Charles Marquis Warren


Charles Marquis Warren (December 16, 1912 – August 11, 1990) was an American motion picture and television writer, producer, and director who specialized in Westerns. Among his notable career achievements were his involvement in creating the television series Rawhide and his work in adapting the radio series Gunsmoke for television.[1]

Charles Marquis Warren
CMW 1955.jpg
Charles Marquis Warren, 1955
Born(1912-12-16)December 16, 1912
DiedAugust 11, 1990(1990-08-11) (aged 77)
OccupationMotion picture and television writer, producer, and director
Years active1933–1969
Spouse(s)Anna C. Tootle
Children3 daughters
At the beginning of his film career, Warren also wrote stories for pulp magazines like Ace Mystery


Early lifeEdit

Warren was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and was the son of a real estate broker and the godson of American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. He was educated at Baltimore High School and Baltimore City College.


During his college years, he developed an interest in writing, resulting in a play entitled No Sun, No Moon, which was staged at Princeton University. Warren decided to go to Hollywood in 1933 when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer took an option on the play. With the help of his godfather, Warren secured a position as a staff writer for the studio.

His early assignments included working on the scripts for Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, and Top Hat (1935) with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. He made the latter film on loan out to RKO Radio Pictures. Warren eventually left Hollywood for New York City where he found success as a fiction writer for various pulp magazines. Several of his writings were published in The Saturday Evening Post. One of his Post stories, Only the Valiant, and the Argosy serial Bugles Are for Soldiers, were published as novels and became best-sellers. Bugles Are for Soldiers book length version was retitled Valley of the Shadow.

In 1941, he married Anna Crawford Tootle. They had three daughters, Anne, Jessica, and Victoria.

World War IIEdit

During World War II, Warren joined the United States Navy and served in the Photo Science Laboratory. He rose to the rank of commander and, while serving in the South Pacific in 1944, was wounded by a Japanese grenade. For his wounds and service, he received a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and five battle stars. During his recovery at Guadalcanal, his novel Only the Valiant was purchased by Warner Bros.[2]

Return to HollywoodEdit

Following his discharge, Warren returned to Hollywood and re-established himself as a screenwriter specializing in westerns. He was the screenwriter for Beyond Glory (1948), starring Alan Ladd; Streets of Laredo (1949), with William Holden and Macdonald Carey; Oh! Susanna (1951), with Rod Cameron; The Redhead and the Cowboy (1951), with Glenn Ford and Rhonda Fleming; and Springfield Rifle (1952), with Gary Cooper. Only the Valiant was adapted by other writers for a 1951 film starring Gregory Peck.


In 1951, Warren began directing films as well as writing them, starting with Little Big Horn, a western starring Lloyd Bridges. He followed this with Hellgate (1952), with James Arness and produced by Commander Films Corporation, a company that Warren founded. In 1953, he moved to Paramount, where he wrote the screenplay for Pony Express, starring Charlton Heston as Buffalo Bill. In the same year, he wrote and directed Arrowhead, starring Heston and Jack Palance, and the 3-D adventure Flight to Tangier, with Palance and Joan Fontaine. Warren also directed Seven Angry Men (1955), an Allied Artists production starring Raymond Massey.


In 1955, CBS offered Warren the position of director and producer of Gunsmoke, a new television series based on the popular radio series of the same name and produced by Norman Macdonnell. Initially interested in only making motion pictures, Warren accepted the offer when CBS agreed to pay him $7000 per week. He produced the entire first season of the series and directed the first 26 of its 39 episodes.

Warren continued as producer for the second season of Gunsmoke but left the series in mid-season due to a difficult professional relationship with Macdonnell, the series' associate producer.

Emirau ProductionsEdit

After leaving Gunsmoke, Warren returned to working in the cinema as a writer, director, and producer.

He established his own production company, Emirau Productions, named after the battle in World War II in which Warren was injured.[3]

His films from this era include the horror films Back From the Dead (1957), with Peggie Castle; The Unknown Terror (1958), with John Howard; and the war film Desert Hell (1958) with Brian Keith. His westerns include Trooper Hook (1957), featuring Joel McCrea and Barbara Stanwyck; Copper Sky (1957), with Jeff Morrow; Ride a Violent Mile (1958), starring John Agar; Blood Arrow (1958), with Scott Brady; and Cattle Empire (1958), starring Joel McCrea.

Return to TelevisionEdit

Warren also continued working in television. In 1957, he wrote, produced, and directed an episode of the anthology series Playhouse 90 entitled "Without Incident", which starred Errol Flynn.[4]

In 1959, he became producer and occasional writer and director for the series Rawhide starring Eric Fleming and Clint Eastwood.

He also served briefly as producer or executive producer for three other western series, Gunslinger,[5] The Iron Horse with Dale Robertson and The Virginian with James Drury.

He returned to film as the writer of Day of the Evil Gun (1968), featuring Glenn Ford, and as the writer and director of Charro! (1969) starring Elvis Presley.

Warren died of a heart aneurysm in 1990 at the age of 77, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Year Title Credited as
Producer Director Screenwriter Story
1948 Beyond Glory Yes
1949 Streets of Laredo Yes
1951 Oh! Susanna Yes
The Redhead and the Cowboy Yes
Only the Valiant Yes
Fighting Coast Guard Yes
Little Big Horn Yes Yes
1952 Woman of the North Country Yes
Hellgate Yes
Springfield Rifle Yes
1953 Pony Express Yes
Arrowhead Yes Yes
Flight to Tangier Yes Yes
1955 Seven Angry Men Yes
1956 The Black Whip Yes
1957 Trooper Hook Yes
The Unknown Terror Yes
Back from the Dead Yes
Copper Sky Yes Yes
Ride a Violent Mile Yes Yes Yes
1958 Blood Arrow Yes Yes
Cattle Empire Yes Yes
Desert Hell Yes Yes
1968 Day of the Evil Gun Yes Yes
1969 Charro! Yes Yes Yes


The information in this article was derived from the following sources:

  • "Charles Warren, Creator of TV Westerns". The Seattle Times. 1990. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
  • Barbaras, SuzAnne; Gabor Barbaras (1990). Gunsmoke: A Complete History. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-89950-418-3.


  1. ^ Borgan, R. (August 15, 1990). "Shoutin' 'n shootin'". The Guardian. ProQuest 186992364.
  2. ^ Borland, H. (February 21, 1943). "Captain lance". New York Times. ProQuest 106482208.
  3. ^ Schallert, E. (January 31, 1957). "Travers scripts own starring film; 'million dollar answer' slated". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 167022075.
  4. ^ Scheuer, P. K. (July 3, 1958). "TV, films urged to exchange skills". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 167336871.
  5. ^ L. L. (February 14, 1961). "'Gunslinger's hoodlum wreathed by gunsmoke". The Washington Post, Times Herald. ProQuest 141607579.

External linksEdit

  • Charles Marquis Warren at IMDb