James Drury, who starred as the no-name, no-nonsense foreman of the Shiloh Ranch top top "The Virginian," one of the longest-running Westerns in the background of television, has actually died. He to be 85.

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James Drury, that starred as the no-name, no-nonsense foreman of the Shiloh Ranch on The Virginian, among the longest-running Westerns in the background of television, passed away Monday of natural causes. He to be 85.

Drury died at his home in Houston, his assistant, Karen Lindsey, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Preparing because that his most renowned role, Drury appeared in several Westerns on the huge screen, consisting of Good Day for a Hanging (1959) v Fred MacMurray, Ten that Dared (1960) in ~ Disney and also Sam Peckinpah’s Ride the High Country (1962), working opposite Randolph Scott and also Joel McCrea (who starred in the 1946 movie The Virginian).


Drury also supported singers Elvis Presley and Pat Boone in their corresponding movie debuts, Love Me Tender (1956) and Bernardine (1957).

Based ~ above Owen Wister’s 1902 novel of the exact same name, The Virginian was released by executive, management producers Roy Huggins (Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, The Fugitive, The Rockford Files) and his son-in-law, future Columbia and also Universal studio chief frank Price.

It aired because that 249 episodes on NBC end nine seasons, native 1962-71, and amongst Westerns, only CBS’ Gunsmoke (20 seasons) and also NBC’s Bonanza (14) it is long longer. Drury and his co-star Doug McClure, who played the fun-loving Trampas, to be the just castmembers to show up in every season.

Drury’s laconic personality was always referred to as “The Virginian”; he had actually no name, uneven his horse, a white Appaloosa referred to as Joe D. The Shiloh foreman may have sported a black hat, but he frequently did the appropriate thing, rescuing folks and also fighting rustlers and outlaws in the Wyoming region in the 1890s.

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Each episode of The Virginian lasted 90 minutes, which produced a grueling manufacturing schedule.

“It was favor doing a movie every week,” Drury said in a 2016 interview. “We had 79 minutes and also 30 secs worth that film, which to be as long as a many of feature films that the day. It to be a very radical concept. I understand Wagon Train visited a 90-minute format for one season, and also there may have been various other attempts. Yet no one has ever been effective with 90 minutes for a Western collection except The Virginian.

“It’s a very challenging thing to do logistically, it’s a most film to acquire through. You have to have an excellent stories and great writers. It’s much easier to clues a poor script in an hour present than that is in a half-hour show. And also it’s a lot much easier to point out a negative script in a 90-minute display than the is in one hourlong show.”


Drury detailed that producers had to turn in one episode every week. “But it take it eight work to make one, for this reason we had actually to make 2 or 3 at a time,” he said. “On one well known occasion, ns was in five episodes that The Virginian in the same day.”

James son Drury was born top top April 18, 1934, in new York City, whereby his father was a longtime professor that marketing in ~ NYU. His mommy was native Oregon, and he spent many of his younger days on one of her family’s ranches exterior Salem.

His maternal grandfather, john Crawford, who had actually come west with a wagon train native Missouri in 1875 or 1880, taught him woodsman skills and marksmanship and also instilled in that the values that Drury claimed he brought to his Virginian character.

“I’ve constantly called that ‘The Cowboy Way,"” he said in 2014. “If it’s not true, don’t say it. If it’s not yours, don’t take it. And also if it’s no right, don’t perform it.”

Drury overcame a bout with polio, and at period 12 appeared in a touring firm of Life v Father. The attended high colleges in Los Angeles and was expelled from university High top top the day prior to graduation. However, due to the fact that of his dad, he to be able to gain into NYU, and also he majored in drama.

After his junior year, he was signed through MGM and also had little parts in Blackboard Jungle (1955), Love Me or leaving Me (1955), The tender Trap (1955) and also Forbidden Planet (1956). He was dropped by the studio after a year but picked up by 20th Century Fox and then Universal.

He showed up on together small-screen Westerns together Cheyenne, Broken Arrow, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train and Rawhide and also in one unsold 1958 pilot the made an previously stab in ~ The Virginian before he started his nine-season remain in fictional Wyoming.

In its critical year, The Virginian was rebranded as The guys From Shiloh, but its ratings suffered. Inquiry in the 2006 publication A background of Television’s The Virginian, 1962-1971 if he to be relieved that the present had been canceled after such a lengthy run, Drury responded: “I felt an extremely sad. No relief. I had no require for relief. Ns would have actually gone on for one more 10 years.”

Drury starred together Captain Spike Ryerson top top the short-lived 1974 ABC collection Firehouse and went on come guest star ~ above Alias Smith and Jones, The Adventures that Brisco County, Jr., The autumn Guy and other shows. His big-screen résumé likewise includes the war film The Young Warriors (1967).

He play Texas Ranger captain Tom Price top top the very first three episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger in 1993 and had a cameo in TNT’s 2000 movie adaptation that The Virginian, starring bill Pullman as the guy with no name.

His third wife, Carl Ann, died in August; they to be married for 40 years.

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Survivors incorporate his boy Timothy and also James Jr. And also their particular wives Kate and Kathy; stepchildren Frederick, Gary and Rhonda; four grandchildren; and also several great-grandchildren.Timothy is a keyboardist who has actually played v Don Henley, Whitesnake, Stevie Nicks and also Jon Anderson.