Hugh Charles Krampe was born on April 19, 1925, and died on September 5, 2016.
He was known professionally as Hugh O’Brian.
He was an American actor known for his starring roles in the ABC western television series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955–1961) and the NBC action television series Search (1972–1973).
Hugh also had a minor role in John Wayne’s last film, The Shootist.
Hugh was chosen to portray legendary lawman Wyatt Earp on the ABC western series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, which debuted in 1955.
That series, alongside Gunsmoke and Cheyenne, which debuted the same year, spearheaded the “adult western” television genre, with the emphasis on character development rather than moral sermonizing.
His show soon became one of the top-rated shows on television.
During its six-year run, Wyatt Earp consistently placed in the top ten in the United States.
Many years 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 the independent film Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone (1994), the latter mixing new footage and colorized archival sequences from the original series.
He made appearance regularly on other programs in the 1960s, including Jack Palance’s ABC circus drama The Greatest Show on Earth.
Hugo also appeared as a ‘guest attorney’ in the 1963 Perry Mason episode “The Case of the Two-Faced Turn-a-bout” when its star, Raymond Burr, was sidelined for a spell after minor emergency surgery.
Hugo was a guest celebrity panelist on the popular CBS prime-time programs Password and What’s My Line? and served as a mystery guest on three occasions on the latter series.
During 1971 he filmed a TV movie pilot titled PROBE, playing a high-tech (for the times) agent for a company that specialized in recovering valuable items.
The pilot would spawn a show for O’Brian named SEARCH, which only ran one season (1972–1973).
During 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 also made a number of motion pictures, 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).
He recreated his Wyatt Earp role for three 1990s projects: Guns of Paradise (1990) and The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991), with fellow actor Gene Barry doing likewise as lawman Bat Masterson for each, as well as the independent film Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone (1994).
Hugh O’Brian also had a small role in the Danny DeVito/Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy Twins (1988 film).
At 81 years old, on June 25, 2006, O’Brian married his girlfriend of 18 years, Virginia Barber (born ca. 1952); it was his first marriage. The ceremony was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park with the Rev. Robert Schuller officiating.
His wife Barber was married once before, was a teacher by profession and the couple spent their honeymoon studying philosophy at Oxford University.
Apparently, Hugo O’Brian stated that he believed that “an active mind is as important as an active body”.
He died at his home in Beverly Hills, California.
Hugh O’Brian passed away at 91 years old.