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Burton Gilliam
Born August 9, 1938
Dallas, Texas

Burton Gilliam (born August 9, 1938) is an American actor.





His first calling was not to the stage, but to the ring. He was considered the heart of the Coast Guard's boxing team, and reportedly posted an impressive record of 201 wins out of 217 fights during his enlistment. Gilliam was credited with winning more Golden Gloves bouts than anyone in its history at that time. While he did seriously consider turning professional, he ultimately decided to return to Dallas upon completing his Coast Guard enlistment. There, he followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Dallas Fire Department, where he spent the next 14 years posted at Station 39 in East Dallas. Upon his return to Texas, Gilliam had also completed his General Equivalency Development (GED) diploma with exemplary scores.

The silver screen made its first official calling through a local newspaper article. Burton, while working as a firefighter, noted a reporting article on a film to be shot in the local Dallas area. While he had no experience, and no real knowledge of the entertainment industry, he made his way to the casting director to seek a role as an extra. He made an immediate impression, and his first cinematic bid landed him the speaking role of `Floyd' the desk clerk in the Ryan O'Neal - Tatum O'Neal - Madeline Kahn film: Paper Moon. His unique style was noted by producer / director Mel Brooks and he was sought out to play his most memorable role in Brooks' comedy hit - Blazing Saddles. A role in which he not only stamped his image on the Hollywood roster, but reportedly made cinematic history as one of the first to fart on the silver screen during the infamous campfire scene.

Another of Gilliam's memorable scenes was in Back to the Future III in which he portrayed a gun salesman whose puzzled look followed Michael J. Fox's pronouncement that he had learned to shoot at 7-Eleven.

Gilliam has proven himself a capable actor over the years in numerous smaller, but no less memorable roles such as the leader of the 'Flying Elvises' (Utah Chapter) in the feature film Honeymoon in Vegas. Gilliam’s other films include: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Farewell, My Lovely, Fletch, Gator, Telefon, and The Jericho Mile. His television appearances include: Charlie’s Angels, The A-Team,The Dukes Of Hazzard, The Fall Guy, and he appeared as a regular on Evening Shade'.

Today, Gilliam continues to pursue his acting career. He currently stars in a series of television commercials for a local auto dealer, Rodeo Ford, in Dallas, in which he is seen wearing his infamous Blazing Saddles western outfit. (However, his most notable commercial role must be as one of the national spokesman for the popular Pace's Picante Sauce commercials - "This stuff's made in New York City?".) Another North Texas Ford dealership, Middlekauff Ford, began in August 2007 to run counter-commercials with a Gilliam look alike (and sound alike) being carried off the dealer's lot by two men after he intimidated a customer. 2008 was greeted by the end of this rivalry with Gilliam proclaiming in a Rodeo Ford ad, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Middlekauff Ford became Rodeo Ford of Plano.

Gilliam is also still active in boxing as a referee - calling numerous championship bouts - as well as supporting charitable activities, celebrity events, and area theatrical endeavours.

Personal life

Burton resides with his wife, Susan, in Allen, Texas, just north of Dallas. They have two children and four grandchildren who also live in the local area. His granddaughter, Hollie Vise, is a world champion gymnast. He is currently the spokesman for Rodeo Ford in Dallas and Plano and Homer Skelton Ford in Memphis.




TV guest appearances

External links


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