Ty Hardin, star of the TV Western 'Bronco,' dies at 87


Ty Hardin, the hunky actor who starred as a former Confederate officer who wanders the Old West in the 1958-62 ABC series Bronco, has died. He was 87.

Hardin died Thursday in Huntington Beach, Calif. His wife, Carolyn Pampu Hardin, told The Associated Press he had been "in failing health."

When Cheyenne star Clint Walker left his show in a contract dispute, executives at Warner Bros. cast Hardin as Bronco Layne to keep the series going. Hardin was given his own Western after Walker returned, and Bronco debuted in September 1958, sticking around for four seasons though April 1962.

Hardin also appeared in his most famous role in other Westerns from the Warner Bros. stable, including Maverick and Sugarfoot.

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Ty Hardin through the years
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Ty Hardin through the years
(Original Caption) Actor Ty Hardin as an aerialist in a scene from the movie: Berserk. 1967
Diana Dors and Ty Hardin in a scene from the movie: Berserk 1967.
Ty Hardin in publicity portrait for the television series 'Bronco', 1958. (Photo by Warner Brothers Television/Getty Images)
Ty Hardin publicity portrait for the television series 'Bronco', 1958. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
AMERICAN BANDSTAND - 'Cowboy Stars, Hula Hoop, Pat Boone' - Airdate October 18, 1958. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) DICK CLARK;TY HARDIN;WADE PRESTON
April 1960: American actor Ty Hardin in television western series 'Bronco'. (Photo by L. J. Willinger/Keystone Features/Getty Images)
MAVERICK - 'Hadley's Hunters' - Airdate: September 25, 1960. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) TY HARDIN
American actor Ty Hardin as 2nd Lieutenant Lee Stockton in a scene from the film 'Merrill's Marauders', 1962. The movie was filmed on location in the Philippines. (Photo by Warner Bros./Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Ty Hardin and Suzanne Pleshette publicity portrait for the film 'Wall Of Noise', 1963. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
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In films released in 1962, Hardin starred opposite Jeff Chandler in the Sam Fuller war movie Merrill's Marauders and was the object of Glynis Johns' affection in George Cukor's The Chapman Report.

He then appeared in such films as the JFK biopic PT 109 (1963), Wall of Noise (1963) — as a horse trainer opposite Suzanne Pleshette — Palm Springs Weekend (1963), Battle of the Bulge (1965), Custer of the West (1967) and, with Joan Crawford, Berserk (1967).

The 6-foot-2 Hardin also starred in several European films in the 1960s and '70s and for one season toplined his own Australian TV series, playing an American charter boat operator on Riptide.

Born Orison Whipple Hungerford in New York City on New Year's Day in 1930, Hardin was raised by his grandparents on a farm outside Austin, Texas. He served in the Korean War, then attended Texas A&M, where he played football for Coach Bear Bryant.

Hardin took a job with Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, and while at a costume rental company to prepare for a party, he was spotted by a talent scout. Paramount signed him and put him in the 1958 movies The Space Children, As Young as We Are, I Married a Monster From Outer Space and The Buccaneer.

By one count, Hardin was married eight times.

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