Doug McClure

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Doug McClure
Doug McClure 1961.JPG
McClure circa 1961
Doug Osborne McClure

(1935-05-11)May 11, 1935
DiedFebruary 5, 1995(1995-02-05) (aged 59)
Resting placeWoodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Santa Monica
Alma materUCLA
Years active1956–1995
Faye Brash
m. 1957; div. 1961)

m. 1961; div. 1963)

Helen Crane
m. 1965; div. 1968)

Diane Soldani
m. 1970; div. 1979)

Diane Furnberg
m. 1979;
his death 
Children2 including Tané McClure

Douglas Osborne McClure (May 11, 1935 – February 5, 1995) was an American actor whose career in film and television extended from the 1950s to the 1990s. He is best known for his role as the cowboy Trampas during the entire run from 1962 to 1971 of the NBC Western series, The Virginian, loosely based on the Owen Wister novel.


McClure was born in Glendale, California. His English mother, Clara Elsie (née Barker; 1907–1997), had moved to the United States in 1915, when her widowed mother married an American, Frank S Artman. Clara Barker was naturalized as an American citizen in 1918, and married Irish-American Donald Reed McClure (1904–1965) in 1929. Donald and Clara were parents to Donald Reed McClure Jr. (1931–2003) and then Doug. The widowed Clara married former Beverly Hills mayor Frank Clapp in 1971.


McClure's acting career included such films as The Enemy Below, The Unforgiven and Because They're Young, before he landed the role of Trampas on The Virginian – a role that would make him famous. He also starred:

  • As C.R. (Christopher Robin) Grover in the sci-fi/detective series Search (1972–1973) in which he rotated the lead with Hugh O'Brian and Anthony Franciosa as a high-tech PROBE agent
  • As Cash Conover, casino owner, co-starring with William Shatner, in the one-season series The Barbary Coast (1975–1976). McClure replaced Dennis Cole who played the role of Conover in the show's pilot.
  • As Mayor Kyle Applegate on the fantasy sitcom Out of This World (1987–1991)

McClure had a minor role in 1957 as an Army officer in "California Gold Rush in Reverse" on the syndicated anthology series Death Valley Days. The episode is a dramatization of the race in 1848 between the Army and the Navy to be the first to deliver gold nuggets from California to Washington, D.C.[1]

In 1958 and 1959, McClure appeared in three episodes of the syndicated Western series 26 Men, stories of the Arizona Rangers.[2]

McClure as Trampas in NBC's The Virginian

McClure was in the third episode "Mr. Denton on Doomsday", of CBS's The Twilight Zone.

Then, in 1962, he was cast as Trampas on NBC's The Virginian. His co-stars throughout the series were James Drury, Roberta Shore, Lee J. Cobb, Randy Boone, Gary Clarke, Clu Gulager, Diane Roter, Charles Bickford, Sara Lane, Tim Matheson, Jeanette Nolan and John McIntire.

In 1965, he appeared in Shenandoah, an Andrew V. McLaglen film starring James Stewart, Glenn Corbett, Patrick Wayne, Katharine Ross and Rosemary Forsyth.

After The Virginian ended in 1971, McClure was slated to co-star with Bette Davis on a series about a parolee assisting a judge, played by Davis, by doing detective work. The pilot, produced and written by the prolific team of Richard Levinson and William Link, failed to generate interest in the series and was released as a telemovie under the title The Judge and Jake Wyler.[3] McClure made another attempt at a television series during the 1972–73 season by co-starring on SEARCH as a hi-tech investigator, rotating with Anthony Franciosa and Hugh O'Brian, and again in 1975–76 in The Barbary Coast, co-starring William Shatner (with whom he'd previously starred in The Virginian episode 'The Claim'). He then shifted to low-budget science fiction films such as At the Earth's Core, The Land That Time Forgot and The People That Time Forgot, all three based on the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. In 1967, he played the Errol Flynn role in a remake of Against All Flags titled The King's Pirate. He was cast in the lead in three World War II adventures, The Longest Hundred Miles, The Birdmen, and State of Division (also known as Death Race). In the 1970s and 1980s, McClure appeared in commercials for Hamms Beer.[4] McClure also appeared as the blonde slave to Jamie Farr's character in the sequel Cannonball Run II (1984).

He also had a cameo role as a poker player in the 1994 remake of Maverick.

In 1994, McClure was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Television at 7065 Hollywood Blvd. It was unveiled in what would be his final public appearance.


Doug McClure's gravestone
Doug McClure's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

On February 5, 1995, McClure died at age 59 from lung cancer in Sherman Oaks, California. He is interred at Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, in Santa Monica. McClure was married to his fifth wife at the time of his death. McClure was divorced four times, including twice while he was performing on The Virginian. He was also survived by his two children, actress Tané (from his first marriage) and Valerie (from his fourth marriage).[5][6]

In popular culture[edit]

The character of Troy McClure on The Simpsons was modeled after McClure and fellow actor Troy Donahue. Mike Reiss, executive producer of The Simpsons, said that Doug McClure's daughter informed him that Doug was a big fan of The Simpsons. She said that while watching an episode Doug saw the character Troy McClure on the show and said, "Are they making fun of me?" Doug said he thought the parody was funny and his daughters would call him Troy McClure behind his back as a joke.[7]

In the episode of Red Dwarf titled "Backwards", Rimmer and Kryten landed on Earth. When Rimmer asked Holly what the time period was, his question was, "Do we expect to see a herd of flesh-eating dinosaurs feeding off the bones of Doug McClure?"[8] McClure is also referenced in the Red Dwarf episode "Legion" in an apology from Kryten to Lister about the evening movie – "I'm sorry sir, it is another Doug McClure. Please, don't hit me."[9]


William Bendix, Lynn Bari, and McClure in Overland Trail (1960)
Sebastian Cabot, Carolyn Craig, and McClure in CBS's Checkmate (1962)


Television roles[edit]


  1. ^ "Death Valley Days: "California Gold Rush in Reverse", 1957". IMDb. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
  2. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), p. 113
  3. ^ Shipman, David (February 7, 1995). "OBITUARY: Doug McClure". The Independent. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  4. ^ Doug McClure Played Trampas and commercial Dick Kleiner syndicated column, Ocala Star-Banner, Oct 29, 1982.
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference Billboard was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ Oliver, Myrna (February 5, 1995). "Actor Doug McClure Dies at 59". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  7. ^ The Simpsons, Season 2 DVD, Episode: "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment"
  8. ^ "Red Dwarf Season 3 Episode 1: Backwards". PlanetSmeg. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  9. ^ "Red Dwarf Season 6 Episode 2: Legion". Retrieved November 9, 2015.

External links[edit]