Doug McClure was a boyish, blond actor who was proud that his career bridged two generations.
Although his fame peaked with "The Virginian," which began in 1962, McClure continued to work for many years after the show went off the air in 1971.
He made guest appearances on such shows as the 1977 classic "Roots," and with James Drury, his costar on "The Virginian, he appeared on the 1991 Kenny Rogers miniseries "The Gambler Returns" and an ABC special titled "How the West Was Fun."
"I had this feeling everybody thought I was dead," McClure said in a 1988 interview. "I didn't quit. I did some films and theater in London. I went to New York. But I had been on television so much, people thought (if I wasn't on television) I wasn't around."
Although he had science fiction and other roles, the western work came naturally to him. He started riding horses at the age of 8 and spent summers in Nevada, where he did some bronco-busting in rodeos.
McClure went to University High School in West Los Angeles. There he was quarterback on the football team, swam and competed in other sports to earn seven letters. A part in a high school play set him on the road to acting. He studied drama at Santa Monica City College and UCLA while working part time as a model.
"Doug wasn't a driven actor," said longtime friend and Times writer Paul Dean. "He saw it as a job that paid well, came easily and allowed him maximum time for the really important things in life — the beach, volleyball, surfing, working out, all sports, enjoying the California where he was born and tennis anywhere, with anyone, at the drop of a racquet."
Fiercely competitive, McClure continued his sports interests throughout his life, playing tennis regularly on the pro-celebrity circuit.
McClure's first acting job was in a syndicated series, "Men of Annapolis." After a few feature films, including "The Enemy Below," "Gidget" and "The Unforgiven," he was placed under contract by Universal. He began his string of series for television as William Bendix's sidekick in "The Overland Trail" and went on to the equally short-lived "Checkmate," a private-eye series set in San Francisco.