Birthday: May 11, 1935
Died At Age: 59
Sun Sign: Taurus
Also Known As: Douglas Osborne McClure
Born in: Glendale, California
Famous as: Actor
Height: 6'1" (185 cm), 6'1" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Diane Furnberg (m. 1979), BarBara Luna (m. 1961 – div. 1963), Diane Soldani (m. 1970 – div. 1979), Faye Brash (m. 1957 – div. 1961), Helen Crane (m. 1965 – div. 1968)
father: Donald Reed McClure
mother: Clara Clapp
children: Tané McClure, Valerie McClure
Died on: February 5, 1995
place of death: Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California
U.S. State: California
City: Glendale, California
Douglas Osborne McClure was an American actor who rose to fame for his portrayal of Western characters. The most famous of his roles has been that of ‘Trampas,’ a cowboy from a popular ‘NBC’ Western show ‘The Virginian,’ which ran for 9 long years, from 1962 to 1971, making it the third-longest-running TV show. Cowboys, horses, and bronco busters were a huge part of McClure’s early life. Thus, it was natural for him to nonchalantly play these roles with a certain amount of expertise. Over the years, he worked in numerous movies and made recurring or guest appearances on TV shows. He was considered more popular on the small screen than in movies. His boyish looks and blue eyes seemed more charming in people’s living rooms than in the theaters. The character ‘Troy McClure’ in the widely popular animated TV show ‘The Simpsons’ was partly inspired by Doug McClure. McClure was a chain smoker and died of lung cancer at 59. Some of his most well-remembered works are ‘The Virginian,’ ‘The Enemy Below,’ ‘Shenandoah,’ and ‘Out of this World.
Childhood & Early Life
McClure was born on May 11, 1935, in Glendale, California, to an English mother, Clara Elsie, and an Irish–American father, Donald Reed McClure. Clara moved to America in 1915 and became a naturalized American citizen in 1918. She got married to Donald Reed in 1929. They had two sons, Doug McClure and his older brother, Donald Reed McClure Jr. Clara married Frank Clapp in 1971.
He had a rustic childhood, learning how to rope and ride horses since age 8, a skill that helped him throughout his acting career.
He played high-school football as a quarterback and studied acting at the ‘Santa Monica City College’ and the ‘University of California, Los Angeles.’ While in college, McClure earned modeling assignments and TV commercials.
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McClure started his career with minor film roles. In the late 1950s, he was cast in movies such as ‘The Enemy Below’ (1957), ‘The Unforgiven’ (1960), and Because They’re Young (1960).
He had no dearth of projects during those initial years, even though he was mostly offered supporting roles. Not only was he featured in several movies but he also made appearances in numerous TV series, playing men in uniform or Westerners. The anthology series ‘Death Valley Day’ featured him as an army man in the narrative named ‘California Gold Rush in Reverse’ (1957).
Between 1958 and 1959, he was cast in three episodes of the syndicated western TV series ‘26 Men,’ based on the stories of the ‘Arizona Rangers.’ In 1959, he starred in an episode of ‘Mackenzie’s Raiders,’ titled ‘the Court Martial of Trooper Davis.’ In 1960, he was seen as ‘Frank Flippen’ in ‘NBC’s ‘Overland Trail,’ which also starred William Bendix.
McClure's appearances as Westerners in several movies helped him gain the image of a cowboy, which eventually translated into him earning the most remarkable role of his life. In 1962, he was cast in ‘NBC’s big-budget series ‘The Virginian,’ as a cowboy named ‘Trampas.’ He continued playing the role for the next 9 years of his life. His performance in this role was critically acclaimed.
Between 1960 and 1962, McClure also worked in the ‘CBS’ detective series ‘Checkmate,’ in which he played the character ‘Jed Sills.’ In 1965, he was seen in Andrew V McLaglen's ‘Shenandoah.’
‘The Virginian’ came to an end in 1971, and thereafter, McClure worked in TV series and movies such as ‘The Judge and Jake Wyler’ (1972) and ‘Search’ (1972–1973), none of which were major successes.
McClure made a shift to low-budget science-fiction movies after his experience in ‘Search.’ Some such movies of the late 1970s featuring him were ‘At Earth’s Core’ (1976), ‘The Land that Time Forgot’ (1975), and ‘The People that Time Forgot’ (1977), all of them based on novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. He starred in a pirate movie named ‘The King’s Pirate’ and three war movies, ‘The Longest Hundred Miles,’ ‘The Birdmen,’ and ‘Death Race.’
In 1994, he played a cameo role in the remake of ‘Maverick.’ McClure was inducted into the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ in 1994. A “star” is dedicated to him at 7065 Hollywood Blvd. In fact, it was during the unveiling of the “star” that McClure made his final public appearance.
Family & Personal Life
McClure had a tumultuous personal life, one that was marked by several unsuccessful relationships. McClure was married to Faye Brash from 1957 to 1961. He got married to actor Barbara Luna immediately after his first divorce. They were married for 2 years, from 1961 to 1963. McClure married Helen Crane in 1965. They got divorced in 1968. He was married to Diane Soldani from 1970 to 1979.
In 1979, McClure married Diane Furnberg, and they were together until his death. The actor is survived by two daughters: Tane McClure and Valerie McClure.
Doug McClure died on February 5, 1995, in Sherman Oaks, California, after battling lung cancer for months. He rests at the ‘Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery’ in Santa Monica.
Doug McClure, on first watching the character ‘Troy McClure’ on ‘The Simpsons,’ mistook it as a caricature meant to ridicule him. However, he soon grew fond of the animated character that was partly inspired by him. McClure’s children often called him “Troy” behind his back, in jest.