Actor Hugh O’Brian died yesterday, September 5, 2016, at the age of 91. His Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership leadership and service website, HOBY.org, announced the news. A veteran also of stage and screen, the actor played the title role in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp TV show. The 30-minute Western ran for six seasons of 227 episodes on ABC, from September 1955 to June 1961.
Born Hugh Charles Krampe on April 19, 1925 in Rochester, New York to Hugh John and Edith Krampe, O’Brian served with the US Marine Corps during World War II. His father was a career officer.
O’Brian returned to the role of lawman in the TV movies The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw in 1991 and Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone in 1994. He also played Earp in two 1989 episodes of the Guns of Paradise TV series, which ran for three seasons before being cancelled by CBS in 1991.
Mr. O’Brian’s other TV series regular work includes playing Hugh Lockwood on Search, which ran for one season of 23 episodes. It was cancelled by NBC, in 1973. The sci-fi drama series also starred Tony Franciosa, Doug McClure, Burgess Meredith, Angel Tompkins, Albert Popwell, and Byron Chung.
O’Brian guest-starred on long list of shows including: LA Law (1993); Murder She Wrote (1990); Matt Houston (1982); The Love Boat (1982); Fantasy Island (1977 to 1982), and Police Story (1973 to 1977). His last TV role was playing the older version of Miles Challenger, in the two-part pilot of the Call of the Wild TV series, in 2000, which ran for 13 episodes on Animal Planet.
Excerpted from O’Brian’s bio at HOBY:
O’Brian married for the first time at age 81. On June 25, 2006 he wed long-time girlfriend Virginia Barber at Forest Lawn Memorial Park with the Rev. Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, officiating. The couple was serenaded by close friend, Debbie Reynolds. O’Brian was very active well into his later years and enjoyed traveling, sailing, scuba diving and swimming. He lived with his beautiful wife in his hilltop home overlooking Beverly Hills until his death on September 5, 2016.
We invite you to remember Mr. O’Brian and his work, below.