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TV's Western Heroes

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Boris Chaliapin, 1904 - 1979
James Arness, 26 May 1923 - 3 June 2011
Ward Bond, 9 Apr 1903 - 5 Nov 1960
Richard Boone, 18 Jun 1917 - 10 Jan 1981
James Garner, 27 Apr 1928 - 19 Jul 2014
Hugh O'Brien, 19 Apr 1925 - 5 Sep 2016
Dale Robertson, 14 Jul 1923 - 27 Feb 2013
Watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, graphite pencil on illustration board
Frame (Verified): 67.6 x 52.1 x 2.2 cm (26 5/8 x 20 1/2 x 7/8")
Sight (Verified): 45.1 x 31.4 cm (17 3/4 x 12 3/8")
Mat: 71.1 × 55.9 cm (28 × 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
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© Chris Murphy
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Exhibition Label
Whether playing on the big screen at theaters or on televisions at home, sagas of the great American West captivated Americans nationwide in the decade of the 1950s. For its cover of March 30, 1959, Time paid tribute to six of TV’s western heroes. Pictured in Chaliapin’s roundup are: (front, left to right) Hugh O’Brian, the star of ABC’s The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955–61); Dale Robertson, "the left-handed gun" in NBC’s Tales of Wells Fargo (1957–62); (back, left to right) James Arness, Dodge City’s consummate bachelor U.S. marshal, Matt Dillon, star of CBS’s long-running Gunsmoke (1955–75); Richard Boone, star of CBS’s Have Gun—Will Travel (1957–63); Ward Bond, starring on NBC’s Wagon Train (1957–60); and lastly James Garner, as professional gambler Bret Maverick in ABC’s comedy-western, Maverick (1957–62). Television has not seen such a cast of gun-toting Western good guys since.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection