Robert Horton Cause of Death: How the Wagon Train Star Passed Away at 91

Robert Horton, the actor best known for his role as Flint McCullough in the popular Western series Wagon Train, died of natural causes on March 9, 2016, at the age of 91. He was in a rehabilitation clinic in Los Angeles, California, where he had been placed in hospice care after suffering a fall in November 2015. According to his niece Joan Evans, he did not want to have a funeral. [according to Variety]

A Long and Diverse Career in Show Business

Horton was born as Mead Howard Horton Jr. on July 29, 1924, in Los Angeles, California. He came from a Mormon family and said that he never felt he fitted into his proper Latter-day Saint household because he was rather impetuous. He survived several surgeries in childhood, including hernia repair and treatment for an enlarged kidney. He attended California Military Institute in Perris, where he played football. After graduation in 1943, he enlisted in the Coast Guard, but was medically discharged because of his kidney. [according to Wikipedia]

He began his acting career in 1945, when he landed an uncredited part in the film A Walk in the Sun. He studied dramatics at the University of Miami and later at UCLA, where he graduated cum laude. He signed a contract with MGM Studios and adopted the stage name of Robert Horton. He appeared in numerous films and television shows, including Bright Road, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, and The Green Slime. [according to IMDb]

His breakthrough role came in 1957, when he was cast as Flint McCullough, the frontier scout of the Wagon Train series. He co-starred with Ward Bond, John McIntire, Terry Wilson, and Frank McGrath. The show was a huge success and earned seven Primetime Emmy nominations during its eight-season run. Horton left the show in 1962 to pursue a career in musical theater. He was replaced by Robert Fuller as the scout Cooper Smith. [according to Wikipedia]

Horton also had a passion for singing and recorded several albums. He performed in nightclubs and on Broadway, where he starred as Bill Starbuck in the original cast of 110 in the Shade, a musical adaptation of The Rainmaker. He also appeared in other musicals such as Brigadoon, Showboat, Carousel, Kismet, Man of La Mancha, and Oklahoma. He often performed with his wife Marilynn Bradley, whom he married in 1960 after meeting her in a production of Guys and Dolls. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2010 and remained married until his death. [according to IMDb]

A Legacy of Talent and Charm

Horton was widely admired for his talent and charm. He made the list of the Ten Best Dressed Men in 1963, along with President John F. Kennedy, James Garner, and Joey Bishop. He was also known for his nice rugged voice and his hairy chest, which he frequently bared for “beefcake” appeal. He had a loyal fan base that followed him throughout his career. He attended several festivals and conventions with fellow Western actors such as Robert Fuller and James Drury. [according to IMDb]

Horton retired from acting in 1989 after his final role as a guest star on Murder, She Wrote. He lived a quiet life with his wife Marilynn until his death in 2016. He is survived by his wife and his niece Joan Evans. He is remembered as one of the most iconic stars of the Western genre and a versatile performer who could do it all: act, sing, dance, and charm audiences with his charisma and good looks. [according to Variety]

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