James Drury who was the star of one of the longest running westerns in TV history, has died of natural causes on Monday. He was 85. His assistant, Karen Lindsey, shared the news on Facebook Monday, writing that he “passed away this morning of natural causes.”
His most famous role was The Virginian, based on a novel on Owen Wister’s 1902 novel of the same name and ran on NBC for nine seasons, from 1962 to 1971. Drury, along with co-star Doug McClure, was the only cast member to appear on all 249 episodes.
Drury starred in several western movies including 1959’s “Good Day for Hanging,” 1960’s “Ten Who Dares” and “Ride the High Country.” His other credits include “Love Me Tender,” alongside Elvis Presley, and “Bernardine,” opposite Pat Boone.
Additional TV credits include the series “Richard Diamon, Private Detective,” “Black Saddle,” “Death Valley Days,” “The Rebel,” “Wagon Train,” “Bourbon Street Beat” and “Perry Mason.”
In 1991, Drury was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.