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John Randolph "Jack" Webb (April 2, 1920 – December 23, 1982), also known by the pen name John Randolph, was an American actor, television producer, director, and screenwriter, who is most famous for his role as Sgt. Joe Friday in the Dragnet franchise (which he also created). He was also the founder of his own production company, Mark VII Limited. Webb had a featured role as a crime lab technician in the 1948 film He Walked by Night, based on the real-life murder of a California Highway Patrolman by Erwin Walker. He Walked By Night's thinly veiled fictionalized recounting of the 1946 Walker crime spree gave Webb the idea for Dragnet: a recurring series based on real cases from LAPD police files, featuring authentic depictions of the modern police detective, including methods, mannerisms, and technical language
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