Wednesday, September 30, 2015

RIP Rockne Tarkington

RIP Rockne Tarkington

American actor Rockne Tarkington died on April 5, 2015. His death was not covered by the mainstream media and I can find no official obituary. His death is noted on several websites including Wikipedia and IMDb.

Rockne Tarkington appeared on a number of TV shows and movies, primarily in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. He played the lead in the "Blaxploitation" film Black Samson in 1974. He was a semi-regular on Tarzan, the Ron Ely TV series, playing Tao, a jungle veterinarian. He also played a recurring role on the Lee Horsley detective series, Matt Houston, in the 1980s, playing "Too Mean" Malone.

Fans of The Andy Griffith Show may remember Rockne for his role as football player Flip Conroy in the episode titled "Opie's Piano Lesson." In the episode, Opie gets in trouble for skipping his piano lessons to go to football practice. Then, he subsequently gets in trouble with coach Conroy, a former pro player, for missing football practice to take piano lessons. It turns out that Conroy had to take piano lessons as a kid himself, and he works out a schedule so Opie can do both.

Rockne will also be remembered by fans of the Banana Splits Saturday morning kids show for his portrayal of Morgan, the castaway merchant sailor in the serial adventure "Danger Island," which was a featured element on the show. It was Rockne who frequently uttered the line, "Uh oh, Chongo!", which became a catch-phrase of sorts for kids who watched the show in the late 60s.

Tarkenton's career tailed off in the 1990s. His most recent recorded roles were in the films The Desparate Trail in 1995 and Wyatt Earp (starring Kevin Costner) in 1994.

TARKINGTON, Rockne (Rockne Booth Tarkington)
Born: 7/15/1931, Junction City, Kansas, U.S.A.
Died:  4/5/2015, Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A.

Rockne Tarkington’s westerns – actor:
Major Dundee – 1965 (Jefferson)
Cowboy in Africa (TV) – 1967 (Jacob)
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1968 (Sergeant)
The Dream of Hamish Mose – 1969
Bearcats! (TV) – 1971 (Lukas)
The Great Gundown – 1977 (Sutton)
Showdown at Eagle Gap (TV) – 1981 (Enterprise Jackson)
Uphill All the Way – 1986 (Leon)
Lucky Luke (TV) – 1990 (Harp)
The Desperate Trail – 1994 (Packo)
Wyatt Earp – 1994 (stable hand)


  1. I was fortunate to have met Rockne a baritone of a man and not because of his voice only. Kind to my wife and I. I'm saddened by his loss. RIP old friend.

  2. Rockne Tarkington was my 1st cousin. Me and my mom follow his career. I am sadden to learn of his death last year he will be truly missed. I am also sadden that he had no news

    coverage of his death. He is missed.....Spread your wings Rockne...Always Janice Tarkington

  3. I'm sorry to hear this. I only meet Mr. Tarkington because of his son Keith S. Tarkington. I'm from California and have moved to Florida,I can't believe there was no news footage. R.I.P. Rockne Tarkington I hope you got to enjoy your grandkids.....

  4. Mr Tarkington was at a local hospital in Colorado Springs, Co. I perform a heart test on him (ECG). He was a very nice patient. We talked a long time in regards to his test.
    Then, he told me that he was an actor and also, to watch the movie in which he was in, Great White Hope.
    Juanita Jones

  5. Just watched the Andy Griffith Show episode where he played the football star/Opies coach Flip Conroy. He is quite famous among all the diehard TAGS fans, as he was the 1st African American character on the show.

  6. I just watch the Episode "Opie's Piano Lesson." Mr. Tarkington was very talented. RIP!

  7. I had the privilege of serving with Rockne in the LDS Church. He is a great man with a heart of gold. Heaven is blessed with his presence. Love you, brother.

  8. I had the privilege of serving with Rockne in the LDS Church. He is a great man with a heart of gold. Heaven is blessed with his presence. Love you, brother.