DEER, GEORGE WEIDLEN, JR. (1917–1959).
An American Indian actor, George Weidlen Deer, Jr., was born on December 1, 1917, near Okemah, Oklahoma, to George W. Deer, Sr., an enrolled Muskogee (Creek) and professional wrestler in the 1920s, and Lillian George. Deer, Jr.,'s Muskogee-language name was Eco Hacoce, "Little Crazy Deer." He attended college at Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) and was a standout member of the boxing team. He was Oklahoma Golden Gloves welterweight champion in 1939.
A well-known Hollywood "extra," George Deer appeared in several hundred Western films during the 1950s, many times uncredited. He sometimes appeared in scenes in three movies in one day during his twelve-year movie career. He appeared in films such as Distant Drums (1951, with Gary Cooper), Pony Soldier (1952, with Tyrone Power), River of No Return (1954, with Marilyn Monroe), and The Americanos (1955, with Glenn Ford). In Distant Drums he spoke the Muskogee language. During World War II, due to five deferments for bone spurs, he built bombers in Wichita, Kansas. He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the Screen Extras Guild. He also worked as a stunt man, which paid more, and as a longshoreman and house mover.
George W. Deer, Jr., married twice, first to Fern Lena Bosin and then to Betty Keahtigh. The two unions produced two sons and two daughters. One son, Alvin, also performed in Western films. Deer, Jr., died of pneumonia on February 6, 1959, at the Motion Picture Relief Home in Woodland Hills, California.
"George W. Deer, Jr.," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.
Hugh W. Foley, Jr., "From Bliss to Barking Water: The Transition of Oklahoma's American Indians in Cinema History," in Oklahoma @ the Movies, comp. Larry O'Dell (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 2012).
Bill Tharp, "Better Than Pitting Apricots," Oklahoma Journal (Oklahoma City), 11 January 1974.
The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Richenda Davis Bates, "Deer, George Weidlen, Jr.," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=DE021.
© Oklahoma Historical Society.