Hugh O'Brian


Actor

About

Also Known As
Hugh Aodh O'Brien, Hugh Charles Krampe, Jaffer Gray
Birth Place
Rochester, New York, USA
Born
April 19, 1925
Died
September 05, 2016

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 a...

Family & Companions

Virginia Barber
Companion
Teacher. Together from c. 1987.

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.

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), 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). Later, he played a member of the establishment in need of Marshall Dillon in "Gunsmoke: The Last Apache" (CBS, 1990) and performed his final screen role in the pilot episode of the Jack London adaptation "Call of the Wild" (Animal Planet 2000). 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). Hugh O'Brian died on September 5, 2016, at his Beverly Hills home. He was 91.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone (1994)
Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (1990)
General Miles
Doin' Time on Planet Earth (1988)
Twins (1988)
Cruise into Terror (1978)
Captain Andy
The Game of Death (1978)
Benny & Barney: Las Vegas Undercover (1977)
Murder at the World Series (1977)
The Governor
Fantasy Island (1977)
Paul Henley
The Shootist (1976)
Killer Force (1975)
Murder on Flight 502 (1975)
Search (1972)
Hugh Lockwood
Wild Women (1970)
Killian
Strategy of Terror (1969)
Matt Lacey
Africa--Texas Style! (1967)
Jim Sinclair
Ambush Bay (1966)
1st Sgt. Steve Corey
Ten Little Indians (1966)
Hugh Lombard
Love Has Many Faces (1965)
Hank Walker
In Harm's Way (1965)
Air Force major
Come Fly with Me (1963)
1st Officer Ray Winsley
Alias Jesse James (1959)
The Fiend Who Walked the West (1958)
Dan Hardy
The Brass Legend (1956)
Wade Addams
White Feather (1955)
American Horse
The Twinkle in God's Eye (1955)
Marty Callahan
Saskatchewan (1954)
[Carl] Smith
Drums Across the River (1954)
Morgan
Fireman Save My Child (1954)
Smitty
Broken Lance (1954)
Mike Devereaux
There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)
Charles Gibbs
The Lawless Breed (1953)
Ike Hanley
The Stand at Apache River (1953)
Tom Kenyon
Seminole (1953)
Kajeck
The Man from the Alamo (1953)
Lt. [Tom] Lamar
Back to God's Country (1953)
Frank Hudson
The Cimarron Kid (1952)
Red Buck
Son of Ali Baba (1952)
Hussein
Sally and Saint Anne (1952)
Danny O'Moyne
The Battle at Apache Pass (1952)
Lt. Robert Harley
Red Ball Express (1952)
[Pvt.] Wilson
Meet Me at the Fair (1952)
Chilton Corr
The Raiders (1952)
Hank Purvis
Buckaroo Sheriff of Texas (1951)
Ted Gately
On the Loose (1951)
Dr. Phillips
Little Big Horn (1951)
Pvt. Al DeWalt
Fighting Coast Guard (1951)
Tom Peterson
Vengeance Valley (1951)
Dick Fasken
Cave of Outlaws (1951)
Garth
D.O.A. (1950)
Jazz fan
Beyond the Purple Hills (1950)
Jack Beaumont
Never Fear (1950)
Len Randall
The Return of Jesse James (1950)
Lem Younger
Rocketship X-M (1950)
Harry Chamberlin

Stunts (Feature Film)

Den of Thieves (2018)
Stunts
The Vatican Tapes (2015)
Stunt Player
Automatic (1995)
Stunts

Cast (Special)

Rock Hudson: The E! True Hollywood Story (1999)
Loretta Young (1998)
The 29th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards (1994)
Performer
Gene Autry: The Singing Cowboy (1993)
Rock Hudson: Tall, Dark & Handsome (1989)
Bush Doctor (1982)
Swing Out, Sweet Land (1976)
Dial "M" for Murder (1967)
Max Halliday
Spellbound (1962)
J B
Feathertop (1961)
Feathertop
Frances Langford Presents (1959)
The Desilu Revue (1959)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Seekers (1979)

Life Events

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"

1970

Made TV-movie debut, "Wild Women"

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)

2000

Appeared on the TV series "Call of the Wild"

Photo Collections

Drums Across the River - Publicity Stills
Drums Across the River - Publicity Stills

Videos

Movie Clip

Broken Lance (1954) - The Governor Wants To See You Emerging from a deep dark prison to 20th Century-Fox Cinemascope Technicolor, Robert Wagner as Joe Devereaux gets escorted (by John Epper) to the see the governor at the state capitol, stopping to gaze at a portrait of his dad (Spencer Tracy), opening Edward Dmytryk’s burly Western Broken Lance, 1954.
Broken Lance (1954) - Stay Close To Me Director Edward Dmytryk staging a tense prelude to a big action piece, Spencer Tracy as rancher Devereaux with his sons (Richard Widmark, Hugh O’Brian, Earl Holliman and Robert Wagner as Joe) confronts McAndrews (Robert Burton), boss of the copper mine that’s poisoning his cattle, in Broken Lance, 1954.
Come Fly With Me (1963) - Cavitation Still on her first flight, Brewster (Pamela Tiffin) gets punked by Teddy (James Dobson), as Bergie (Lois Nettleton) meets Lucas (Karl Malden) and a drunk, and Donna (Dolores Hart) encounters the baron (Karl Boehm), Winsley (Hugh O'Brian) observing, plots taking off, in Come Fly With Me, 1963.
Come Fly With Me (1963) - Polar Atlantic Racing through what would become Kennedy airport in New York, new flight attendant Brewster (Pamela Tiffin) meets friendly colleague "Bergie" (Lois Nettleton), less-so Donna (Dolores Hart) plus officers Winsley (Hugh O'Brian) and Shepherd (James Dobson), opening MGM's Come Fly With Me, 1963.
Ten Little Indians (1966) - What's He Like? Introduced in credits riding up an Alpine tramway, guests Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde White, Leo Genn, Hugh O'Brian, Dennis Price, Fabian, Shirley Eaton, Daliah Lavi, plus servants Mario Adorf and Marianne Hoppe, begin to chat, in the 1966 version of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians.
Ten Little Indians (1966) - Who's Got The First Line? The guests, Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde White, Daliah Lavi, Dennis Price, Hugh O'Brian, Shirley Eaton, Fabian, Leo Genn, served dinner by Grohmann (Mario Adorf), finally hearing from their host (voice of Christopher Lee), in Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, 1966.
Love Has Many Faces - Love Is Thin Ice An Acapulco cop (Enrique Lucero) is questioning heiress Kit (Lana Turner, proving she can still wear a swimsuit) and young husband Pete (Cliff Robertson) on their boat about a drowning, early in Love Has Many Faces, 1965.

Trailer

Family

Hugh John Krampe
Father
Edith Krampe
Mother

Companions

Virginia Barber
Companion
Teacher. Together from c. 1987.

Bibliography

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.