Claude Marion Akins (25th May 1926 - 27th January 1994) is best known in the Apes universe as the rebellious gorilla General Aldo in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes (1973).
Akins was born in Nelson, Georgia, the son of Ernest Akins, a police officer. He served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps in World War II in Burma and the Philippines.
Akins's first film appearance was as "Baldy" Dhom in From Here To Eternity (1953). He went on to appear in the movies The Caine Mutiny (1954) and Rio Bravo (1959), as well as Porgy And Bess (1959), Return Of The Seven (1966) and The Great Bank Robbery (1969) among many others.
Claude Akins in From Here To Eternity
In 1973 he played General Aldo in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes. The cast and crew of Battle nicknamed him "Cuddles" due to his warm and friendly disposition. He reputedly signed every autograph that was ever requested of him.
"I can think of better things to hang from those hooks!"
His extensive (180+ appearances) television career is headed by his portrayal of Sheriff Lobo in B. J. And The Bear (1978) and its spin-off The Misadventures Of Sheriff Lobo (1979 - 81). His other appearances include Dragnet (1954), Gunsmoke (10 episodes between 1955 and 1972), Have Gun, Will Travel (1957), I Love Lucy (1956), Wagon Train (1960), The Fugitive (1964), The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1965), McMillan & Wife (1972) and Murder, She Wrote (1984). In 1964, he appeared alongside James Franciscus in the drama series Mr Novak, and in 1981 with Ricardo Montalbán in Fantasy Island.
with Chuck Connors on the set of Ride Beyond Vengeance (1966)
His final television appearance was as Benjamin Sloan in In The Heat Of The Night (1991). A year later he made his last movie appearance in John Mellencamp's Falling From Grace.
Claude Akins died of cancer on 27th January 1994.
Claude Akins, 1926 - 1994