Western actor and genre icon James Drury died at the age of 85 from natural causes. The news of the star’s death from Virginia was shared by his assistant Karen Lindsey, who posted the following message on social networks for many Drury fans: It is with deep sadness that I inform you all that James Drury, our dear Virginia and friend, was killed this morning on Monday the 6th for natural reasons. April 2020, is dead. He’ll be sorely missed. It’s indescribable. The memorial service will be established at a later date. -Karen Lindsey, James Drury’s assistant. -Karen Lindsey. -Karen Lindsey, James Drury’s assistant. -Karen Lindsey.
James Drury was born in New York City in 1934. He was the son of a marketing professor at the University of New York, but he also spent a lot of time on a farm in Oregon owned by his mother. His life changed when he contracted polio at the age of ten, but he recovered and started working professionally at the age of twelve. Drury joined the Department of Drama at the University of New York and graduated from the University of California after starring in the parachute roles of the MGM film studio in 1954. He had various interests in MGM products before joining 20th Century Fox on projects such as Love Me Tender and Bernardine.
In the late ’50s and ’60s Drury played numerous TV roles on Western models, including Gansmock, Texas, Strelka, Rohida, Lowman, Cheyenne and the Wagon Train. But his most important and longest role was that of the Virginian, who played the role of the tough foreman of the Shilohsky Ranch. This series (a byproduct of the Solution series) was aired from 1962 to 1971 (and 249 episodes – the third longest series of its kind), and the first 90-minute Western series aired on television. This consolidated Drury’s status as a Western icon – and in the 1990s he even managed to shine permanently in the genre, appearing in monochrome series such as Walker Texas Ranger and Brisco Country Jr. and in 1994 in the adaptations of Mel Gibson and Richard Donner Maverick.
If it’s not clear now: Western fans lost one of their biggest stars today. As Drury’s assistant Karen Lindsay pointed out, the actor died of natural causes unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic.
RIP James Drury – We offer our prayers and condolences to his friends and family at this difficult time.