The names of three legends of Western film and television officially joined the Walk of Western Stars as the city of Santa Clarita unveiled the newest inductees Thursday.
This year, actors James Drury, Robert Fuller and Dan White were honored, bringing the total count of inductees to 93, according to Mayor Marsha McLean, who led the unveiling ceremony on Main Street in Old Town Newhall.
“This is a tradition that was started many years ago,” she said. “We will continue to honor those that made our films historical. There’s so many Western films that are a part of our history as a lot of them were filmed here.”
At the event, where elected officials and members of the community gathered, McLean briefly shared some of the films and television series the actors were a part of, and presented families of the inductees with a plaque in honor of the commemoration.
Actor and writer James Drury, born in 1934, is best known for his role in the television series “The Virginian.” He started his acting career in 1954, taking smaller roles before starring in Western films such as “Love Me Tender” and “The Last Wagon,” as well as television series “Gunsmoke” and “Rifleman.” His distinctive voice also helped him land several documentaries and audiobooks, including novels by Western author Kirby Jones.
His son Timothy Drury, who is a musician, was present to receive the plaque on his father’s behalf and witness the unveiling. “It warms my heart,” he said of the ceremony. “It reminds me of my childhood, on the set, to see him do a show. Now that I travel the world as a musician I kind of understand a little bit more of what he was going through at the time. To see something like this means that people really responded to him over the years and I’m very proud.”
Robert Fuller, born in 1933, featured in multiple Western television shows over the span of a five-decade career. His best-known roles include Jess Harper on the series “Laramie,” and as Cooper Smith on “Wagon Train.” Before retiring in the 1990s, Fuller’s final performance was playing more than one role on the final episode of the crime series “Walker Texas Ranger.”
His son, Patrick Fuller, who was in attendance at the ceremony on his father’s behalf, said, “I can’t speak for Dad but I know he is absolutely grateful to be among all his friends, stuntmen and cowboys. He’s thankful to the fans because he wouldn’t have done it without them.”
Florida-born Dan White was born in 1908. He moved with his family to California to pursue his acting career, living in Hollywood and Newhall for work. He was inspired to pursue Western films by local actor William S. Hart. White claimed more than 300 films and television shows and about 70 percent were of the Western genre. Among his best-known pictures are “The Grapes of Wrath,” “The Yearling,” and “Gone with the Wind.” He died in 1980.
His grandson John White said, “It amazes me that a man born in 1908, (decided) he wants to come to Hollywood and how does a person do that? It’s with dreams. You have to have a dream and chase it, just like everyone else on Main Street here.”
The Walk of Western Stars event marked the official start of the Cowboy Festival, which will take place Saturday and Sunday at William S. Hart Park.