Ty Hardin

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Ty Hardin
Cheyenne television show 1962.JPG
Hardin and the actress Nina Shipman, 1962.
Born Orison Whipple Hungerford, Jr.
(1930-01-01) January 1, 1930 (age 89)
New York City, New York, US
Years active 1958–present
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Nancy (1952-?; divorced) two children
Andra Martin (1958-1960; divorced) two children
Marlene Schmidt (1962-1965; divorced) one child
Francine Nebel (1966 - ?; divorced) one child
Jenny Atkins (1971-1974; divorced)
Lyndell (1974-?; divorced) one child
Judy D. Hild McNeill (1978-2007; divorced)
Caroline (2007-present)
Children Ten

Orton[1] or Orison[2] Whipple Hungerford, Jr.,[3] known as Ty Hardin (born January 1, 1930), is a former American actor best known as the star of the 1958 to 1962 ABC/Warner Brothers western television series Bronco.

Early life

Though born in New York City, Hardin was reared in Texas. As a growing boy, he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a condition not then diagnosed.[citation needed] His grandmother, with whom he lived part of the time after his parents divorced, nicknamed him "Ty" because he was as active as a "Texas typhoon".

Hardin graduated in 1949 from Lamar High School in Houston. He also attended on a football scholarship Blinn Junior College in Brenham in Washington County, Texas, and then Dallas Bible Institute in Dallas for one semester.

He served in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was commissioned after attending Officer Candidate School in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and he became a pilot of Forward Observer O-1 Bird Dog liaison aircraft. He attained the rank of first lieutenant.

After his return from service, he began taking courses at Texas A&M University in College Station on a football scholarship under coach Bear Bryant, for whom he played tight end.[4]

He worked as an electronic engineer at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, California, where he lived with two other A&M Aggies who worked for Douglas.

Acting career


A Paramount Pictures talent scout discovered Hardin while Hardin attended a costume party. He had rented six-guns from a motion picture costume rental company.[4] By 1957, Hardin acquired the services of agent Henry Willson and made his way to Hollywood where he was put under contract by Paramount Pictures. Initially billed as "Ty Hungerford," he made various minor appearances in several Paramount films, such as I Married a Monster from Outer Space and Last Train from Gun Hill.

Warner Bros. years

File:Ty Hardin 1958.JPG
Hardin as Bronco, 1958

According to Hardin, he tried to obtain a lead role in the film Rio Bravo that had been promised to singer Ricky Nelson. John Wayne reportedly saw Hardin while visiting a film set at Paramount and was impressed with Hardin's appearance.[5] Wayne introduced him to Howard Hawks and William T. Orr at Warner Brothers Television; they bargained for his seven-year contract and he moved to Warner Brothers, who changed his stage surname to "Hardin", reminiscent of the Texas gunfighter John Wesley Hardin.[4] He also attended actors' school at Warner Brothers and landed small parts in various Warner productions.

When Clint Walker walked out on his ABC series Cheyenne in 1958 during a contract dispute with Warner Brothers, Hardin got his big break. Warner bought out his contract from Paramount Studios and installed him into The Cheyenne Show, as it was also known as the country cousin "Bronco Layne" to complete the season. Walker and Warner Brothers came to terms after the season ended, but Hardin had made such a big hit on the show that Jack L. Warner gave him his own series, Bronco, under the Cheyenne title. Bronco alternated weeks with Sugarfoot, starring Will Hutchins, and Cheyenne for four years. The series ran from 1958 to 1962. Hardin was soon given other prominent roles for Warner Brothers productions such as Merrill's Marauders, as Doug "Stretch" Fortune in the 1963 spring break film Palm Springs Weekend, The Chapman Report and PT 109.

International films

When his contract expired, Hardin left Hollywood to seek opportunity overseas as his series aired all over the world. Like many other American actors, Hardin traveled to Europe, where he made several spaghetti westerns, although he turned down Sergio Leone's offer to play the lead in A Fistful of Dollars. He also appeared in American-financed all-star epics such as Battle of the Bulge and Custer of the West. He was reportedly the first choice to play the starring role in the television series Batman, which went instead to Adam West. Hardin turned down Batman because of film commitments overseas.

Hardin did star in the 1967–1968 Australian television series Riptide,[6] in which he sponsors an Australian motorcycle racing team, and a 1970 German television series called On the Trail of Johnny Hilling, Boor and Billy, which was immensely successful in the former West Germany.

Personal life

Hardin has married eight times, divorced seven times, and has ten children from five of his marriages. From 1962 to 1966, he was married to the 1961 Miss Universe, German beauty queen Marlene Schmidt, who later worked in the movie industry; they had one daughter. As of 2009, Hardin lives with his eighth wife, Caroline, in Huntington Beach, California.[7]

Hardin's middle name, Whipple, comes from his great-grandfather, William Whipple of Kittery, Maine, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, one of the original signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Reared by his Baptist grandmother, Hardin is known for his conservative Christian and political views. According to his website:

...I think our movie industry needs a overhaul and [should] start standing up for the values we uphold as sacred and wholesome for our nation. We are a nation founded on Christian principles and values. Even if you don’t agree with our system, don't ignore its success, as Christian believers built the greatest nation this world has ever seen.

The fact that we have turned our backs on our godly virtues is the prime reason our nation is headed for a train wreck. How did our Jesus deal with the money-changers? He threw them out of His church. Who let them back into the church? You did. You’re entitled to believe what you like, but men of God seeking religious freedom established this nation and we own them our allegiance even if we don’t believe in their God of Creation. Our currency carries their trademark, “In God We Trust”. Live with it and respect it, for if we don’t, we will reap a whirlwind of disaster like has never been witnessed before in our history. You may not agree with our Founding Fathers but ... our [leaders] are destroying our nation’s freedoms with financial bondage and their no-win wars. We cannot sit back and watch our nation being reduced into financial slavery while your children are being stationed all over the world protecting their globalist assets. ... We will be called on to retake our land for God. I’m referring to the Bible’s prediction of the last days. What if God is right? Call me an alarmist or a Bible thumper, but I am preparing for the worst and praying for a revival. This present collapse of our economy is just a clear picture of the events to come. ...[8]

IRS and Arizona Patriots

After difficulties with the IRS Hardin founded an anti-tax movement in Prescott. In 1982 the movement became the Arizona Patriots.[9]

Partial filmography


  1. Leslie Halliwell (September 1979). Halliwell's Teleguide. Granada. p. 132.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Time Inc (1 September 1958). "Life". Time Inc. p. 24. ISSN 00243019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. John Willis' Screen World. Crown Publishers. 1986. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-517-56257-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "All About Ty Hardin". tyhardin.net. Retrieved October 14, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Ty Hardin fansite". Elvis2001.net. 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2012-06-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Riptide website". Classicaustraliantv.com. Retrieved 2012-06-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Epting, Chris (March 20, 2014). "Western star is in our midst". Huntington Beach Independent. pp. A1, A3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Ty's Message". tyhardin.net. Retrieved October 14, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Brent L. Smith (1994). Terrorism in America: Pipe Bombs and Pipe Dreams. SUNY Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-7914-1759-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links