Hugh O'Brian – MovieActors.com
About Hugh O'Brian (1925 – 2016)
Hugh O'Brian was born Hugh Charles Krampe in Rochester, New York, the son of Edith (Marks) and Hugh John Krampe, a career U.S. Marine Corps officer. He attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, then went on to enroll at the now-defunct Kemper Military Academy in Boonville, Missouri. He lettered in football, basketball, wrestling, and track. He dropped out of the University of Cincinnati after one semester to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.
O'Brian died at his home in Beverly Hills, California on September 5, 2016 at the age of 91 of natural causes.
After World War II, O'Brian moved to Los Angeles to study at UCLA. While there he was discovered on the stage by Ida Lupino, who signed him to a film she was directing, Never Fear, that led to a contract with Universal.
O'Brian replaced Bud Abbott in what began and ended up as an Abbott and Costello movie, Fireman Save My Child (1954), with Buddy Hackett cast in the Lou Costello role and Spike Jones and his band also appearing.
He won the coveted role of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp on the ABC western series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, which debuted in 1955. Together with Gunsmoke and Cheyenne, which bowed the same year, these shows were the vanguard of the "adult western" TV genre, with an emphasis on character development rather than moralizing. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp would soon become one of the top-rated shows on TV. In its six-year run, Wyatt Earp consistently appeared in the top ten. Decades later, O'Brian reprised the role in two episodes of the television series Guns of Paradise (1990), TV-movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991) and in the independent production of Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone (1994), the latter mixing new footage and colorized archival sequences from the original show.
O'Brian appeared regularly on other programs in the 1960s, including Jack Palance's circus drama The Greatest Show on Earth. He can also be seen as a 'guest attorney' in the 1963 Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Two-Faced Turn-a-bout" when Raymond Burr was briefly unavailable after minor emergency surgery. He was a guest celebrity panelist on the popular CBS prime-time programs Password and What's My Line?, and served as a mystery guest three times on the latter show. In 1971 he starred in a TV movie pilot, PROBE, in which he played a high-tech agent for a company specializing in recovering valuable items. The pilot spawned a show, SEARCH, which ran for one season (1972-1973), in which O'Brian starred. In 1999 and 2000, he co-starred with Dick Van Patten, Deborah Winters, Richard Roundtree, and Richard Anderson in the miniseries Y2K - World in Crisis.
He made a number of films, among them Rocketship X-M (1950), The Lawless Breed (1953), There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), White Feather (1955), Come Fly with Me (1963), Love Has Many Faces (1965), In Harm's Way (1965), Ten Little Indians (1965), and Ambush Bay (1966). O'Brian was a featured star in the 1977 premiere of Fantasy Island, and also appeared in fight scenes with a Bruce Lee double in Lee's last film, Game of Death, in 1978.
O'Brian reprised his Wyatt Earp role for three 1990s projects: Guns of Paradise (1990) and The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991), with Gene Barry joining him as lawman Bat Masterson for each, as well as the independent film Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone (1994). He also had a small role in the Danny DeVito/Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy Twins (1988) as one of several DNA donors who'd contributed genetic material to what became the "twins". In the film, Schwarzenegger thinks he's found his father when he meets O'Brian's character.
On June 25, 2006, O'Brian married for the first time at the age of 81; his wife is the former Virginia Barber (born 1952). The ceremony was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park with the Reverend Robert Schuller, pastor of the former Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, officiating. They were serenaded by their close friend Debbie Reynolds.
Hugh O'Brian has dedicated much of his life to Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), a non-profit youth leadership development program for high school scholars. HOBY sponsors 10,000 high school sophomores yearly through its network of over 70 leadership programs in 50 states and 20 countries. Since it began in 1958, over 400,000 students have participated in HOBY-affiliated programs.
The concept for HOBY was inspired in 1958 by a nine-day visit O’Brian had with the great humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa. Dr. Schweitzer told O'Brian that "the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves."
Hugh O’Brian’s core message to young people is “Freedom to Choose” as explained in his essay on the topic.
Hugh O'Brian's movie credits include...
