Born Hugh Krampe in Rochester, New York, on April 19, 1925, actor Hugh O'Brian excelled in sports while in high school, playing football and basketball, running track and wrestling. After high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps during World War II. After a four-year stint as a Marine, O'Brian was discharged. He was bitten by the acting bug and after moving to Los Angeles he enrolled at UCLA and took roles in small theatre productions. He was soon discovered by actor/director Ida Lupino, who cast him in her 1949 film Never Fear, for which she directed and wrote the screenplay. His strong screen presence and solid performance in his early film appearances landed O'Brian a contract with Universal-International in 1950.

Hugh O'BrianHugh O'BrianHugh O'Brian

LEFT: Early 1950s Universal studio shot. CENTER: Mid 1960s shot. RIGHT: A 1964 ad for Heublein Whiskey Sour

O'Brian left Universal in the mid 1950s and took the role of Wyatt Earp in Desilu's The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp series, a big hit from 1955-1961. Never forgetting his roots in the legitimate theatre, O'Brian did quite a bit of Broadway, especially in the 1960s.

the films of hugh o'brian

Cave of Outlaws (1951)

Hugh O'Brian

From the Universal-International western Cave of Outlaws

The Raiders (1952)

Hugh O'Brian and Viveca LindforsHugh O'Brian

LEFT: With Viveca Lindfors in the Universal-International western The Raiders. RIGHT: As Hank Purvis

Sally and Saint Anne (1952)

Hugh O'Brian

From the Universal-International comedy Sally and Saint Anne. Pictured are Lamont Johnson, Jack Kelly, Ann Blyth, Frances Bavier, Otto Hulett, and Hugh O'Brian

The Man From the Alamo (1953)

Hugh O'Brian

Another shot from one of O'Brian's numerous westerns, this one's from the Glenn Ford vehicle The Man From the Alamo

Meet Me at the Fair (1953)

Hugh O'Brian

From the musical Meet Me at the Fair

The Stand at Apache River (1953)

Hugh Marlowe, Hugh O'Brian, and Jaclynne Greene

With Hugh Marlowe and Jaclynne Greene in The Stand at Apache River

Drums Across the River (1954)

Hugh O'BrianHugh O'Brian and Audie Murphy

From Drums Across the River, one of O'Brian's last Universal features. The photo on the right includes Audie Murphy

Saskatchewan (1954)

Hugh O'Brian and Shelley Winters

From Saskatchewan with Shelley Winters

The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955-1961 TV series)

Hugh O'BrianHugh O'Brian

Materials from Wyatt Earp. LEFT: Dell comic book cover from the late 1950s. RIGHT: ABC-TV promotional photo

G.E. True Theater (1953-1962 CBS TV Series)

Hugh O'Brian and Stella Stevens

O'Brian stars along with Stella Stevens in a 1960 episode of the CBS anthology series G.E. True Theater titled The Graduation Dress

Love Has Many Faces (1965)

Hugh O'BrianHugh O'BrianHugh O'BrianHugh O'BrianHugh O'Brian and Ron HusmannHugh O'Brian and Ruth RomanHugh O'Brian and Stefanie Powers

From the Columbia potboiler Love Has Many Faces. LEFT and CENTER A, B, and C: O'Brian as Hank Walker. CENTER D: With Ron Husmann. CENTER E: With Ruth Roman. RIGHT: With Stefanie Powers

Ambush Bay (1966)

Hugh O'BrianMickey Rooney, Hugh O'Brian, and James MitchumHugh O'Brian and Jim Mitchum

From the war drama Ambush Bay, released by United Artists. LEFT: As Sgt. Steve Corey. CENTER: With Mickey Rooney and James Mitchum. RIGHT: With James Mitchum

Africa: Texas Style (1967)

Hugh O'Brian and Adrienne Corri

With Adrienne Corri in the Paramount adventure Africa: Texas Style

Dial M for Murder (1967 ABC TV Movie)

