Question: Who's the hunky actor who was in a movie about a vicious bear making life on the ranch miserable? In real life, he quit acting after a skiing accident where his ski pole pierced his heart (I saw him on a talk show); the design of ski poles was subsequently changed. — Ginger

Flickchick: The part about the bear movie didn't help as much as the part about the bizarre accident: To the best of my knowledge, Clint Walker is the only actor who was ever impaled on a ski pole and lived to tell about it. The 6' 6", Illinois-born Walker, whose real first name was Norman, was discovered while working as a sheriff's deputy in Las Vegas, Nev. He soon scored the lead in the TV Western series Cheyenne (1955-1963), and in 1957 fell while skiing, landing squarely on one of his ski poles. He was pronounced clinically dead, but one observant doctor noticed a sign of life; Walker was rushed into surgery and survived. This brush with death did not, however, end his career. In 1958 he refused to work for nine months, returning to Cheyenne only after he got a raise and was allowed to work in films while the show was on hiatus. Walker made several Westerns, and the bear movie you mention is Night of the Grizzly, which Walker has apparently said is his favorite of his own pictures. In 1974 he was cast in a second TV series, Kodiak, in which he played an Alaskan policeman. It got clobbered in the ratings by Sanford and Son, and was cancelled. In 1991 he reprised the role of Cheyenne Brodie in the Kenny Rogers TV movie The Gambler, and still works occasionally. In 1998 he supplied the voice of animated action figure Nick Nitro in Small Soldiers. Walker was an early proponent of healthful living and still follows a regimen that includes herbal teas and vitamin and mineral supplements. He has been married twice and is now a widower.