|1949||Never Fear||Len Randall|
|1950||Rocketship X-M||Harry Chamberlain|
|1950||Beyond the Purple Hills||Jack Beaumont|
|1950||The Return of Jesse James||Lem Younger|
|1951||Vengeance Valley||Dick Fasken|
|1951||Buckaroo Sheriff of Texas||Ted Gately|
|1951||Fighting Coast Guard||Tom Peterson|
|1951||Little Big Horn||Pvt. Al DeWalt|
|1951||On the Loose||Dr. Phillips|
|1951||Cave of Outlaws||Garth|
|1952||The Battle at Apache Pass||Lt. Robert Harley|
|1952||The Cimarron Kid||Red Buck|
|1952||Yankee Buccaneer||Off-Screen Narrator|
|1952||Sally and Saint Anne||Danny O'Moyne|
|1952||Son of Ali Baba||Hussein|
|1952||Red Ball Express||Pvt. Wilson|
|1952||The Raiders||Hank Purvis|
|1953||The Lawless Breed||Ike Hanley|
|1953||Meet Me at the Fair||Chilton Corr|
|1953||The Man from the Alamo||Lt. Tom Lamar|
|1953||The Stand at Apache River||Tom Kenyon|
|1953||Back to God's Country||Frank Hudson|
|1954||Taza, Son of Cochise||Killed settler|
|1954||Fireman Save My Child||Smitty|
|1954||Drums Across the River||Morgan|
|1954||Broken Lance||Mike Devereaux|
|1954||There's No Business Like Show Business||Charles Gibbs|
|1955||White Feather||American Horse|
|1955||The Twinkle in God's Eye||Marty Callahan|
|1956||The Brass Legend||Sheriff Wade Addams|
|1958||The Fiend Who Walked the West||Daniel Slade Hardy|
|1959||Alias Jesse James||Wyatt Earp|
|1963||Come Fly with Me||FO Ray Winsley|
|1965||In Harm's Way||USAAC major|
|1965||Love Has Many Faces||Hank Walker|
|1965||Assassination in Rome||Dick Sherman|
|1965||Ten Little Indians||Hugh Lombard/ Charles Morley|
|1966||Ambush Bay||1Sg Steve Corey|
|1967||Africa Texas Style||Jim Sinclair|
|1969||Strategy of Terror||Det. Matt Lacey|
|1976||The Shootist||Jack Pulford|
|1978||Game of Death||Steiner|
|1988||Doin' Time on Planet Earth||Richard Camalier|
|1994||Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone||Wyatt Earp|
|2014||Old Soldiers||Dick Bartholomew|
Hugh O'Brian's television credits include...
|1949||Oboler Comedy Theatre||N/A|
|1954||Hallmark Hall of Fame||Starbuck|
|1954||Letter to Loretta||Various|
|1954||Studio 57||Giff Dillard|
|1955||The Millionaire||Luke Fortune|
|1955||Stage 7||Billy the Kid|
|1955||Damon Runyon Theater||Packy|
|1955||The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp||Wyatt Earp|
|1956||Make Room for Daddy||Wyatt Earp|
|1956||The Star and the Story||Hank Bartlett|
|1957||The Ford Television Theatre||Matty Curran|
|1957||Date with the Angels||Himself|
|1959||Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse||Various|
|1960||The Secret World of Eddie Hodges||Wyatt Earp|
|1960||General Electric Theater||Sam Sharp|
|1961||Sunday Showcase||John Honeyman|
|1961||The Play of the Week||N/A|
|1961||The Dick Powell Show||Jack Farmer|
|1962||Alcoa Premiere||Miles Hadley|
|1962||The Virginian||Paul Taylor|
|1962||Kraft Mystery Theatre||Various|
|1962||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour||Christopher Martin/ Christopher Phillips|
|1963||Perry Mason||Bruce Jason/Conrad Bucola|
|1963||The Greatest Show on Earth||Garve|
|1964||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Various|
|1964||Vacation Playhouse||Sam Sharp|
|1965||Kraft Suspense Theatre||Det. Matt Lacey|
|1965||The Red Skelton Show||Count Mustache|
|1967||Dial M for Murder||Mark Halliday|
|1968||A Punt, a Pass, and a Prayer||Johnny Aragon|
|1970||Swing Out, Sweet Land||Thomas Jefferson|
|1975||Murder on Flight 502||Det. Daniel Myerson|
|1976||Charlie's Angels||Tony Mann|
|1977||Benny and Barney: Las Vegas Undercover||Jack Davis|
|1977||Murder at the World Series||The Governor|
|1978||Cruise into Terror||Andy - Captain|
|1978||Greatest Heroes of the Bible||Abner|
|1979||The Seekers||Andrew Piggot|
|1982||Bush Doctor||Dr. Robert Maxell|
|1982||The Love Boat||Gabriel|
|1982||Matt Houston||Thom 'Buck' McCune|
|1990||Gunsmoke: The Last Apache||Nelson Miles|
|1990||Murder, She Wrote||Fred Keppard|
|1991||The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw||Wyatt Earp|
|1993||L.A. Law||Raymond Holtz|
|2000||Call of the Wild||Older Miles|
“I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose: To share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love.”
“I do NOT believe we are all born equal. CREATED equal in the eyes of God, YES, but physical and emotional differences, parental guidance, varying environments, being in the right place at the right time, all play a role in enhancing or limiting an individual's development. ”
“But I DO believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their own potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist or seek a meaningful purpose? Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream?”
Did You Know
At 17 years of age, Hugh O'Brian was the youngest Drill Instructor in Marine Corps history.
O'Brian was once a soda-jerk at Schwab's drug store on Sunset Boulevard.
He was one of the first celebrities to take part in frontline tours of Vietnam, at the request of the State Department. Hugh once staged and directed a company of "Guys and Dolls" which toured Vietnam, Thailand and Japan for the troops.
O'Brian was the last person killed onscreen by John Wayne, in The Shootist (1976). O'Brian was a good friend of Wayne and said he considered this a great honor.
He broke into acting by accident. Dating an actress in Los Angeles at the time, he visited her at a couple of her rehearsals for a play. The director asked Hugh to step in after the leading man dropped out of the show. An L.A. Times reporter saw the production and gave Hugh an excellent review.