Actor James Drury, best known for The Virginian, has died aged 85.
He died of natural causes unrelated to coronavirus. His assistant, Karen Lindsey, on Facebook: “It is with immense sadness that I let you all know that James Drury, our beloved Virginian and dear friend passed away this morning of natural causes, Monday, April 6, 2020. He will be missed so much. It is beyond words. Memorial service to be determined later.”
Drury starred in the title role of The Virginian from 1962–71 -a TV western only surpassed by Gunsmoke and Bonanza. He portrayed the tough foreman of the fictional Shiloh Ranch set in the latter part of the 19th century in the Wyoming Territory. Many of the 249 episodes, airing over nine seasons until 1971, involved his character fending off outlaws and rustlers.
“There were times when we had five Virginian episodes shooting on the same day,” Drury recalled in his biography on his official web site. “I would literally ride on horseback from set to set to give two lines here, three lines there, then over here to do 10 pages of script.”
His other credits included Blackboard Jungle, Forbidden Planet, The Tender Trap, Love Me Tender, Pollyanna, Playhouse 90, Gunsmoke, Cheyenne, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Wagon Train, Rawhide, Death Valley Days, Firehouse, Alias Smith and Jones, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., The Fall Guy and Walker, Texas Ranger.