Iconic TV Westerns star and movie veteran Dale Robertson, 89, passed away on Wednesday, succumbing to lung cancer and pneumonia in a San Diego hospital. The NBC Tales of Wells Fargo star was a western icon in the 1950’s and 60’s, known best as “the left-handed gun”.
Robertson certainly had a very successful television career. He played Wells Fargo special agent Jim Hardie from 1957 to 1962. The successful series was set in the 1870’s and 80’s and featured Robertson as a gun slinging cowboy protecting stagecoaches from outlaws and Indians. In the ABC series Iron Horse, Robertson starred as the gambler-turned-railroad tycoon Ben Calhoun from 1966-1968. In the late 1980’s, Robertson owned the role of Texas Billionaire J.J. Starbuck in the NBC J.J. Starbuck series. In addition to these starring roles, Robertson had recurring television roles of Dynasty, Dallas, Harts of the West and Death Valley Days. Throughout his career, Robertson reportedly did his own stunts.
Born and bred in Harrah, Oklahoma, Robertson is a member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame. He served in a tank crew and in the combat engineers in North Africa during World War II, earning bronze and silver stars and becoming wounded twice in combat. Before becoming a television and movie star, the tall and handsome Robertson boxed professionally.
Robertson, also a successful film star, is credited in films such as Fighting Man of the Plains (1949), Call Mr. Mister (1951), The Farmer Takes a Wife (1953) and the Arctic-set Top of the World (1955). Robertson preferred to use his film and television earnings to live a quiet life raising horses on the Haymaker Farms ranch he built in Yukon, Oklahoma.
Robertson is survived by his wife Susan.