract, and he appeared on such TV shows as Wagon TrainThe VirginianAlfred Hitchcock Presents and Ben Casey and as Buffalo Bill Cody opposite Brian Keith and Robert Culp in The Raiders (1963), his movie debut.

(Things came full circle when McMullan starred in a Buffalo Bill "Wild West Show" staged in a 1,000-seat dinner theater near Disneyland Paris from 1998-2002.)

His feature résumé also included a starring turn as a reporter-turned-voyeur in Jeannot Szwarc's Extreme Close-Up (1973) and smaller roles in The Happiest Millionaire (1967), The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), Assassination (1987), Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), Batman & Robin (1997) and Shadow of Doubt (1998).

McMullan and the late Dick Gautier wrote the 1992 coffee-table book Actors as Artists, showcasing artwork from the likes of Gene Hackman, Katharine Hepburn, Peter Falk and Pierce Brosnan, and he followed that with Musicians as Artists, bringing to light work done by Tony Bennett, Jerry Garcia, Miles Davis, Ringo Starr and others.

McMullan was an artist in his own right, turning discarded materials into art under the name Harry Kovair

In addition to his wife, survivors include his sons Tysun, a film editor and photographer, and Sky and Sky's wife, Julie.