Diane Cilento and Hugh O'Brian

With Diane Cilento in the ABC TV movie Dial M for Murder, a remake of the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock film

Strategy of Terror (1969)

Barbara Rush and Hugh O'BrianBarbara Rush and Hugh O'Brian

With Barbara Rush in the Universal whodunnit Strategy of Terror

Search (1972-1973 NBC TV Series)

Hugh O'Brian

O'Brian portrayed Hugh Lockwood in the short-lived NBC series Search

Killer Force (1976)

Peter Fonda and Hugh O'Brian

From the American International action flick Killer Force with Peter Fonda

later years

Hugh O'Brian's career continued to be strong throughout the 1970s, but by the end of the decade, he cooled his acting career in order to focus on his organization Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY). Founded in 1958, HOBY seeks out and helps recognize leadership potential in high school sophomores. In June 2006, O'Brian married for the first time; his wife, Virginia, is a teacher whom the actor had dated for a number of years. Sadly, Hugh O'Brian passed away from natural causes on September 5, 2016, at age 91.

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Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone (1994) with Bruce Boxleitner
The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991) with Kenny Rogers, Rick Rossovich, Claude Akins, Gene Barry, David Carradine, Doug McClure, Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, Linda Evans, and Brian Keith
Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (1990) with James Arness, Richard Kiley, and Joe Lara
Doin' Time on Planet Earth (1988) with Adam West, Candy Azzara, Gloria Hendry, Roddy McDowall, and Maureen Stapleton
Twins (1988) with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, and Kelly Preston
The Seekers (1979) with Martin Milner, Robert Reed, Barbara Rush, Stuart Whitman, and John Carradine
Game of Death (1978) with Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Gig Young
Cruise Into Terror (1978) with Dirk Benedict, John Forsythe, Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Lee Meriwether, Ray Milland, Stella Stevens, and Marshall Thompson
Murder at the World Series (1977) with Lynda Day George, Karen Valentine, Michael Parks, Janet Leigh, Nancy Kelly, Tamara Dobson, and Bruce Boxleitner
Fantasy Island (1977) with Ricardo Montalban, Bill Bixby, Sandra Dee, Peter Lawford, Carol Lynley, Victoria Principal, and Dick Sargent
Benny and Barney: Las Vegas Undercover (1977) with Jane Seymour, Jack Cassidy, Pat Harrington Jr., Rodney Dangerfield, Marty Allen, George Gobel, and Bobby Troup
The Shootist (1976) with John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, James Stewart, Richard Boone, Bill McKinney, Harry Morgan, John Carradine, and Sheree North
Killer Force (1975) with Telly Savalas, Peter Fonda, Christopher Lee, O.J. Simpson, and Maud Adams
Murder on Flight 502 (1975) with Ralph Bellamy, Polly Bergen, Dane Clark, Robert Stack, Sonny Bono, Laraine Day, Fernando Lamas, George Maharis, and Farrah Fawcett
Probe (1972) with Elke Sommer, John Gielgud, and Burgess Meredith
Harpy (1971) with Elizabeth Ashley
Wild Women (1970) with Anne Francis, Marilyn Maxwell, and Marie Windsor
