Los Angeles pet lovers.
By Lori Golden
I first became aware of Dennis when he starred as Chester Goode, the well-meaning deputy on Gunsmoke who walked with a pronounced and much imitated limp, and who talked with a twang when addressing “Mr. Dillon.” According to TV Guide in 1955, “Mr. Weaver refused to use a leg brace as a prop because of the danger of an out-of-control horse. He learned to do that ‘walk’ on his own.”
Choosing to leave his Emmy-winning role in 1964, Dennis went on to star in such series as Kentucky Jones, Gentle Ben, Emerald Point N.A.S. and McCloud, which earned him three more Emmy nominations. Features and TV movies have also kept him busy, but one had exceptional impact: during a hiatus from McCloud in 1971 he was signed for a TV movie called Duel about a traveling salesman stalked by a truck.
“The producer asked me if I’d consider using a new director under contract,” Weaver said. “I was told that he was energetic, enthusiastic and willing to take risks.”
That director was Steven Spielberg. “If I had known how successful he’d become,” Weaver said, “I’d have adopted him.”
Born and raised in Joplin, Missouri, animals were a big part of Dennis’s life. “Particularly milking them. We had cows, goats, sheep, horses, chickens, and more.”
His childhood sweetheart Gerry has also been a big part of his life for 56 years. They met at a sock hop in Junior College and have been together ever since. Also a big animal lover, while raising their 3 boys they had the usual pets- dogs, cats, birds, and fish. They also had the unusual which included a monkey.
“When we moved to Colorado our neighbor raised llamas. I loved to look at them so I got several of my own. A couple of years ago I sold most of the ones I had and now have only my original two geldings. However my assistant, Alice, has 8 others that keep Luke and Casper company.”
In addition to a busy acting career, in his daily as well as his professional life Dennis Weaver creates a platform for the issues that are near and dear to his heart. Chief among them is the environment.
“I’ve been an environmentalist for years. Frankly, I guess I always have been… growing up on a farm… growing my own food. I have seen the gradual destruction that mankind is doing to the earth which sustains us. The air, water and earth itself which supports life, our life, and that of the animals is being destroyed. Global warming, destruction of the ozone layer, too many people. Our earth is having a hard enough time supporting us all.”
Dennis also became a vegetarian long before it was fashionable. “I became a vegetarian in 1958 which was very difficult in those days to really maintain because there weren’t many options. Now it’s a growing trend because the economics are there. There’s simply enough people demanding it that it’s profitable to supply vegetarians with those products.”
A man of action, Dennis is living in an environmentally friendly, solar-powered home built from recycled automobile tires and cans. It took about a year to build, using 300,000 cans and 3000 tires. In fact, some people call it “the Michelin Mansion.” The home, almost 10,000 square feet, includes a root cellar, workshop and three car garage.
“Gerry and I fell in love with this concept of building when we first met the architect, Michael Reynolds, in Taos, New Mexico,” Dennis explains. “He had been building this type of structure at that time for about 15 years. We broke ground in 1989, shortly after meeting Reynolds. We loved the feel of the house, and still do today.”
Called an Earthship, an independent sustainable living space, the Weaver’s Colorado home is a “living space that is not dependent on archaic centralized energy systems that are greatly damaging the planet.”
Society’s impact on the environment is an integral theme in Dennis’ own life, and one on which he offers advice to others. “If people would just be more aware of the impact they have on the environment. The foods they buy. The packaging… is it recycled? Where does all the garbage go? Repair something, just don’t throw it away, (although our society does make it difficult to do it all the time.) We buy too much. We have too much… in terms of material things. Be aware. Let your conscious be your guide. Simplify. Take time to smell the roses, for they won’t be there that much longer. I don’t mean to get on a soapbox,” he continues, “but if people were just a bit more aware of the impact they have, they would probably change some of the things they do.”
“Dennis wants to leave a mark and do something wonderful for humankind,” says his assistant, Alice Billings, “and he is sometimes frustrated at the lack of conscious awareness in this world.”
A man who has always been ahead of the times, Dennis even has his own website, www.dennisweaver.com. This is where one can order videos about the building of his Earthship as well albums he recorded and other autographed collectibles. This is also where you can learn about The Institute of Ecolonomics which he founded, and which benefits from the sale of items on the website.
“Ecolonomics is about creating prosperity without pollution,” he says. “It’s looking to business to be the solution to our problem rather than the cause of it. Everything we do, we do through business. Ecolonomics expresses the understanding that our ecology and economics are two sides of the same coin. It’s a vision that sees business, government and education working together to achieve a prosperous, sustainable future.”
Dennis is also a board member of TurningPoint Technologies which offers “some of the best non-toxic, environmentally safe products known to man. From dietary supplements and weight-loss products to cleaning products and water filtration systems, these products have a positive effect on the inner as well as outer environment.”
As to the role of our animals Dennis says, “nature must be in balance, and animals are part of that balance in this creation. They are an integral part of our environment. Love them, cherish them and be good to them. Do right by your pets. Have them spayed or neutered, and leash them when out for walks. Animals provide unconditional love... they deserve yours.”
“You may not realize it,” Dennis Weaver has written, “but we are living in the most exciting time in the history of humankind. Never has there been a greater opportunity for a productive, creative and fulfilling life. But it is also the most dangerous time, because we are in charge. Our thoughts and actions in the past have created our present, and our thoughts and actions today will create our future.”
(Dennis Weaver has just finished filming two segments of a new series called The Beast, and is the host of StarzEncore Westerns Channel. For more information about The Institute of Econolomics visit www.dennisweaver.com.)
Dream Your Eagle and Fly With Him
By Dennis Weaver
Dream Your Eagle and Fly With Him
By Dennis Weaver
I saw an eagle in the sky today
Flying free upon the wind
In my dreams I touched its wings
Caught the wind and flew with him
Oh, what glory it was for me
Flying free up in the sky
For dreams become reality
If in our souls they never die
So face the moment when you’re down
For your eagle lives within
Hold the vision of your truth
Dream your eagle and fly with him
First published in August of 1999, The Pet Press has become THE only local resource for
pet lovers in the Los Angeles area. The mission of The Pet Press is three-fold:
Each issue of The Pet Press contains the following sections: