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|July 12, 2020|
Robert Conrad, star of TV's 'The Wild Wild West,' dies at 84
LOS ANGELES - Robert Conrad, the athletic, two-fisted actor who starred as Secret Service agent James West and did his own spectacular stunts on the 1960s futuristic CBS Western The Wild Wild West, has died. He was 84.
"He lived a wonderfully long life and while the family is saddened by his passing, he will live forever in their hearts," family spokesman Jeff Ballard told People magazine. No other details of his death were immediately available.
Conrad, among the actors employed by Warner Bros. Television to appear on the studio's stable of shows starting in the 1950s, first gained attention for playing Tom Lopaka, a partner in a detective agency, on ABC's Hawaiian Eye.
The Chicago native also was known for starring as real-life World War II pilot Maj. Greg "Pappy" Boyington on NBC's 1976-78 period drama Baa Baa Black Sheep (later known in syndication as Black Sheep Squadron), one of the first series created by Stephen J. Cannell.
Conrad, though, always said that the performance he was most proud of was his turn as the French-Canadian trapper Pasquinel in James Michener's Centennial, the 16 1/2-hour, 12-episode miniseries about the evolution of the American West that aired on NBC in 1978-79.
He said Michener was on the set during production and told him that he "played the character better than he had written it," Conrad noted during a 2006 chat for the website The Interviews: An Oral History of Television.
On The Wild Wild West, the lithe, blue-eyed Conrad starred as a government agent, working for President Ulysses S. Grant, who employed modern technology to combat villains in the 19th century. Jim West, who wore his spiffy clothes a bit too tight, rode a champion horse and had an eye for the ladies, was paired with Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin), a master of disguise.
Story Date: February 16, 2020