Strategy of Terror (1969) with Barbara Rush and Neil Hamilton
A Punt, a Pass, and a Prayer (1968) with Betsy Palmer, Nancy Dussault, and Don DeFore
Africa - Texas Style! (1967) with John Mills
Dial M for Murder (1967) with Laurence Harvey
Ten Little Indians (1966) with Fabian, Shirley Eaton, and Daliah Lavi
Ambush Bay (1966)
Love Has Many Faces (1965) with Lana Turner, Ruth Roman, Cliff Robertson, Stefanie Powers, and Virginia Grey
Assassination in Rome (1964) with Cyd Charisse
Come Fly with Me (1963) with Dolores Hart, Pamela Tiffin, and Lois Maxwell
The Fiend Who Walked the West (1958) with Robert Evans, Linda Cristal, Stephen McNally, and Ron Ely
The Brass Legend (1956) with Raymond Burr
White Feather (1955) with Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, Debra Paget, and Virginia Leith
The Twinkle in God's Eye (1955) with Mickey Rooney, Coleen Gray, Don 'Red' Barry, and Mike Connors
Drums Across the River (1954) with Audie Murphy, Mara Corday, Walter Brennan, Lyle Bettger, Lisa Gaye, and Jay Silverheels
There's No Business Like Show Business (1954) with Marilyn Monroe, Ethel Merman, Donald O'Connor, Dan Dailey, Johnnie Ray, and Mitzi Gaynor
Broken Lance (1954) with Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner, Jean Peters, Richard Widmark, and Katy Jurado
Fireman Save My Child (1954) with Buddy Hackett, Adele Jergens, and Spike Jones
Saskatchewan (1954) with Alan Ladd and Richard Long
Back to God's Country (1953) with Rock Hudson and Steve Cochran
Meet Me at the Fair (1953) with Dan Dailey, Diana Lynn, Scatman Crothers, and Carole Mathews
Seminole (1953) with Rock Hudson, Richard Carlson, and Barbara Hale
The Stand at Apache River (1953) with Julie Adams and Hugh Marlowe
The Man from the Alamo (1953) with Glenn Ford, Julie Adams, and Guy Williams
The Battle at Apache Pass (1952) with Jeff Chandler, Susan Cabot, and Richard Egan
The Lawless Breed (1952) with Rock Hudson, Julie Adams, and Glenn Strange
The Raiders (1952) with Richard Conte, Viveca Lindfors, Barbara Britton, Gregg Palmer, William Reynolds, Morris Ankrum, Dennis Weaver, and Margaret Field
Sally and Saint Anne (1952) with Ann Blyth and Edmund Gwenn
Son of Ali Baba (1952) with Tony Curtis, Susan Cabot, and Gerald Mohr
Red Ball Express (1952) with Jeff Chandler
Cave of Outlaws (1951) with Macdonald Carey
The Cimarron Kid (1951) with Audie Murphy and John Bromfield
Little Big Horn (1951) with Lloyd Bridges, John Ireland, and Marie Windsor
On the Loose (1951) with Joan Evans
Fighting Coast Guard (1951) with Brian Donlevy, Martin Milner, and Steve Brodie
Buckaroo Sheriff of Texas (1951)
Vengeance Valley (1951) with Burt Lancaster, Sally Forrest, Joanne Dru, and John Ireland
Rocketship X-M (1950) with Lloyd Bridges, Osa Massen, Noah Beery Jr., and Morris Ankrum; once aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000
The Return of Jesse James (1950) with John Ireland and Reed Hadley
Beyond the Purple Hills (1950) with Gene Autry
The Young Lovers (1949) with Sally Forrest and Keefe Brasselle

Search, 1972-1973 TV series. O'Brian portrayed Hugh Lockwood
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, 1955-1961 ABC TV series. O'Brian portrayed Wyatt Earp

