Hugh O'Brian

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his over three-hour interview, Hugh O'Brian (1925-2016) speaks about moving to Los Angeles to embark on an acting career following his service during World War II. He describes his early career in films, working with such stars as Gene Autry. He talks about his work in several dramatic anthologies in early television and the title role in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, the series for which he is most associated. He discusses many aspects of the series including the factual basis for his character, working with his co-stars and the difficult location shooting. He speaks about his later television and film work and his devotion to HOBY (Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership), a development organization for tomorrow's leaders that he formed in 1958.  B-roll consists of stills from various series and films including: The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Return to Tombstone (television movie), Love Has Many Faces (feature film) and Seminole (feature film). Jennifer Howard conducted the interview on March 29, 2005 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"I'd read a great deal about Wyatt Earp and when I got the role, I decided I to try to become proficient with a Colt 45 pistol. I practiced about 1,000 hours or more on that quick-draw. When we went on the set, they didn't have to cut away -- they could just stay with me and all of the sudden the gun was out and the other guy was not there. I think it was the authenticity that also made the show go right into the Top 5. It was the first adult western."

Highlights
Hugh O'Brian on getting the starring role in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
10:45
Hugh O'Brian on the TV movie Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone
02:18
Hugh O'Brian on appearing as a guest-star on the premiere episode of The Virginian
02:42
Hugh O'Brian on his Youth program, HOBY (Hugh O'Brian Youth)
07:01
Hugh O'Brian on the legacy of of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
01:50
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his time in the Marine Corps; on moving to California
On his appearance on Blind Date with host Arlene Francis; on his first movie role in Beyond the Purple Hills with Gene Autry; on getting a contract at Universal; on the Rock Hudson film Seminole

Chapter 2

On working with film stars Ida Lupino, Lloyd Bridges, Rock Hudson, Buddy Hackett, and Marilyn Monroe
On his first memories of seeing television; on the challenges and advantages of working in live television; on appearing on several Fireside Theatres; on appearing on Hallmark Hall of Fame productions, The Loretta Young Show; on leaving Universal for 20th Century FOX

Chapter 3

On getting the starring role in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp; on the real Wyatt Earp; on Earp's friend Al Jennings on set
On the historical accuracy of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp; on doing most of his own stunts; on his toughest stunts on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp

Chapter 4

On his co-stars on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp; on fan mail he received; on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp going off the air
On his favorite episodes of the show; on the show's attitude towards violence; on the legacy of of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
On not worrying that he'd be typecast; on appearing on The Jackie Gleason Show with clown Emmett Kelly and an elephant; on appearing on a show with Ginger Rogers; on appearing on Playhouse 90; on Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

Chapter 5

On Lucille Ball lending him her dressing room; on appearing as a guest-star on the premiere episode of The Virginian; on playing two characters on an episode of Perry Mason; on appearing in "Double Jeopardy" on Bob Hope Presents the Chrylser Theatre with Lauren Bacall; on the series Search
On appearing on an episode of Charlie's Angels; on appearing in the pilot of Fantasy Island and an episode of The Love Boat; on reprising the role of Wyatt Earp in Paradise; on appearing in a Gunsmoke TV movie; on friend Charlton Heston; on the TV movie Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone; on working with John Wayne on the film The Shootist and Wayne refereeing a fight in the Marine Corps

Chapter 6

On founding his Youth-leadership organization HOBY (Hugh O'Brian Youth); on meeting Dr. Albert Schweitzer and being inspired by a visit to Africa
On the goals for the Youth program; on whether or not he's retiring from acting; on the letters he receives from the kids that go through his Youth Program

Chapter 7

On forming his Youth organization, HOBY; on the highlight of his career; on how he'd like to be remembered; on the future of television
On B-roll of pictures from his career - from Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, his film career at Universal, and for HOBY
Shows

Blind Date

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on his appearance on Blind Date with host Arlene Francis
05:10

Bob Hope Presents Chrysler Theatre

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing in "Double Jeopardy" on Bob Hope Presents the Chrylser Theatre with Lauren Bacall
01:04

Charlie's Angels

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on playing Hugh Hefner on an episode of Charlie's Angels
00:49

Fantasy Island

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing in the pilot of Fantasy Island
02:00

Fireside Theatre

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on several Fireside Theatres
00:27

Gunsmoke

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing in a Gunsmoke TV movie
01:35

Hallmark Hall of Fame

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing in Hallmark Hall of Fame productions
01:57

Jackie Gleason Show, The

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on The Jackie Gleason Show with clown Emmett Kelly and an elephant
05:08

Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on working on practicing to use a gun for The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
00:46
Hugh O'Brian on the beginnings of how he got the starring role in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
03:26
Hugh O'Brian on getting the starring role in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp; on the real life Wyatt Earp; on the historical accuracy of the show
28:46
Hugh O'Brian on his co-stars on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp; on fan mail he received and why the show went off the air
09:09
Hugh O'Brian on his favorite episodes of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp; on the violence on the program and the show's legacy
06:36
Hugh O'Brian on photos of him from The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
01:04
Hugh O'Brian on photos of him from The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
02:11
Hugh O'Brian on TV Guide caricatures/photos of him from The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
00:48

