John Donovan “J.D. Cannon was born on April 24, 1922 in Salmon, Idaho. An alumnus of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, J.D. was known for his co-starring role of Chief Peter B. Clifford in the NBC television series, ‘McCloud’ with Dennis Weaver from 1970 until 1977, for his role as a prisoner in the film “Cool Hand Luke” (1967), and for his part as the witness who cleared Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) in ‘The Judgment’, the series finale of ABC's The Fugitive (TV series). Cannon also played General Hampton on “Call to Glory” (1984) and had roles in films like “Raise the Titanic” and his only Euro-western “Lawman”.
Cannon served in the United States Army during World War II. Cannon first appeared on television as Master Sgt. Sherman in the original CBS sitcom, ‘The Phil Silvers Show’, also known as ‘You'll Never Get Rich’ (1958).
He played a recurring character - a lawman named Harry Briscoe working for the Bannerman Detective Agency - in the 1971 to 1973 western series, ‘Alias Smith and Jones’. He guest starred in many series over the years, including ‘Wagon Train’, ‘The Untouchables’, ‘East Side/West Side’, ‘Combat!’, and ‘Stoney Burke’. He was cast in several episodes of CBS's ‘Murder, She Wrote’, starring Angela Lansbury. His last television acting appearance was on NBC's ‘Law & Order’ in 1991.
He wore a toupee in most of his later roles. The exception was the Remington Steele episode "Steele in the News" (4 March 1983), in which Cannon played a TV news anchor who only wore his toupee while broadcasting. In the second season of ‘Twelve O'Clock High’ (1965–1966) he played Brig. Gen. Dave Creighton, who worked for Allied intelligence and helped to foil a plot by Nazi saboteurs in the 34th episode of the series, "RX For A Sick Bird".
Cannon was a founding member of Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, starring in their productions of “The Taming of the Shrew” (1956) and “Much Ado About Nothing” (1961).
His wife, Alice Cannon, appeared on Broadway in several productions including “Company” and “Johnny Johnson”. She also wrote “Great Day In The Morning”, which ran between March 28 and April 7, 1962.
Cannon died at his Hudson, New York home on May 20, 2005., survived by his wife and two brothers.