I recently came across this interesting photograph of Clu Gulager and Lee J. Cobb chatting on the set of The Virginian. I wish I had discovered this earlier and included it in my book. But here it is – better late than never.
Clu Gulager as Emmett Ryker
The enigmatic Clu Gulager played Sheriff Emmett Ryker on The Virginian from 1964-1968 but is best known to modern audiences for his role in the cult horror movie The Return of the Living Dead (1985).
Clu Gulager was a temperamental actor during his time with Universal but like may actors with an edge was also one of their best. He always expressed a desire to direct and found acting in television creatively unsatisfying. He got his wish to direct but still continued with his acting career and became a cult favorite of horror fans later in his career.
Fans of The Virginian will always remember him as Ryker. He was one of my favorite characters and his departure in 1968 marked a turning point for the series. He was impossible to replace.