James Drury in a publicity photo for The Virginian (1971)
|Born||James Child Drury Jr.
April 18, 1934
New York, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||New York University
|Occupation||Actor; voice talent, oil and natural gas businessman|
|Spouse(s)||Carl Ann Head Drury (1979–present)
Phyllis Mitchell (1968–79; divorced)
Cristall Orton (1957–64; divorced)
|Children||2 (including Timothy Drury)|
|Parent(s)||James Child Drury Sr.
Beatrice Crawford Drury
James Child Drury Jr. (born April 18, 1934) is an American actor best known for his success in playing the title role in the 90-minute weekly Western television series The Virginian, broadcast on NBC from 1962–71.
James Child Drury Jr. was born on April 18, 1934, in New York City, the son of James Child Drury Sr. and Beatrice Crawford Drury. His father was a New York University professor of marketing at New York University. He grew up in both New York and Oregon. Drury contracted polio at the age of ten.
In 1959, Drury was cast as Harding, Jr., in the episode "Murder at the Mansion" of Richard Diamond, Private Detective. On May 9, 1959, early in his career, Drury appeared as Neal Adams in the episode "Client Neal Adams" of ABC's western series Black Saddle. In the story line, Adams is an old friend of series protagonist Clay Culhane, a gunfighter-turned-lawyer played by Peter Breck. Adams has robbed a bank of $8,000 and was subsequently shot in the back by a pursuing bounty hunter, played by Charles Aidman. Adams asks Culhane for help and makes the false claim that the bounty hunter is the brother of a man whom Adams had earlier killed in self-defense.
In 1960, Drury appeared in different roles in two episodes, "Fair Game" and "Vindication" of another ABC western series, The Rebel, starring Nick Adams as a Confederate adventurer roaming through the post-Civil War American West. On November 16, 1960, Drury played young pioneer Justin Claiborne in the episode "The Bleymier Story" of NBC's Wagon Train.
In 1960, Drury portrayed Joe Darle in the episode "Wall of Silence" of the ABC/Warner Brothers detective series, Bourbon Street Beat. He made a memorable guest appearance on the CBS drama series Perry Mason in 1961, as he played the role of musician and defendant Eddy King in "The Case of the Missing Melody".
He appeared in secondary roles for Walt Disney. In 1962, he was cast in a substantial role as a lascivious gold prospector in the early Sam Peckinpah western Ride the High Country opposite Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea. Also, in 1962, Drury landed the top-billed leading role of the ranch foreman on The Virginian, a lavish series which ran for nine seasons.
Drury and his Wilshire Boulevard Buffalo Hunters band performed 54 USO-sponsored shows for troops in Vietnam in three weeks in April 1966.
In a sequel to The Virginian, Drury continued his title role in The Men from Shiloh on NBC (1970-1971).:981 He had the lead role of Captain Spike Ryerson in the drama series Firehouse on ABC television in 1974.
In 1993, Drury had a guest-starring role as Captain Tom Price on the first three episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger, opposite Chuck Norris and Clarence Gilyard. Drury also had a cameo role in the 2000 TV movie of The Virginian starring Bill Pullman. The film followed Wister's novel more closely than had the television series. Drury appeared in a number of films and other television programs, including The Young Warriors and the TV cowboy reunion movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw with Doug McClure, who played the character Trampas during The Virginian.
In 1991, Drury was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. In 1997 and 2003, he was a guest at the Western Film Fair in Charlotte, North Carolina.
On February 7, 1957, Drury married Cristall Othones. They had two children and divorced on November 23, 1964. He married Phyllis Jacqueline Mitchell on April 27, 1968, and they divorced on January 30, 1979. He married Carla Head on July 30, 1979.
Drury was in the oil and natural gas business in Houston at the turn of the 21st century. His son, Timothy Drury, is a keyboardist, guitarist and vocalist who has played with the rock groups The Eagles and Whitesnake.
- Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
- The Tender Trap (1955)
- Diane (1956) uncredited
- The Last Wagon (1956)
- Forbidden Planet (1956)
- Love Me Tender (1956)
- Bernardine (1957)
- Good Day for a Hanging (1959)
- Toby Tyler (1960) as Jim Weaver
- Pollyanna (1960)
- Ten Who Dared (1960)
- Ride the High Country (1962)
- The Young Warriors aka Eagle Warriors (1967)
- The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991)
- Hell to Pay (2005)
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Michael Grimes in "The Right Kind of House"
- Steve Canyon – Twice as Lieutenant Richard Muller
- Gunsmoke – Four times
- Playhouse 90 - Episode "Bitter Heritage" (1958)
- The Rifleman – Twice Episode 4 "The Marshal" (1958) and Episode 109 "Death Trap" (1960)
- The Texan - Episode "The Troubled Town" as Johnny Kaler (1958)
- Cheyenne (TV series) – Episode "The Impostor" as Bill Magruder (1960)
- Rawhide (TV series) – Episodes "Incident of the Night on the Town" as Rance (1961) and "Incident with an Executioner" as Kenley (1959) also "Incident of the Boomerang " Series 3 Episode 20.(Transmitted 24 March 1961)
- The Virginian (1962–1971)
- Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In – Twice
- Ironside – The Professionals - 1971
- Firehouse (TV series) (1974)
- Walker, Texas Ranger – Three episodes as Captain Tom Price
- The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. – Twice as Ethan Emerson
- Alias Smith and Jones – Sheriff Lom Trevors (Pilot) / Sheriff Tankersley (episode "The Long Chase")
- River Invaders: The Scourge of Zebra Mussels - (1994) - PBS special
- Sturgeon: Ancient Survivors of the Deep - host/narrator - (1995) - PBS special
- A Vanishing Melody: The Call of the Piping Plover - (1997) - PBS special
- Aaker, Everett (2017). Television Western Players, 1960-1975: A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland. pp. 135–137. ISBN 9781476662503. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
- "James Drury". Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
- Fischer, Marian Lowry (August 26, 1954). "Salem Youth Under Contract with MGM". Daily Capital Journal. Oregon, Salem. p. 13. Retrieved January 18, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
- Green, Paul (2009). A History of Television’s The Virginian, 1962–1971. McFarland. pp. 94–103. ISBN 9780786457991. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
- ""Murder at the Mansion", Richard Diamond, Private Detective, March 29, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- "Black Saddle: "Client Neal Adams", May 9, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
- "The Bleymier Story". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 343. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
- "Great Western Performers". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
- "News Radio 610 WTVN". Radio 610 WTVN. Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- "The Texan". Classic Television Archive. Retrieved February 1, 2013.