Gulager was born on November 16, 1928, in Holdenville, Oklahoma, to John Delancy Gulager, an actor who later went on to practise law in nearby Muskogee.
Also read: Who was Clu Gulager?
John Gulager, according to one source, was a cowboy entertainer. His paternal grandmother, Martha Schrimsher Gulager, was a sister of Will Rogers’ mother, Mary Schrimsher, thus making Gulager and Rogers’ first cousins once removed. He was a Cherokee since he belonged to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
The clu-clu birds (also known as martins in English, like his middle name) that were nesting at the Gulager residence at the time of his birth inspired his Cherokee moniker.
Gulager was a member of the United States Marine Corps from 1946 until 1948. Gulager attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, after graduating from Baptist-affiliated Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
He was awarded a one-year scholarship to study abroad in Paris, where he collaborated with French actor and director Jean Louis Barrault. In 1952, he returned to Baylor. On June 19, 1952, he married fellow actress Miriam Byrd-Nethery. They were married till she died in 2003 and had two children, John and Tom.
John Gulager later went on to direct his father in movies like Feast 1-3, Piranha 3DD, and Children of the Corn: Runaway.
As estimated by celebritynetworth.com, Gulager’s net worth was about $10 million.
During the 1980s, Gulager acted in a number of horror films, including The Initiation (1984) and the zombie comedy The Return of the Living Dead (1985). He appeared in the horror film Feast and its sequels in 2005. He also appeared in the independent film Tangerine (2015) and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).
Gulager directed the short film A Day with the Boys, which was nominated for the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival.