Hugh O'Brian - Rotten Tomatoes

Hugh O'Brian



American actor Hugh O'Brian accrued his interest in acting while dancing with movie starlets at the Hollywood Canteen during his wartime Marine days. O'Brian attended the University of Cincinnati briefly, and later supported himself selling menswear door-to-door. He made his first film, Never Fear, in 1950, working but sporadically during the next five years; what few acting parts he received were on the basis of his broad shoulders and six-foot height. In one film, Fireman Save My Child (1954), O'Brian was cast because he and costar Buddy Hackett physically matched the previously filmed long shots of Fireman's original stars, Abbott and Costello. Answering a cattle-call tryout for the new ABC TV western Wyatt Earp in 1955, O'Brian was almost instantly chosen for the leading role by author Stuart Lake, who'd known the real Wyatt and had been his biographer for many years (reportedly Earp's widow also okayed O'Brien after a single glance). O'Brian became a major TV star thanks to Wyatt Earp, which ran for 249 episodes until 1961. The series was not only tough on the actor but on his fans; reportedly there was a sharp increase in gun accidents during Wyatt Earp's run, due to young would-be Earps who were trying to emulate Wyatt's fast draw (this despite the fact that the TV Earp, like the real one, used his firearms only when absolutely necessary). Like most western TV stars, O'Brian swore he was through with shoot-em-ups when Earp ceased production, and throughout the '60s he worked in almost every type of film and theatrical genre but westerns. He showed considerable skill in the realm of musical comedy, and became a top draw in the summer-stock and dinner theatre circuit. In 1972, O'Brian starred in the computer-happy secret-agent TV series Search, which lasted only a single season. As he became the focus of hero worship from grown-up Baby Boomers, O'Brian relaxed his resistance toward Wyatt Earp and began showing up on live and televised western retrospectives. The actor reprised the Earp role in two 1989 episodes of the latter-day TV western Paradise, opposite Gene Barry in his old TV role of Bat Masterson. He was Earp again in the 1991 TV movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, in which he managed to shine in the company of several other cowboy-show veterans (including Barry, again) and was permitted to walk into the sunset as an offscreen chorus warbled the Wyatt Earp theme music! Hugh O'Brian's most recent turn at Ol' Wyatt was in a hastily assembled CBS movie mostly comprised of clips from the old Earp series, and released to capitalize on Kevin Costner's big-budget Wyatt Earp film of 1994. O'Brian died in 2016, at age 91.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp - From Ellsworth to Tombstone
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone
  • Wyatt Earp
1994
73% Tombstone
  • Actor
1993
No Score Yet The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw
  • Wyatt Earp
1991
No Score Yet Gunsmoke: The Last Apache
  • Actor
1990
34% Twins
  • Granger
1988
No Score Yet Doin' Time on Planet Earth
  • Richard Camalier
1988
No Score Yet Bush Doctor
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet The Seekers
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet David and Goliath
  • Actor
1979
75% Game of Death
  • Steiner
1978
No Score Yet Cruise into Terror
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Fantasy Island
  • Paul Henley
1977
93% The Shootist
  • Pulford
1976
No Score Yet Killer Force (The Diamond Mercenaries)
  • Lewis
1976
No Score Yet Murder on Flight 502
  • Detective Daniel Myerson
1975
No Score Yet Goodbye Bruce Lee: His Last Game of Death
  • Steiner
1975
No Score Yet Probe
  • Hugh Lockwood
1972
No Score Yet Wild Women
  • Actor
1970
No Score Yet Africa---Texas Style!
  • Jim Sinclair
1967
No Score Yet Ambush Bay
  • 1st Sgt. Steve Corey
1966
No Score Yet Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians (And Then There Were None)
  • Hugh Lombard
1965
40% In Harm's Way
  • Air Force Major
1965
No Score Yet Love Has Many Faces
  • Hank Walker
1965
No Score Yet Assassination in Rome
  • Actor
1965
No Score Yet Come Fly with Me
  • 1st Officer Ray Winsley
1963
No Score Yet Alias Jesse James
  • Wyatt Earp
1959
No Score Yet The Fiend Who Walked the West
  • Daniel Slade Hardy
1958
No Score Yet White Feather
  • American Horse
1955
67% There's No Business Like Show Business
  • Charles Gibbs
1954
80% Broken Lance
  • Mike Devereaux
1954
No Score Yet Saskatchewan
  • Carl Smith
1954
No Score Yet Seminole
  • Kajeck
1953
No Score Yet The Lawless Breed
  • Ike Hanley
1953
100% Man from the Alamo
  • Lt. Lamar
1953
No Score Yet Loretta Young Show, The - V. 1
  • Actor
1953
No Score Yet Red Ball Express
  • Pvt. Wilson
1952
No Score Yet The Battle at Apache Pass
  • Lt. Harley
1952
No Score Yet The Cimarron Kid
  • Red Buck
1952
No Score Yet Meet Me at the Fair
  • Chilton Corr
1952
No Score Yet Son of Ali Baba
  • Hussein
1952
No Score Yet Cave of Outlaws
  • Garth
1951
No Score Yet Little Big Horn
  • Pvt. Al DeWalt
1951
No Score Yet Vengeance Valley
  • Dick Fasken
1951
No Score Yet The Return of Jesse James
  • Lem
1950
No Score Yet Rocketship X-M
  • Harry Chamberlin
1950
No Score Yet Young Lovers
  • Len Randall
1950
No Score Yet Beyond the Purple Hills
  • Jack Beaumont
1950
No Score Yet The Young Lovers
  • Actor
1949

Quotes from Hugh O'Brian's Characters

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