Ty Hardin (1930 - 2017)

Ty Hardin, a former actor who starred on the TV Western series “Bronco,” died Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 87.

His wife, Carolyn Pampu Hardin, told The Associated Press that her husband had been “in failing health.”

Hardin starred as Bronco Layne on the series “Bronco,” a spinoff of the popular show “Cheyenne.” Bronco was a former Confederate officer who traveled the Old West meeting historical figures like President Teddy Roosevelt and the outlaw Jesse James. The show lasted four seasons, from 1958 to 1962. He also appeared in supporting roles in films like “PT 109.”

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Born Orison Whipple Hungerford Jr. Jan. 1, 1930, in New York City, he was raised in Texas. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a pilot of an L-19 Bird Dog liaison aircraft. Following his honorable discharge, he returned to Texas and enrolled at Texas A&M University, where he played football for the legendary coach Bear Bryant.

After graduation, he moved to California where he worked in the aerospace industry as an engineer. It was during this time he was discovered at a costume party dressed as a cowboy. Westerns were hot at the box office, and his rugged good looks caught the attention of studio talent scouts. This serendipitous meeting led to a successful screen test and contract.

Following the cancellation of “Bronco,” he found work in Europe, starring in Italian spaghetti Westerns. He also appeared in all-star films like “Battle of the Bulge” with Henry Fonda and “Custer of the West” with Robert Shaw. He then starred on the Australian TV series “Riptide,” as an American boat captain.

Raised in a religious family, and a religious man himself, he grew disillusioned with acting and the entertainment industry as the scripts he was offered featured stronger language and more graphic depictions of sex and violence.

During the 1970s, he became a self-proclaimed “freedom fighter” and was involved with right-wing anti-government groups. He began publishing his views on taxation, the federal government, and his beliefs about the Christian foundation of the United States.

The anti-tax group he founded in the 1970s became the Arizona Patriots in 1982. The group was described by government agencies as being anti-Semitic, racist, and anti-immigrant. The group disbanded after federal agents raided one of its camps in 1986, and Hardin left Arizona.

Hardin was married eight times, divorced seven, and had 10 children.

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