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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: Cast ... actor producer businessman entrepreneur


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).

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