‘The Virginian’: What is Cast of Legendary Western Doing Today?

by Atlanta Northcutt

What is the cast of “The Virginian” doing nearly 49 years after the end of the popular Western TV show?

Set in the Wyoming Territory in the late 19th century, “The Virginian” follows a nameless ranch foreman of the fictitious Shiloh Ranch. The cast took on outlaws and other bad guys providing entertainment to viewers.

The series appeared on NBC from 1962 to 1971 for nine seasons with a total of 249 episodes. Each episode ran for 90 minutes. It is the third longest-running television Western, falling behind two other classics, “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza.”

Saying Goodbye to James Drury: The True Virginian

The late actor James Drury is the main star known simply as “the Virginian.” At the age of 85, Drury passed away from natural causes on April 6, 2020.

Always donning a black cowboy hat, both Drury and his character are the epitome of a true cowboy.

Asked about the show’s lasting appeal in an interview with Mansfield News Journal, he credited “brilliant” writing, 90-minute episodes, and big-name guest stars. 

Drury continued to appear in other television series following the end of the show. These include guest appearances on “Firehouse” and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” among others.

In 1991, the actor was officially inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. He lived out the rest of his days in Houston, TX as the true cowboy he was.

What About the Rest of “The Virginian” Cast?

Drury’s costars include Lee J. Cobb, Doug McClure, Gary Clarke, Roberta Shore, and other well-known actors.

Other than Drury, the members of the “The Virginian” who’ve already passed away are Doug McClure, Lee J. Hobbs, Ross Elliott, and John McIntire.

Gary Clarke

Actor Gary Clarke played the character of Steve Hill for 45 episodes of the series. He left the show in 1964, but continued his acting career in another Western named “Hondo.” He appeared on other shows, such as “Dynasty” and “The Young Riders.” He is now in his late 80’s and resides in Austin, TX with his wife.

Both Clarke and Drury were set to appear in the 2020 TV movie “Billy & the Bandit.”

However, after Drury’s passing, it is unknown what will take place regarding the movie.

Roberta Shore

Actress Roberta Shore played the role of Betsy Garth. After “The Virginian” ended she appeared in a few TV shows. In 1984, Shore worked as a radio disc jockey and hosted an on-air program in Salt Lake City, UT.

Now in her late 70s, she continues to live in Salt Lake City with her husband. She currently works at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Randy Boone

Boone played Randy Benton in 46 episodes of “The Virginian.” In 1996, he was awarded the Bronze Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for his portrayal of the character.

Before retiring, he appeared in shows such as “Bonanza” and “Hondo.” His last acting appearance was in the 1987 film “The Wild Pair.”

Don Quine

Don Quine is the actor behind the show’s character Stacey Grainger in 55 episodes. Prior to “The Virginian,” Quine was best-known for his role on “Peyton Place.”

Unlike most of his cast-mates, Quine didn’t appear in any more TV or film acting roles. He took another path leading him to publish a fiction book entitled “The Dream Virgin” in 2018. He is currently working on his second book.

“The Virginian” Lives On

The characters and the actors who portrayed them are what make “The Virginian” such a beloved treasure.

“It still holds up,” Drury said. “The old Westerns were morality plays that showed the triumph of good over evil, and I think that’s important for young people to see on screen these days because it will inspire them to live their lives that way.”

“People now tell me about their grandkids who discover the show on cable and start watching it,” he continued. “It’s a wonderful feeling to know the show is still viable after all these years.”