Wednesday, October 3, 2018

You wanted to know . . . what happened to Dennis Kort

Dennis Kort as he appeared on M*A*S*H

Reader Peter P wanted to know what happened to actor Dennis Kort.  Here is what I discovered.

Dennis Kort is not a major star.  He has only 19 credits on IMDb and he's never had a leading role in a TV series.  His most recent credit is a 1984 film called Angel in which he played a character named Wayne.  Dennis has had no screen acting roles since then and has remained completely out of the spotlight.

During the 1970s, however, Kort made appearances on some of the most popular television shows.  He  is best known for his portrayal of Cpl. Howard Owens in an episode of M*A*S*H entitled "Smilin' Jack" (Season 4, Episode 21, Air Date: February 3, 1976).  The episode revolves around a chopper pilot, Smilin' Jack (Robert Hogan) who wants to be Chopper Pilot of the Year by rescuing the most wounded.  The problem is that Smilin' Jack suffers from diabetes and insists on flying against doctor's orders.  Dennis Kort's character, Corporal Owens is one of the wounded soldiers brought in by Jack.

In addition to his guest-starring role on M*A*S*H, Kort's other TV credits include Fantasy Island (cameo roles as ice cream vendor (1981) and soda jerk (1978), CHiPs (1978), Eight is Enough (1977), CPO Sharkey (1976), Rhoda (1976), Swiss Family Robinson (1975), The Waltons (1975), The Rookies (1975), Sanford and Son (1975).  He also appeared in two television movies: Dominic's Dream (1974) and The Rear Guard (1976).

So, what has happened to Dennis Kort.  He seems to have vanished into obscurity.  It's also very difficult to find any online information about him.  He doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.  Nevertheless, I was able to find an Internet message board with some information.  There is a July 2012 posting on a website called The Waltons Forum in which Dennis Kort is discussed (He appeared in an episode of The Waltons entitled "The Genius." (Season 4, Episode 2, Air Date: September 18, 1975).  In the episode, Kort plays Lyle Thomason, a college student who, although a genius, lacks social skills.  He upsets the devout Baptist family with his views on religion.

Dennis Kort on The Waltons

In 2012, Kort was the subject of a Waltons Forum discussion because he couldn't be located for a September 2012  Waltons reunion event in California.  Someone wrote that it's "like Dennis fell off the planet after 1981."  Another commentator claimed that he had found information stating that Kort was born in 1958.(60 years ago) and that he currently resides in Panama City, Florida.  Actor Rex Sykes, who co-starred with Kort in the 1976 film Massacre at Central High, was quoted as saying that he's been trying to find out for over 30 years where Dennis went.  Sykes mentioned that the last heard from Kort, was in San Pedro. California.

Whatever the reason, Dennis Kort has chosen to disappear from the public eye.  His location seems to be unknown.  It seems he wants it that way.

- Joanne


  1. I went to High School with him (Performing Arts - the "Fame" school). He was a grade or two ahead of me, so he was probably born in 1954 or 53 (I was born in 1955, and I skipped a grade and graduated in 1972). Everyone at school seemed to think he was going to make it big. I guess short, skinny, and odd-looking (and sounding) went out of fashion right as he was hitting the market.

  2. Could it be he's Dennis Kortheuer?Education at performing arts school matches. Places lived match. Found on Facebook.

    1. You are correct. I worked with him on a play at Costa Mesa Playhouse. He had the lead as Groucho in "Minnie's Boys" about the Marx Brothers. He told us then that he planned to shorten his professional name. It's not mentioned above, but I'm pretty sure he did a Twilight Zone episode. I liked him because at the time at least he had more talent than ego.

  3. He had talent! Unfortunately, he joined the Eight Tray Gangster Crips in South Central L.A. in 1985. His gang name was Ginger Redd. Toughest white Crip in L.A.

    1. Oh, now I get it, that is supposed to be clever... Suffice to say Mr. Kort will leave a larger legacy than Mr. McGee.

  4. I just watched him on the Walton’s and he is great. Wish he continued acting.