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Hugh O'Brian

Hugh O'Brian

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Also Known As: Hugh Charles Krampe, Jaffer Gray Died:
Born: April 19, 1925 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Rochester, New York, USA Profession: actor, producer, businessman, entrepreneur

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A handsome action star of TV and the occasional feature film, Hugh O'Brian is best recalled for playing the title role in "The Life and Times of Wyatt Earp" (ABC, 1955-61), which was more a serialized drama than a standard Western. He later reprised the role in the 1991 NBC miniseries "Luck of the Draw: The Gambler Returns" and in "Wyatt Earp Returns to Tombstone" (CBS, 1994).Educated at a military school, O'Brian was reportedly the youngest drill instructor in the history of the Marine Corps when he assumed those duties at age 18. After attending the University of Cincinnati and UCLA, O'Brian broke into films in 1950 in the song-and-dance feature "No Fear" and as a Western desperado in "The Return of Jesse James". Usually cast in supporting roles, he continued in action films, like "Battle at Apache Pass" (1952) and "The Man From the Alamo" (1953). Voted the most promising male newcomer of 1953 by the Hollywood Foreign Press, O'Brian moved to more substantial roles like the lyricist who wins Mitzi Gaynor's heart in "There's No Business Like Show Business" (1954) and the antagonist of Native Americans in "White Feather" (1955). He turned to comedy, playing off his good looks (not unlike Rock Hudson),...

A handsome action star of TV and the occasional feature film, Hugh O'Brian is best recalled for playing the title role in "The Life and Times of Wyatt Earp" (ABC, 1955-61), which was more a serialized drama than a standard Western. He later reprised the role in the 1991 NBC miniseries "Luck of the Draw: The Gambler Returns" and in "Wyatt Earp Returns to Tombstone" (CBS, 1994).

Educated at a military school, O'Brian was reportedly the youngest drill instructor in the history of the Marine Corps when he assumed those duties at age 18. After attending the University of Cincinnati and UCLA, O'Brian broke into films in 1950 in the song-and-dance feature "No Fear" and as a Western desperado in "The Return of Jesse James". Usually cast in supporting roles, he continued in action films, like "Battle at Apache Pass" (1952) and "The Man From the Alamo" (1953). Voted the most promising male newcomer of 1953 by the Hollywood Foreign Press, O'Brian moved to more substantial roles like the lyricist who wins Mitzi Gaynor's heart in "There's No Business Like Show Business" (1954) and the antagonist of Native Americans in "White Feather" (1955). He turned to comedy, playing off his good looks (not unlike Rock Hudson), in "Come Fly With Me" (1963) as the object of a flight attendant's glances on a transatlantic flight. O'Brian was a cowboy hired to create a ranch in Africa in "Africa - Texas Style!" (1967), and, more recently, had a supporting role in "Doing Time on Planet Earth" (1988).

The actor became a bona fide star, however, on the small screen. He began appearing in anthology series in the 50s like "Fireside Theatre" and "The Loretta Young Theatre" before landing his signature role as Earp. O'Brian later appeared on panel shows and in guest shots, returning to the series grind as a secret agent with a transmitter in his ear for constant contact with command central in "Search" (NBC, 1972-73). He continued to make the occasional guest appearance into the 90s on shows such as "Murder, She Wrote" and "L.A. Law". The actor has also made several TV-movies, ranging from "Wild Women" (ABC, 1970) to the pilot for "Fantasy Island" (ABC, 1977). More recently, he played a member of the establishment in need of Marshall Dillon in "Gunsmoke: The Last Apache" (CBS, 1990).

After he found TV stardom, O'Brian also discovered the theater. He made his Broadway debut in the musical "Destry Rides Again" (1959) and appeared again on Broadway in "First Love" (1963). Equally at home in light comedy or musicals, he headed national tours of "Cactus Flower" (1967-68), "1776" (1972) and "Guys and Dolls" (1979).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone (1994) Wyatt Earp
2.
 Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (1990) General Miles
3.
 Doin' Time on Planet Earth (1988) Richard Camalier
4.
 Twins (1988)
5.
 Game of Death, The (1979) Steiner
6.
 Cruise into Terror (1978) Captain Andy
7.
8.
 Fantasy Island (1977) Paul Henley
9.
 Murder at the World Series (1977) The Governor
10.
 The Shootist (1976) Pulford
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1943:
Joined Marine Corps; served as youngest drill instructor in Corp history
1950:
Broke into feature films with "Never Fear" and "The Return of Jesse James"
1951:
Made TV debut, "Fireside Theatre"
1954:
Played Mitzi Gaynor's love interest in "There's No Business Like Show Business"
1955:
Starred in "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (ABC)
1959:
Starred on Broadway in "Destry Rides Again"
:
Toured with national company of "Cactus Flower"
1970:
Made TV-movie debut, "Wild Women"
:
Returned to series TV in "Search"
1988:
Returned to feature films after long absence in "Doing Time on Planet Earth"
1991:
Played Wyatt Earp again in "Luck of the Draw: The Gambler Returns" (NBC)
1994:
Reprised Earp in "Wyatt Earp Returns to Tombstone" (CBS)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Cincinnati: Cincinnati , Ohio -
University of California at Los Angeles: Los Angeles , California -
Kemper Military School: Boonville , Missouri -

Notes

In 1955, he co-founded the Thalians, a show business philanthropic group and served as its president for its first three years.

O'Brian organized the Hugh O'Brian Youth Foundation in 1958 and has since aided thousands of underprivileged boys.

Since 1962, UCLA has bestowed the Hugh O'Brian Acting Awards, which he endowed.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Virginia Barber. Teacher. Together from c. 1987.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Hugh John Krampe.
mother:
Edith Krampe.

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