Andrew Prine, ‘Chisum’ & ‘Gunsmoke’ Actor, Dead at 86

by Shelby Scott
Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank

Hollywood has lost yet another star, with classic TV fans bidding goodbye to Chisum and Gunsmoke actor Andrew Prine. Prine was 86 years old at the time of his death.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Prine died while in Paris with his wife, actress-producer Heather Lowe, of natural causes. Speaking about her late husband, Lowe said, “He was the sweetest prince.”

Per the outlet, Chisum and Gunsmoke represent just two of dozens of other Westerns that the actor starred in throughout his career. Other projects include Bandolero! and Wide Country.

Andrew Prine’s Noteworthy Career in Acting

As stated, Andrew Prine had a long career in acting, but most prominently featured in Western shows and films. Still, some other projects leaned away from the Western genre, speaking to his full capabilities as an actor.

In Wide Country, in which he starred from 1962-1963, Andrew Prine played the younger brother of Earl Holliman, whose characters were traveling rodeo performers. During that time, he also featured in a handful of episodes of the classic Western Gunsmoke, working alongside director Andrew V. McLaglen.

That didn’t mark the end of their partnership though. Prine and McLaglen worked together again in 1968 on two separate films. These include The Devil’s Brigade and Bandolero! Several years later, the longtime actor scored a role in NBC’s The Road West playing the oldest son of Barry Sullivan.

By 1970, Andrew Prine found himself working alongside the biggest name in the history of Western films, John Wayne, in another McLaglen piece, Chisum. Five years later, the pair of actors would reunite, this time on the set of Rooster Cogburn.

Andrew Prine Admitted He Was a ‘Lazy Actor’

Despite major success in Hollywood, both in Western films and in pieces like the Helen Keller-centric project The Miracle Worker and the cult classic The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Andrew Prine admitted long before his death that he used to be a “lazy actor.”

Reflecting on his early career and his path to fame in a prior interview, Prine said, “I was a very lazy actor. I was berated by Old Man [Lee] Strasberg over the years and some other [acting] teachers who used to tell me, ‘You’re not paying attention.’ But I did get training, in spite of myself.”

Per the outlet, Andrew Prine had pretty humble roots as the son of a Pullman conductor. Born in 1936, he later graduated from Miami Jackson High School before heading to college on a theater scholarship at the University of Miami. He soon dropped out, though, and made his way to New York in pursuit of an acting career.

After being pegged as a lazy actor, Prine insisted it was really his time on Broadway, in the project Look Homeward, that taught him how to really act.