Jack Webb

1920 - 1982

John Randolph Webb was born in Santa Monica, California, to Margaret (Smith) and Samuel Chester Webb. His father left home before he was born; Webb would never know him. He was raised by his mother and maternal grandmother in dire poverty that preceded the Depression. Making things worse, Webb suffered from acute asthma from age six until adulthood, somewhat surprising for a man whose cigarette intake reached three packs a day at its peak. Webb's great love was movies, and his dream was to direct them. He began in radio, first as a disc jockey then as host of a comedy show (Believe It or Not!), finally as "Pat Novak, Private Eye", his first true success. A small role in the film nor classic He Walked by Night (1948) led to the creation of "Dragnet". During production, Webb befriended a LAPD police consultant assigned to the film and became fascinated with the cases he heard told. He successfully pitched the idea of a radio series to NBC using stories drawn from actual LAPD files. "Drag

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