Ermal Walden Williamson, a man of the West, ex-stuntman for Universal Studios in Hollywood, California is also the John Wayne Look-alike and Impersonator doubling for the Duke in the Coors Light commercials. He has been performing on Duke’s yacht, the “Wild Goose”. ever since it has been rescued from almost going to Davy Jones’ Locker and continues to thrill people several times a month on board. He rides in the Tournament of Roses Parade as John Wayne each year, and does a patriotic recitation at the Rose Bowl preceding the parade. He travels the world, appearing at corporate events throughout the country as host, emcee and/or entertainer. As an entertainer, he is an after-dinner speaker, a key-note speaker, he hosts conventions, performs at trade-shows, and emcees seminars. He carries his own audio/video projector and screen to enhance his program at special events.
Ermal is the recipient of the 2003 IGCITA Best Male Impersonator of the Year Award ￼ in Las Vegas and performed in Branson, Missouri with Paula Erlene in the production, “John Wayne and America’s Yodeling Sweetheart”. He adds all of his experiences in bringing to the audiences exciting anecdotes about Duke with Paula singing and yodeling, incorporating real Western history and folk lore while keeping his readers on the edge of their seats. They also carry their show on stage in other cities, in churches and schools and for special events.
He took up acting classes at Paramount Studios after graduating from college with a BS Degree in drama, and found himself with Jerry Paris, an acting coach who accepted the unbridled task of teaching him and who later, would become a close and devoted friend.. “Just before his passing away, Jerry told me that I would appear in his next film, a third sequel to “Police Academy”. Paris made for certain that Ermal was firmly planted on the set, constantly preparing him for his “Big Break”. Paris passed away shortly afterwards, and Ermal later won the supporting role of Randolph Hearst in “The Patty Hearst” movie, playing opposite Natasha Richardson.￼He gives Jerry credit for much of his acting ability.
As a SAG, AFTRA and AEA actor, one can find Ermal in many types of films and plays. He appeared with Tom Hanks as his butler in “Bonfires of the Vanity”, and has appeared in dozens of sitcoms such as “The Twilight Zone”, “General Hospital”, “Superior Court”, “The Judge”, “Evening Shade”, “Delta”, “Golden Girls”, as well as movies made for TV, “Woman Against the Odds”, “Lies Before Kisses”, and others. Also, Ermal starred in “Star Quest”, a Sci-Fi movie opposite Burt Ward. Having appeared in dozens of live stage plays, he enjoyed working with the two great women of television; Jean Stapleton, and Marion Ross. On Hollywood and Vine Ermal starred in “Medea at the Stardust Grill” and won rave reviews as a hard-and-tough night-time television host..
Along the trail, after arning two Bachelor of Arts Degrees (one in Acting), Ermal earned a Masters Degree and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The latter was in “Church Growth” where he traveled the country, helping churches grow in physical as well as spiritual attendance while in the course of pursuing his acting career. Again, as Fate would have it, shortly after his return to acting, Ermal was called upon to perform in Sonora, California on the location site of “High Noon” during the annual Sonora Film Festival, on Railroad Days in Jamestown at their famous Jamestown Railroad and High Noon sites along the rails of Oakdale. ￼ then, other peers saw him as the John Wayne look-alike.
When he was suggested by other actors that he looked like Gary Cooper, and then later by other of his peers as John Wayne, he wrote, directed, produced and starred in his one-man show “Memories with John Wayne and Gary Cooper.”
Fully utilizing his writing and acting talents, Ermal brought to life The Story of John Wayne , a “rags-to-riches” story, in entertaining anecdotes and inside stories of his movies. As a raconteur, Ermal is a frequent speaker, host and emcee at corporate events, supper clubs, seminars and organizations. He performs as a professional host and emcee, giving motivational speeches about the Duke’s life and movies that encapsulate between 15 minutes to two hours in pure entertainment.
His life has been devoted to John Wayne in that he covers all aspects of his impersonation of the Duke. He explains the truth in the talk, the walk, and the nuances in all facets of his very being on the screen. Because of his rich John Wayne mannerisms, he was chosen over a few hundred other actors to reenact the Duke in all of the Coors Light beer commercials. Here he stands tall with R. Lee Ermey in his first Super Bowl commercial.
For a while, he performed as Duke in his weekly Santa Clarita half-hour cable TV segments in first person talking about Duke’s life, his movies, and giving personal anecdotes. The late Burt Kennedy, writer and director of several John Wayne movies, wrote me, “Saw your TV show – Great. A Fan. Burt Kennedy.” Another – “I tell you – his is the GREATEST PERFORMANCE OF AN IMPERSONATION THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN. And, most of you already know that I have been in the motion picture business ever since I was ten years old. . . . His act is not good – IT IS GREAT. IT IS EXCELLENT!” Ned Shaheen – Hollywood Producer.
With an undisputed track record consisting of four degrees, two-and-a-half years in law school, Marine Corp experience, a rough-and-tough steelworker stint, cowboy stuntman thrilling the tour trams at Universal Studios, expertise on the Wild West, and a John Wayne and Gary Cooper impersonator, he has put his daily life-long experiences to work for him in all that he does, while remaining an humble and pious man. His creative writings reflect his no bars philosophies. Ermal does not hold back. Moreover, as an ordained minister, he still conducts weddings as the Duke in Western or military wardrobes on location, in a church, or aboard Duke’s famous yacht the “Wild Goose”. Ermal has written patriotic poetry as: “John Wayne, American”, “Just a Piece of Cloth”, “America’s Kids Today”, and others that he recites on-stage and/or on horseback. Ermal has been told throughout the years, (on more than a hundred occasions) that he is more of the Reincarnation and Embodiment of the Great John Wayne than an impersonator, following in the footsteps of one of America’s Great Heroes, inspiring those around him by seeking his dreams in his own devout and dedicated way.
To date, he has authored seven Western novels with a single theme, “BRAZOS.” “Across The Brazos”; “The Man From the Brazos”, “Call of the Brazos”, “We Conquer or Die”, “The Last Bullet” “The Ghost of Ginny McBride “and “Beyond the Brazos”. The BRAZOS is the River that runs some 870 miles through Texas. It means, “Hands of God” and is spelled out in his first novel, “Across the Brazos”. Legend has it that whenever a man and a woman enter the Brazos and the River churns up, it is a glowing Good Luck Omen that the Princess blesses the Couple with Love. Indeed, with this is the Life Story of a Man who has met and conquered his Glowing Brazos, inspiring and entertaining all those whom he meets and those who meet him.
As a man of entertainment, he gives his fans 100% of his God-given talent as John Wayne.