Episodes: 172 (hour)
TV show dates: September 23, 1969 – May 4, 1976
Series status: Cancelled/ended
Performers include: Robert Young, James Brolin, Elena Verdugo, Pamela Hensley, Sharon Gless, Marcia Ralston, Connie Izay, Anne Schedeen, Anne Baxter, and Gavin Brendan.
TV show description:
Robert Young stars as Doctor Marcus Welby, a caring family practitioner who believes in old-school, common-sense methods and the importance of having a good bedside manner. Welby served in the US Navy as a doctor during the war. A widower, he enjoys sailing his boat on the ocean and spending time with girlfriends like Myra Sherwood (Anne Baxter). Welby has an adult daughter named Sandy (Christine Belford, then Anne Schedeen) and a grandson, Phil (Gavin Brendan).
Welby works with Doctor Steven Kiley (James Brolin), a brilliant young physician. He has more strait-laced methods and often disagrees with Welby’s way of thinking but usually ends up seeing the value in what his partner says. The two work alongside one another at a private practice in Santa Monica, California and often work with the staff at nearby Lang Memorial Hospital.
The two doctors are ably assisted by Consuelo Lopez (Elena Verdugo), their loyal secretary, nurse and friend. Towards the end of the show’s run, Kiley meets and marries Janet Blake (Pamela Hensley), a public relations director. Sharon Gless plays another secretary, Kathleen Faverty.
Storylines tackle issues like addiction to painkillers, brain damage, breast cancer, depression, dysautonomia, epilepsy, impotence, leukemia, mononucleosis, rape, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Episode 172 — Vanity Case, part two
Sandy and Paul Moran become engaged and Welby has a hard time adjusting to the idea. Paul’s ex-wife Hedy returns because she’s losing her sight.
First aired: May 4, 1976.
What happened next?
Young reprised his beloved role for two reunion movies — The Return of Marcus Welby, MD in 1984 and Marcus Welby, MD: A Holiday Affair in 1988. He was joined by Verdugo in the first one as the aging physician finds himself being forced into retirement from the hospital. In the second TV movie, he finds a second chance at love in Paris.
Behind the Scenes
Young, Brolin, and Verdugo appeared in every episode of the TV series.