Family & Companions
Husky blond TV and film actor Doug McClure was best-known for his Western series, "The Virginian" (NBC, 1962-70), and for his appearances in seemingly hundreds of TV-movies from 1960 through 1994. The athletic California native spent his youth surfing and learning to ride and rope on nearby ranches. The latter skills would eventually pay off in his many roles in Westerns. McClure briefly worked on the rodeo circuit before an agent discovered him. By the late 1950s, he was modeling, appearing in commercials, on TV in a bit part in "Ivy League" (1959), with fellow neophytes Mary Tyler Moore and Arte Johnson, and in movies, "The Enemy Below" (1957). While McClure co-starred in over 20 features between his 1957 debut and his posthumously-released "Riders in the Storm" (1995), he never really achieved stardom on the big screen. His affable, laid-back personality and clean-cut but unremarkable good looks were more suited to the small screen. McClure played small roles in "Gidget" (1959) with Sandra Dee, "Because They're Young" (1960), which marked the screen debut of Dick Clark, and John Huston's Western, "The Unforgiven" (also 1960). A number of his films were either Westerns, war films or rollicking adventures. In "Shenandoah" (1965), McClure was a Confederate soldier engaged to marry James Stewart's daughter, Rosemary Forsyth. He was the younger brother of Guy Stockwell's "Beau Geste" (1966) and the leader of a group who discover dinosaurs in "The Land That Time Forgot" (1975). Among his other films were the pallid comedy "Nobody's Perfect" (1968), the fantasy "Warlords of Atlantis" (1978), with Cyd Charisse as an Atlantean, "Cannonball Run II" (1983), John Frankenheimer's political thriller "52 Pick-Up" (1986), the rock music comedy "Tapeheads" (1988) and an affectionate cameo in "Maverick" (1994).
McClure's early TV roles include "The Sky's the Limit" (CBS, 1960), the detective series "Checkmate" (CBS, 1960-62) and the Western "Overland Trail" (syndicated, 1960). Stardom finally arrived when he was cast as a boisterous cowboy opposite James Drury's mysterious, taciturn "Virginian." The show ran through 1970 and Drury and McClure, who had gone to high school together, became off-screen smoking and drinking buddies. McClure went on to work in a handful of other series: "The Men from Shiloh" (NBC, 1970-71), "Search" (NBC, 1972-73), "The Barbary Coast," with William Shatner (ABC, 1975-76), the Ninja outing "The Master" (NBC, 1984) and the sci-fi comedy "Out of This World" (syndicated, 1987-91), in which he played a former TV actor turned politician.
His TV-movies and miniseries, ranging from comedies to Westerns to social dramas, helped to make McClure well-known: he was featured in over 15 between 1967 and 1994. Many were thrillers, such as "Terror in the Sky" (CBS, 1971), "Satan's Triangle" (ABC, 1975), "SST--Death Flight" (ABC, 1977) and "Nightside" (ABC, 1980). Others include "The Judge and Jake Wyler," with Bette Davis, (NBC, 1972), "Playmates," with Alan Alda, Connie Stevens and Barbara Feldon, (ABC, 1972), the acclaimed miniseries "Roots" (ABC, 1977), the detective mystery "The King of Jazz" (ABC, 1989) and his swan song, the Western "Dead Man's Revenge" (USA, 1994).
McClure had formed his own production company and directed several documentaries, including one on country-western singer Billy Mize. By the 1990s, the much-married McClure was affectionately regarded as an old-timer, parodied on "The Simpsons" (Fox) as washed-up actor Troy McClure (voiced by Phil Hartman). The real McClure was filming an episode of "One West Waikiki" (CBS, 1994) when he collapsed with what turned out to be lung cancer. He died at his Sherman Oaks ranch on February 5, 1995.
Cast (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Film debut, "The Enemy Below"
TV debut, in CBS pilot "Ivy League" (bit part)
First major TV role, in movie "The Sky's the Limit" (CBS)
TV series debut, "Checkmate" (CBS)
Played cowhand Trampas on "The Virginian" (NBC)
First co-starring film role, "Shenandoah"
Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Final TV appearance, "Dead Man's Revenge" (USA)
Final film appearance, "Riders in the Storm"