Robert Horton, TV’s 'Wagon Train' Star, Dies at 91

Robert Horton - Wagon Train - Photofest - H 2016

He quit the show after five seasons and starred on Broadway as con man Bill Starbuck in a musical version of 'The Rainmaker.'

Robert Horton, who played frontier scout Flint McCullough on the long-running TV Western Wagon Train, has died. He was 91.

Horton, who also starred as the title character in another TV Western, A Man Called Shenandoah, died March 9 in Los Angeles. His niece, Joan Evans, told The New York Times that her uncle had been injured in a fall in November.

The handsome actor starred on Wagon Train from the start of the series in September 1957 through the end of its fifth season in June 1962, when he quit the show. The very popular Wagon Train — about a trek from Missouri to California — aired on NBC while he was there, then shifted to ABC for its final three seasons.

Soon after he departed, Horton starred on Broadway as the charismatic con man Bill Starbuck in 110 in the Shade, a musical adaptation of the 1956 film The Rainmaker (his part was made famous by Burt Lancaster in the movie). The production ran for more than 300 performances through summer 1964.

On ABC’s A Man Called Shenandoah, which lasted just a season (1965-66), Horton played a cowboy in the 1870s who develops amnesia after he’s shot and left for dead. He also performed the theme song.

A Los Angeles native who graduated from the University of California, Horton made his Broadway debut in the 1943 comedy Slightly Married. His first movie role came in Lewis Milestone’s A Walk in the Sun (1945), and he later appeared in such films as Bright Road (1953), Men of the Fighting Lady (1954) and the Japanese sci-fi cult favorite The Green Slime (1968).

His TV résumé includes The Lone Ranger, The Millionaire, Kings Row, The Sheriff of Cochise, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Police Woman, Murder, She Wrote and the daytime soap opera As the World Turns.

Survivors also include his wife, Marilynn, whom he married in 1960.