Ty Hardin

Ty Hardin

Ty Hardin Biography

Ty Hardin

Ty Hardin Today


Ty Hardin was born Orison Whipple Hungerford, Jr.on New Year's Day, 1930, in New York City. The name Whipple was given in honor of an ancestor on his father's side, William Whipple of New Hampshire, who had co-signed the Declaration of Independence.

His parents divorced when he was five and he and his brother moved to Houston, Texas, with his mother.  Struggling to survive in the years after the depression, his mother was forced to send the boys to live with their grandparents on a farm outside Austin Tex. It was there he acquired the nickname "Ty" from his grandmother who described him "like a Texas typhoon coming through the house".

Ty faced many pitfalls in his young life as he struggled to find his identity. He became known as a "problem child" in school who rebelled against authority and was then sent to the Shriners' Institute in Kerrville, Texas, a military school, to learn discipline.  Most of his time there was spent in detention, so he ran away from school and eventually, after some tough life experiences, ended up back in Houston with his mother.  It was much later in his adult life that he discovered that he suffered from ADHD, "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder", a condition that was not diagnosable when he was a child.

Ty graduated from Lamar High School in Houston, Texas, in 1949, and went on to attend Blinn Junior College on a football scholarship. Having been raised deeply religious, he studied one semester at Dallas Bible Institute before joining the Army.

He attended Officer's Candidate School at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and as a Second Lieutenant, went to flight school in San Marcos, Texas, where he learned to fly light L-19 aircraft known as the "Birddog". After achieving the rank of First Lieutenant, he served three years overseas during the Korean war.

After being Honorably discharged from military service, he studied electrical engineering at Texas A&M where he received a football scholarship and played tight end under the coaching of legendary Bear Bryant. He left college two weeks before graduation to take a job with Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, California, where he worked as an acoustical research engineer.

Six months later, Ty walked into Western Costume Co. on Santa Monica Blvd., to rent a costume for a Halloween party. This venture change his life forever, for, as fate would have it, it was there he was "discovered" by Milton Lewis, a talent scout for Paramount Pictures. He was interviewed by Bill Micheljohn, the president of Paramount, given a screen test. He was then  offered a seven-year contract making twice what he was earning at Douglas as an Engineer. He had what the industry was looking for in those days" a macho Cowboy" 

After appearing in six films at Paramount, Ty went to see John Wayne at Batjac on Santa Monica Blvd. about a film he was doing named Rio Bravo. The part was perfect for Ty but had already been cast to Ty Hardin as Bronco LayneRicky Nelson. None the less "The Duke" was instrumental in getting him in to see Howard Hawks and Bill Orr at Warner Bros.  It was Bill Orr, son-in-law to Jack Warner, who bought out his contract from Paramount and changed his name to Hardin after the notorious outlaw John Wesley Hardin.

At Warner Bros. he became known as the Texas cowboy having his own series, “Bronco,” that was a spin-off from "The Cheyenne Show".  He was known as the man that replaced Clint Walker on the Cheyenne show. Bronco Layne chased bad guys and Indians all over Texas.  It was an action-packed series and Ty, who knew his way around horses, did most of his own stunts.  The series ran for four years as one of the top ten in the nation. Ty Hardin in PT-109

Ty went on to make many more films for Warner Bros.,PT 109, Merrill's Marauders, Berserk, and others before seeking adventure in Europe. With His world wide fame as Bronco He sought work in all the major markets of the world making over forty films, including many "spaghetti westerns" and a TV series in Australia called "Riptide".

After spending several years in Europe, he returned to the U.S., to a new country and a film industry that had changed drastically during his time abroad.  He Ty Hardin todayrejected several film offers because the scripts contained unnecessary foul language, exploited sex, or gruesome violence and he settled down to a family life. He finally chose to put the film industry behind him and joined the ministry under Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapel. Ty left the Ministry as he felt he was not his calling. 

Since then, Ty has made numerous guest appearances at western film festivals and TV shows along with various films. He is now living in Southern California with his wife where he spends his time enjoying his family, friends, good health, golf, writing books, the beach and thanking God for the abundance of life's blessings.

Click here for an update on Ty, plus his numerous acting credits.