By Matthew Orso
James Drury, one of the most iconic western actors of his generation, is still out there for all to see.
Drury is proud of his acting career and his roots in the tri-state area. He was raised in New York for the first part of his life before moving to Oregon. He attended New York University, where his father was a professor.
“I started acting at age eight,” said Drury in a phone interview with the Pioneer Times. “I was forced to do a play in Manhattan and was cast as King Henry in a bible play. When people began clapping at the end of the play, I realized there was nothing I wanted more than to be on the stage.”
Drury is most known as playing the Virginian in the nine-year western, “The Virginian.” He also starred in other shows, including Walker Texas Ranger and Firehouse. Drury also starred in movies, including the 1956 film, Love me Tender.
“I signed a contract with 20th century fox and did a series of films with them,” said Drury. One of them was Love me Tender with Elvis Presley. That was a great moment.”
Drury will be headlining a Virginian reunion at the seventh annual “Cowboy Up for Vets” in Swanton, Ohio from April 22-24. Proceeds from the event will go to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and Heroes in Action. Drury is a former naval reserve officer and held the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
“It’s the largest reunion of the Virginian cast ever,” he said. “It’s going to be a great event and it’s going to do a lot of good for our service men and women.”
Drury and his wife, Carl Ann currently reside in Texas, but he still travels across the country for western events, autograph shows and festivals. After all these years in the business, Drury still can’t get away from the camera.
“I tell you,” said Drury, who was laughing on the phone. “That camera can see through your eyes into your soul.”
James Drury (courtesy of YouTube.com)