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Actor Ty Hardin Dead

| by Sarah Zimmerman

Actor Ty Hardin, best known for roaming the Wild West in the television hit "Bronco," has died at age 87.

His wife, Caroline, confirmed his passing but noted that the cause of death has yet to be determined, according to The New York Times. He died in his family home in Huntington Beach, California.

Hardin was a well-known television star in Hollywood's golden years. In 1958, his character Bronco Layne was introduced on the show "Cheyanne." He got his own show later that year.

Bronco, a former Confederate captain, traveled across the West holding a number of odd jobs from Army scout to undercover post office agent. During his journeys, he encountered some of the most famous characters in cowboy lore, including Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hickok and Jesse James. 

"There ain’t a horse that he can’t handle, that’s how he got his name," goes a line in the show's theme song.

Hardin was born Orison Whipple Hungerford Jr. on Jan. 1, 1930 in Manhattan. After his parents divorced when he was 2, he left with his mother and his brother to a farm outside Austin, Texas, where he got the nickname, Ty.

Following his studies at Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas, he enlisted in the Army, flying light aircraft in West Germany during the Korean War. He later studied electrical engineering at Texas A&M, where he played tight end for the football team.

He was spotted by a talent scout for Paramount Pictures while he was shopping for a Halloween costume, an encounter that would change his life forever. He signed a seven-year contract and starred in such films as “The Space Children” and “I Married a Monster From Outer Space.”

Later, his contract was bought out by Warner Bros. and he was assigned the last name Hardin. His character on "Cheyenne" became so popular he got his own spinoff show "Bronco," which ran from 1959 to 1962. 

Hardin's career then began to wane and he moved to Europe, where he starred in a number of action films. Because of his commitments there, he turned down playing Batman in the 1960s television series that later became a classic.

He moved back to the U.S., living in Arizona throughout the 1970s. He formed a now-defunct anti-tax, anti-government group that was eventually accused of blowing up a Utah IRS complex. 

According to Hardin's Facebook page, he still maintained his anti-government stance up until his death, posting statuses criticizing both former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump. 

Hardin married eight times, seven of which ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, Caroline, as well as his three sons and two daughters from previous marriages. He also has many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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