Though he was much better know as a television actor, Dennis Weaver made an indelible impression on movie audiences as the nervous hotel manager in Orson Welles' Touch of Evil. In a performance that some think was an inspiration for Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates (Psycho came out two year later), Weaver made his ostensibly minor character into a figure so unpredictable and oddly threatening that he imbued his scenes with Janet Leigh with an undeniable, frightening tension.
Apart from that single, unforgettable performance, Weaver's career was made on television, often in westerns. He received an Emmy during his nine year stint as the faithful Chester Goode on Gunsmoke, and also starred in Gentle Ben and McCloud. Respected by his peers, Weaver was elected to a single term as president of the Screen Actors Guild, a post he held in the early 1970s.
Weaver died on Friday at his home in Colorado; he was 81.