R.I.P. Andrew Prine, star of 'Wide Country,' staple in classic Westerns
Prine had starring roles, guest appearances and even teamed up with John Wayne in more than one film.
Andrew Prine had an active career for six decades and was very much a household name in classic Western television and film. The actor died Oct. 31, 2022 according to The Hollywood Reporter.
According to THR, "The son of a Pullman conductor, Andrew Lewis Prine was born Feb. 14, 1936, in Jennings, Florida. He graduated from Miami Jackson High School and attended the University of Miami on a theater scholarship but dropped out and headed to New York to pursue acting."
That led him to Broadway, where "he took over Anthony Perkins' role... in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Look Homeward, Angel," the article states.
Prine began his on-screen career in the late Fifties with his first credited role in the series The United States Steel Hour. He then picked up steam with parts in anthology and Western series. His first feature film came in the 1959 psychological tale Kiss Her Goodbye with the role of Kenny Grimes.
He appeared in the anthology series Playhouse 90 in the episode "Tomorrow." It was after that Prine got his first taste in the world of Western television. He was Noah Bell in the "Revenge" episode of Tombstone Territory, which ran for three seasons from 1957-1960. After appearing in the sci-fi series One Step Beyond, Prine returned to the Western front for several roles.
Prine appeared in the one-season series Overland Trail in 1960, a pair of roles in Have Gun - Will Travel along with spots on Peter Gunn and Alfred Hitchcok Presents over the next two years.
Not long after, Prine starred in his own Western series titled Wide Country, as main character Andy Guthrie. His character was the younger brother to Mitch Guthrie, played by Earl Holliman. It was up to Mitch to convince Prine's character, Andy, to search for another path in life, and not to follow Mitch's footsteps in the rodeo business.
The series, which premiered with a back-door pilot episode in the series Alcoa Premiere, lasted just one season. From start to finish, Wide Country had just 28 episodes, not including the pilot in Alcoa Premiere.
After portraying a co-lead role for one year, Prine continued in his Western niche, with several more appearances on some of the best known shows the genre has to offer.
He played three different roles in as many episodes of Gunsmoke between 1962 and 1963 as characters Billy Joe, Clay and Sippy. He played Eric Camden and Felix Colton in a pair of Wagon Train episodes and showed up in one 1965 episode of Bonanza.
The list of Westerns goes on and on for Prine, who got another chance as a main charcter in The Road West, which also ran for just one season in 1966.
In 1970, Prine could be seen next to John Wayne in the film Chisum and again in 1975 in Rooster Cogburn. Between those two films, Prine had several more guest appearances in Barnaby Jones, Cannon, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Barbary Coast to name a few.
The Western star was 86.