L.A. Law, episode Odor in the Court, originally aired January 7, 1993
Murder, She Wrote, episode A Body to Die For, originally aired November 11, 1990
Guns of Paradise, episode Home Again, originally aired September 16, 1989
Guns of Paradise, episode A Gathering of Guns, originally aired September 10, 1989
Matt Houston, episode The Kidnapping, originally aired November 28, 1982
The Love Boat, episode April in Boston/Saving Grace/Breaks of Life, originally aired May 1, 1982
Fantasy Island, episode House of Dolls/Wuthering Heights, originally aired January 9, 1982
Fantasy Island, episode Crescendo/Three Feathers, originally aired December 20, 1980
Fantasy Island, episode PlayGirl/Smith's Valhalla, originally aired January 26, 1980
Fantasy Island, episode Cowboy/Substitute Wife, originally aired January 20, 1979
Greatest Heroes of the Bible, episode David & Goliath, originally aired November 19, 1978
Fantasy Island, episode Pilot, originally aired January 14, 1977
Police Story, episode Spitfire, originally aired January 11, 1977
Charlie's Angels, episode Lady Killer, originally aired November 24, 1976
Good Heavens, episode A Night with Brockton, originally aired May 22, 1976
Police Story, episode Open City, originally aired March 12, 1976
Police Story, episode Collision Course, originally aired November 20, 1973
The Red Skelton Hour, episode Lookie, Lookie, Here Comes Cookie, originally aired February 23, 1965
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, episode Exit from a Plane in Flight, originally aired January 22, 1965
Kraft Suspense Theatre, episode In Darkness, Waiting: Parts 1 and 2, originally aired January 14 and 21, 1965
Vacation Playhouse, episode The Graduation Dress, originally aired August 10, 1964
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, episode Runaway, originally aired January 10, 1964
The Greatest Show on Earth, episode Garve, originally aired October 15, 1963
Kraft Mystery Theater, episode The Rules of the Game, originally aired July 3, 1963
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Two-Faced Turn-a-bout, originally aired February 14, 1963
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, episode Ride the Nightmare, originally aired November 29, 1962
Kraft Mystery Theater, episode Circle of Evil, originally aired September 26, 1962
The Virginian, episode The Executioners, originally aired September 19, 1962
Alcoa Premiere, episode The Rules of the Game, originally aired May 1, 1962
Theatre '62, episode Spellbound, originally aired February 11, 1962
The Dick Powell Theatre, episode Up Jumped the Devil, originally aired November 28, 1961
Play of the Week, episode The Wingless Victory, originally aired April 17, 1961
Sunday Showcase, episode Our American Heritage: The Secret Rebel, originally aired March 11, 1961
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, episode Circle of Evil, originally aired March 18, 1960
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, episode Chain of Command, originally aired March 23, 1959
Playhouse 90, episode Reunion, originally aired January 2, 1958
Date with the Angels, episode Star Struck, originally aired September 20, 1957
The Christophers, episode As You Make It, originally aired March 10, 1957
Playhouse 90, episode Invitation to a Gunfighter, originally aired March 7, 1957
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Ringside Seat, originally aired February 13, 1957
Matinee Theatre, episode Tall, Dark Stranger, originally aired February 28, 1956
The Star and the Story, episode Arab Duel, originally aired February 18, 1956
Make Room for Daddy, episode Wyatt Earp Visits the Williamses, originally aired February 14, 1956
Celebrity Playhouse, episode A Very Big Man, originally aired October 25, 1955
Damon Runyon Theater, episode A Light in France, originally aired July 30, 1955
Stage 7, episode Billy and the Bride, originally aired May 8, 1955
The Millionaire, episode The Luke Fortune Story, originally aired April 27, 1955
The Loretta Young Show, episode Feeling No Pain, originally aired April 17, 1955
Studio 57, episode The Engagement Ring, originally aired February 15, 1955
The Loretta Young Show, episode Three Minutes Too Late, originally aired December 26, 1954
The Loretta Young Show, episode Double Trouble, originally aired September 12, 1954
The Loretta Young Show, episode Guest in the Night, originally aired August 29, 1954
Studio 57, episode Storm Signal, originally aired November 30, 1954
Fireside Theatre, episode The Eleventh Hour, originally aired March 20, 1951
Fireside Theatre, episode Shifting Sands, originally aired March 13, 1951
Fireside Theatre, episode Going Home, originally aired February 20, 1951
Fireside Theatre, episode Miggles, originally aired December 19, 1950
Oboler Comedy Theatre, episode Dog's Eye View, originally aired November 4, 1949

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Watch Hugh O'Brian in a 1957 episode of Date with the Angels titled Star Struck

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