Burt Mustin

What a life that Burt Mustin lived. He didn’t start acting until he was 67 and he appeared in over 150 film and television productions. I first remembered him as Gus in Leave it to Beaver, Judd in The Andy Griffith Show, Bonanza, The Monkees, Gomer Pyle…the list is too long. He was also at the first World Series in 1903 to root on his hometown team, The Pittsburgh Pirates playing against the Boston Red Sox.

Burt was born on February 8, 1884, in Pittsburgh. After graduating from the Pennsylvania Military College in 1903 with a degree in engineering, Mustin became a car salesman. It was a rather new profession.  He also worked for the Better Business Bureau, Mustin dabbled in amateur acting and singing. He belonged to the Barbershop Harmony Society and popped up in productions by the Pittsburgh Opera.

Mustin and his wife eventually retired to Arizona. In Tucson, the retiree took in a role in a local production of the play Detective Story. William Wyler — who would go on to direct Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday and Funny Girl — happened to catch the show and offered Mustin a role in his screen adaptation of Detective Story.

Thus, Burt Mustin made his screen debut at the age of 67 in 1951 and acted until he died in 1977 at the age of 92.

Below is Burt… on the Johnny Carson show talking about being at the first World Series.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “Burt Mustin”

  1. Wow! What a cool story. And funny coincidence too, I saw him in something (right now I can’t remember…think it might have been an old ‘Emergency’ I had on in the background) and thought to myself, ‘that guy was everywhere in old TV and movies’ but didn’t know who he was. Nor that he was once a baseball star!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It gave me goosebumps watching him on Johnny Carson then. His clarity of memory was impressive. Starting so late in life and being in that many shows is impressive. I remember him well but like someone else said didn’t know his name.


    1. I kept seeing him in everything and I ran across this Johnny Carson spot about being at the first World Series which was pretty cool. The guy had some energy for a 90-year-old.

      Liked by 1 person

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