|Born|| February 1, 1921 |
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
|Died|| May 27, 1958 |
James Ainslie Pryor, known as Ainslie Pryor (February 1, 1921 – May 27, 1958), was an American actor who co-starred with Wally Cox in the short-lived comedy/adventure television series, The Adventures of Hiram Holliday, which aired on NBC from 1956 to 1957.
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Pryor was from 1947 to 1953 the manager and director of the Little Theatre of Raleigh, North Carolina. In this capacity, he made his directing debut in "Dream Girl". At the Little Theatre, Pryor wrote a regular column entitled "North Carolina Theatre" for The Raleigh News and Observer.
Film and television
In 1955, he procured his first credited role in the NBC series, Big Town, about a crusading newspaper editor. He appeared in the episode entitled "Juvenile Gangs". That same year, he was cast as Lieutenant Commander John Challee the prosecutor, in the episode "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" on the anthology series, Ford Star Jubilee. In 1956, he appeared again on Ford Star Jubilee in the episode "The Day Lincoln Was Shot". That same year, he was cast in two historical episodes playing Patrick Henry and William Jennings Bryan in the CBS anthology series, You Are There. The former focuses on Henry's "Give Me Liberty" speech in Richmond Virginia on March 23, 1775, and the latter on Bryan's Democratic 1896 presidential nomination "Cross of Gold" speech.
Other 1956 castings were on the western series, Steve Donovan, U.S. Marshal, as Howard Rowe in the episode "Stone River", and in two segments of Richard Boone's NBC medical series, Medic. Still another 1956 role was that of Kimbal Hatton in the episode "The Long Road Home" of CBS's Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater.
In 1957, he was cast in three episodes of Jane Wyman Presents, the Fireside Theater, "Married to a Stranger", "Not for Publication", and "The Man in the Car". He appeared as Matt Davis in the episode entitled "Wyatt Earp" of the series Sheriff of Cochise, starring John Bromfield. And he was cast as Mayor Barney Turlock in the premiere episode, "Brannigan's Boots" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Sugarfoot, with Will Hutchins as fledgling frontier lawyer Tom Brewster. That same year he was cast as King Forest in the episode "Devil's Canyon" of the ABC/WB western, Cheyenne, starring Clint Walker. In 1957, he portrayed the uncredited role Colonel John Chivington in the film, The Guns of Fort Petticoat, starring Audie Murphy, Hope Emerson, and Jeanette Nolan.
In 1958, Pryor played Harvey Bates in the episode "Bold Loser" of CBS' General Electric Theater, hosted by Ronald W. Reagan and joined by Guy Madison and Diane Brewster. Pryor played Captain Follyard in the film, Cole Younger, Gunfighter, with Frank Lovejoy as Cole Younger and supporting roles by James Best, Abby Dalton, and Frank Ferguson. That same year he was Chief Miller in the Andy Griffith film, Onionhead. He played Joe Grant in the 1958 film, The Left Handed Gun', with Paul Newman in the starring role as Billy the Kid.
From 1955 to 1957, Pryor appeared four times in the half-hour version of CBS's Gunsmoke western series. In 1957 and 1958, he was cast four times in the CBS anthology series, Playhouse 90.
From 1956 to 1957, he was cast as newspaper reporter Joel Smith, who is assigned to follow Hiram Holliday, a newspaper proofreader with a colorful offbeat personality, on a trip around the world. In twenty-three episodes (three others were not aired), Pryor as Smith reports to the newspaper on Holliday's unusual adventures. Yet, the series never became a hit. It aired on Wednesday evenings opposite The Arthur Godfrey Show on CBS and the second half of Walt Disney's Disneyland anthology series on ABC. It preceded Robert Young's sitcom Father Knows Best, then airing on NBC.