Famous TV Western star has died due to health complications

Actor Ty Hardin, who starred as the gunman Bronco Layne in the TV Western series “Bronco,” has died at the age of 87.

Hardin died Thursday in Huntington Beach, California. His widow, Carolyn Pampu Hardin, told The Associated Press that he had been “in failing health.”

Born Orison Whipple Hungerford in New York in 1930, Hardin was raised in Austin, Texas. He served in the Korean War, then played football at Texas A&M. He changed his name in his 20s, in homage to the outlaw John Wesley Hardin, as his acting career was taking off.

When Clint Walker left the TV show, “Cheyenne,” in 1958 over a contract dispute, executives at Warner Bros. cast Hardin as Bronco Layne to keep the series alive. It aired until 1962.

Hardin also had a diverse film career, from the Joan Crawford thriller “Berserk!” to the World War II movies, “Battle of the Bulge” and “PT 109.”

The heartthrob also starred in many European films in the 1960s, and for one season, toplined his own Australian TV series, playing an American charter boat operator on “Riptide.”

After struggling with tax issues in the 1970s, Hardin founded an anti-tax organization called the Arizona Patriots. They were an extremist anti-government group. The Patriots disbanded after federal agents raided one of its camps in 1986.

Another legendary star that passed away on Tuesday is Haruo Nakajima, the actor who played the original Godzilla in the 1954 Japanese classic. He died at the age of 88 after a fight with pneumonia, which he was hospitalized for last month.

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