Loretta Young Show, The

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on The Loretta Young Show
02:12

Love Boat, The

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on an episode of The Love Boat
01:24

Paradise

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on reprising the role of Wyatt Earp in Paradise
01:54

Perry Mason

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on playing two characters on an episode of Perry Mason
01:31

Playhouse 90

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on Playhouse 90
03:10

Playhouse 90: "Invitation to a Gunfighter"

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on the Playhouse 90 performance of "Invitation of a Gunfighter"
01:33

Search

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on the short-lived series Search
05:45

Virginian, The

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing as a guest-star on the premiere episode of The Virginian
02:42

Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone

View Show Page
Hugh O'Brian on the TV movie Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone
02:18
Hugh O'Brian on a photo of him from Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone
00:38
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Hugh O'Brian on the real life Wyatt Earp and his marriage to Josie Marcus
07:11

Sex & Violence

View Topic
Hugh O'Brian on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp's attitude towards violence
02:43

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

View Topic
Hugh O'Brian on the challenges and advantages of working in live television
02:21

World War II

View Topic
Hugh O'Brian on his World War II service
03:36
Professions

Actor

View Profession
Hugh O'Brian on his love of acting and whether or not he'll continue to act
02:33
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Hugh O'Brian on the challenges and advantages of working in live television
02:21

Western Series

View Genre
Hugh O'Brian on getting the starring role in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
28:46
Hugh O'Brian on his co-stars on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp; on fan mail he received and why the show went off the air
09:09
Hugh O'Brian on his favorite episodes of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp; on the violence on the program and the show's legacy
06:36
Hugh O'Brian on reprising the role of Wyatt Earp in Paradise
01:54
People

John Anderson

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on working with John Anderson on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
00:32

Desi Arnaz

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on Desi Arnaz
01:15

James Arness

View Interview Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing in a Gunsmoke TV movie
01:35

Gene Autry

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on his first movie role in Beyond the Purple Hills with Gene Autry
02:06
Hugh O'Brian on friend Gene Autry
00:27

Lauren Bacall

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing in "Double Jeopardy" on Bob Hope Presents the Chrylser Theatre with Lauren Bacall
01:55

Lucille Ball

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on Lucille Ball
01:48
Hugh O'Brian on Lucille Ball lending him her dressing room
02:05

Anne Bancroft

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on the Playhouse 90 performance of "Invitation of a Gunfighter"
01:33

Gene Barry

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on a photo of him with other Western stars
01:45

Lloyd Bridges

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on working with Lloyd (Bud) Bridges
02:06

Raymond Burr

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on playing two characters on an episode of Perry Mason
01:31

James Drury

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on working with Virginian star James Drury
02:43

Anthony Franciosa

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on the short-lived series Search
04:14

Arlene Francis

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on his appearance on Blind Date with host Arlene Francis
05:10

Zsa Zsa Gabor

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on Playhouse 90 with Zsa Zsa Gabor
00:25

Mickey Gilbert

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on his toughest stunts on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
02:03

Jackie Gleason

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on The Jackie Gleason Show
05:08

Buddy Hackett

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on working with Buddy Hackett
04:32

Bill Hayes

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on working with manager Bill Hayes
02:06

Hugh M. Hefner

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on playing Hugh Hefner on an episode of Charlie's Angels
00:49

Charlton Heston

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on friend Charlton Heston
01:27

Rock Hudson

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on the Rock Hudson film Seminole
02:27
Hugh O'Brian on working with Rock Hudson
00:49

Loren Jones

View Interview Page
Hugh O'Brian on doing most of his own stunts
01:37

Emmett Kelly

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on The Jackie Gleason Show with clown Emmett Kelly and an elephant
04:02

Dirk London

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on working with Dirk London on on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
00:32

Ida Lupino

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on working with Ida Lupino
06:27

Virginia Mayo

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on his appearance on Blind Date with host Arlene Francis
05:10

Marilyn Monroe

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on working with Marilyn Monroe
01:45

Ricardo Montalban

View Interview Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing in the pilot of Fantasy Island
02:00

Arthur Penn

View Interview Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on the Playhouse 90 performance of "Invitation of a Gunfighter"
01:33

Ginger Rogers

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on a show with Ginger Rogers
01:01

Lash La Rue

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on working with Lash La Rue on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
00:26

Aaron Spelling

View Interview Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing in the pilot of Fantasy Island
02:00

Donald J. Trump

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on Donald Trump and reality television
01:02

Lana Turner

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on a photo of him from set on a film with Lana Turner
00:43

Clint Walker

View Interview Page
Hugh O'Brian on a photo of him with other Western stars
01:45

John Wayne

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on working with John Wayne on the film The Shootist and Wayne refereeing a fight in the Marine Corps
04:58
Hugh O'Brian on a photo of him from ABC
00:41
Hugh O'Brian on a photo of him The Shootist with John Wayne
00:24

Morgan Woodward

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on working with Morgan Woodward on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
01:28

Loretta Young

View Person Page
Hugh O'Brian on appearing on The Loretta Young Show
02:12

All Interviews

Q
S